Just as birth is portrayed in our culture with negativity and fear, so is breastfeeding. Preparing for it can be overwhelming, especially as you plan for your birth. Preparing ahead of time for it can be beneficial for a mother and father and here are some tips and tricks to preparing for breastfeeding success.
Establish a good latch - The first hour after birth during skin to skin bonding baby often establishes first feeding. A nurse, doula or lactation professional can help with establishing that good latch with baby's lips flanged with chin touching the breast and nose is free.
Find a support group - Seeing other women breastfeeding and hearing their experiences and stories can be a huge help to a mother planning on breastfeeding. Local hospitals and your local Le Leche League provide access to free support groups for breastfeeding mothers. It can be of great benefit to attend a few groups prior to baby's arrival to help you get comfortable with the group and to learn from others before you begin breastfeeding. You can even sometimes find another expectant mother to be friends with during this journey.
Take a class - Find a class in your area to help you prepare for breastfeeding and feel more confident. Attending a class may help you see a good latch, good breastfeeding positions, and also teach hunger cues, and troubleshooting problems that are common for breastfeeding moms. This can also be beneficial for the mother who may need to pump so she can return to working.
Locate a lactation consultant - Find a lactation consultant in your area who may be able to see you after the birth of your baby and after you leave the hospital. Some insurances will even cover some of this cost and it can be very helpful if a mother is struggling or her baby is struggling. Some lactation consultants will even come to your home for a visit, if leaving with a newborn is daunting to you. Another benefit would be to establish a visit prior to baby's arrival so you can discuss your goals surrounding breastfeeding nourishment for your baby.
Relax - Just as preparing for birthing and approaching birth without fear, you can do the same with breastfeeding. Avoid the bad stories and friends and family discouragement. Visualize and prepare yourself for the experience. Surround yourself with stories and people who bring a positive outlook for you. Relaxing about it and relaxing into it once you start breastfeeding will help in relieving tension around the nourishing time for your baby. And always, if struggling seek help.