What to know before you start breastfeeding as a new mom
Nothing is more nerve wracking than bringing home a new baby. You spend 9 months getting the nursery ready and making sure you have all the equipment like swings and changing tables but very little time is spent on learning how to care for the new baby including how to breastfeed. Many women think breastfeeding will just happen naturally. While many times it does happen without complications, many women struggle to breastfeed from the start. Today we speak to Erin, a certified lactation specialist, who gives us steps we can take before we give birth to help make our breastfeeding journey as a new mom easier.
After struggling with her own breastfeeding journey Erin decided to become a certified lactation specialist to help other women transition to a smooth breastfeeding journey as a new mom.
Below are basic steps she suggests her clients take before they go into labor so they can be set up to be as successful as possible.
- Consult a lactation consultant before you give birth. Talking to a specialist prior to beginning your breastfeeding journey can help you identify any issues that may arise after birth.
- Prepare yourself mentally to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a full time job. Prior to giving birth enlist the help of your partner those first few weeks while you and baby get the hang of nursing.
- Know who to call. If you run into issues when nursing you want to know who is available to help you. Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff who you can speak to after leaving the hospital.
- Choose a pediatrician that is supportive of breastfeeding. There are specific questions you can ask a pediatrician that will tell you if they support a nursing mom including what they do if a breastfed baby loses 10% of their body weight (it’s totally normal!). If they mention formula right away, keep looking for another doctor.
- Pay attention to how your breasts change throughout pregnancy. Growing in size does not mean it’s fatty tissue. The increase in size comes from an increase in blood flow which is what helps produce milk.
- Don’t ask strangers on Facebook for advice. Call your professional lactation consultant you have saved in your phone from step 3 above.
- Find a postpartum lactation group. Many hospitals and local groups hold mom and baby classes in the community where you can meet other new moms and have a lactation specialist to ask questions to.
- Set small goals. Your first goal should be to nail the latch. Then after you get the basic mechanics down, set a goal for how long you'd like to continue for.
I had a wonderful conversation with Erin and we covered so much more than what is here. I highly recommend that you listen to Episode 27 Helping new or pregnant moms with Breastfeeding with Erin to hear all of the wonderful advice she had to give. Head to Nursing Mama's to learn more from Erin.