Preparing For Breastfeeding and Your Infant Feeding Journey
Congratulations! Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, what an exciting time! My name is Molly, and I am the owner and one International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Peterson Lactation Services. I am so excited to partner with Swaddled Newborn Care Concierge to help support your feeding journey! Breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience but can also come with a lot of questions! Just like you are preparing for your birth, it can be helpful to prepare for breastfeeding. No, I don’t mean rubbing your nipple with a washcloth to “toughen them up” (please don’t do this). Instead, let’s take a look at a few things you can do prenatally to help you feel confident in your breastfeeding journey and meet your goals!
Take a breastfeeding class
Many first-time parents take a childbirth class to help prepare themselves for labor and delivery, but what about breastfeeding? There are so many great breastfeeding classes (both in person and online) to help you learn how to get a deep latch, what to expect in those first few weeks, how to know things are going well when to reach out for help, and more!
Breastfeeding is natural but doesn’t always come naturally. Knowing what to expect and making a plan can help both you and your partner in those early days of breastfeeding.
Additionally, finding a breastfeeding support group can be so empowering and aid in your confidence about feeding your baby!
Meet with an IBCLC prenatally
Sometimes, just making that connection with someone and knowing support is available before or after you deliver can be a huge piece of mind. Meeting with an IBCLC prenatally can allow you to go over specific concerns that you have, and ask questions about your situation. It can also be a great place to start if you are at a higher risk for lactation-related challenges such as breastfeeding challenges with an older baby, PCOS, insulin resistance, diabetes, breast surgery, or infertility. Some insurance plans may cover your visits with an IBCLC.
Read a few books or listen to podcasts about breastfeeding
There are so many great resources at our fingertips! Whether you are an avid reader or would prefer to listen to a podcast, you can get a ton of information prior to the arrival of your newborn.
A few of my favorites are:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
The Positive Breastfeeding Book
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
Badass Breastfeeding Podcast
The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast
Babies in Common Podcast
The Longest Shortest Time Podcast
Create your village
While you are focused on taking care of your sweet newborn, it’s important to find those around you who you trust to take care of you. Maybe this is family and friends or hiring a postpartum doula. Someone to bring you meals, do the laundry, and sweep the floors. Their job is to take care of everything around you, while you focus on feeding your baby and healing after birth.
Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bonding experience but can also come with its challenges. Preparing ahead of time has been shown to increase breastfeeding goals.
I’m so excited to offer prenatal and postnatal breastfeeding consults to Swaddled Newborn Care Concierge clients! During the prenatal visit, we will review the health history of mom and learn about her pregnancy, delivery plans, and infant feeding plans. Next, we will review things like latch, positioning, establishing and maintaining a milk supply, how much breast milk babies should be eating by age, frequency of feedings, returning to work, and more! We will also answer any specific questions or address specific concerns in preparation for breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle feeding.
During the initial visit after birth, we will first review the health history of both mom and baby (intake forms will be sent prior to the appointment). Next, we will perform a thorough oral exam on the baby to assess oral function and reflex integration. Then, we will get a baseline weight of the baby followed by a weighted feeding. This allows us to see exactly how much the baby takes from the breast while we work on positioning, latching, and answering any questions that may come up. Next, if mom is planning on pumping and bottle feeding at any point, we will make sure to do a pump assessment and fit for flanges. We will also review bottle feeding and go over strategies to help baby feed well from both breast and bottle. Finally, a detailed care plan will be emailed to help both mom and baby meet their feeding goals.
You got this but know there is support if and when you need it.
Molly Peterson is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and owner of Peterson Lactation Services. She will be joining Swaddled Newborn Care as our in-house IBCLC, offering both prenatal and postpartum lactation consults.