Planning Ahead for Breastfeeding
Plan a breastfeeding strategy during your pregnancy.
- Talk to your health professional early in your prenatal care about your plans to breastfeed. During your first visit, you will have a breast exam to detect any lumps or irregularities. If you have inverted nipples, which fold inward instead of pointing out, your health professional can suggest ways to prepare for breastfeeding.
- Arrange to attend a breastfeeding class and possibly join a breastfeeding support group. These are offered at many hospitals and birthing centers by midwives or breastfeeding (lactation) consultants. Classes and support groups can help you anticipate and manage breastfeeding difficulties should they arise.
- Write down any breastfeeding questions or concerns, and discuss them with your health professional.
- Purchase breastfeeding items, such as breast pads and shields, bottles, nipple cream, nursing pillows, and burping pads. Also, rent or purchase a breast pump before you deliver. Having a breast pump available after delivery may be helpful when your milk comes in.
- Talk to friends and family members about your decision. Discuss how their support in your efforts is important.
- Buy a breastfeeding book for quick reference. Your health professional may have a good recommendation.
If you are planning on working away from your baby after a maternity leave, look into accommodations for pumping. The ideal setup is a quiet, private room where you can pump a couple of times a day. Some states mandate that employers allow breaks and privacy for pumping. If you don't live in such a state, talk to your human resources department about making arrangements that work for both you and your employer.
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