How to Prepare for Breastfeeding

How To Prepare For Breastfeeding
You can join other pregnant women for a breastfeeding class.. Monkey Business Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Preparing To Breastfeed Your Baby

Breastfeeding may be the most natural way to feed your baby, but that doesn't mean it is easy. Some babies may latch on immediately after birth and breastfeed wonderfully from the beginning; however, this is not always the case. From unexpected delivery experiences to babies who show little interest in nursing, sometimes things do not go as planned.

For many new mothers and their newborns, it takes a little time, some help, and a lot of patience to learn how to breastfeed together.

The best way to prevent disappointment and begin taking the steps toward successful breastfeeding is to start preparing while you are pregnant. Here are seven ways to prepare for breastfeeding while you're still pregnant.

#1. Read a Few Breastfeeding Books 

Read as much as you can about breastfeeding while you are pregnant. Buy a few books, borrow some from a friend or the library, and add a couple of interesting selections to your baby registry. The more you know and understand about breastfeeding before you begin, the more likely you will be able to recognize problems early and get help. You are also more likely to stick with it if it gets tough.

#2. Take a Breastfeeding Class

Breastfeeding and infant care classes are usually offered through your doctor's office, a local community group, or the hospital. If you are not planning on having your baby at a hospital, ask your midwife, birthing center or another healthcare provider about classes in your local area.

Taking a breastfeeding class can help you feel more confident about breastfeeding once your baby arrives.

#3. Contact a Lactation Consultant

Meet with a lactation consultant before you have your baby. A lactation consultant can answer your questions and provide you with strategies for successful breastfeeding once your baby is here.

Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff. Ask to meet with one during your hospital stay. She can check the baby's positioning and latch, and provide you with support and information. Having the contact information for a lactation consultant can be a great resource once you get home.

#4. Check If You Qualify for the WIC Program

The Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) is a government program that provides services to families who meet a certain income requirement. The WIC program promotes breastfeeding through education, courses and counseling. Those who qualify receive support, breast pumps, and other supplies to encourage breastfeeding.

#5. Join a Local Breastfeeding Support Group

A local chapter of La Leche League International or another community support group can be a great source of support and information. You can join and attend meetings while you are pregnant. This will give you the opportunity to see how you feel about the opinions and beliefs of the group. It is also a good way to meet other pregnant women in your local area.

#6. Talk to Friends and Family

Friends and family who have breastfed are usually very happy to share their experiences and answer questions. They are often a great source of encouragement and support.

#7. Use the Internet

There is so much information on the internet. There are many websites, internet groups, chat rooms and forums dedicated to breastfeeding. An online group can be a great source of support at any time of the day or night. For some women it is easier to ask questions online where they can remain anonymous.

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