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Preparing For and Maintaining Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy for mother and infant, but you can help the journey along by trying to prepare yourself as best as you can. Your best bet is to connect with a lactation consultant either before you deliver your baby or while you are in the hospital. Ask for help in the hospital to get off to a great start, follow up with a lactation consultant within a couple days after you go home to ensure your baby is drinking well, and know that it is okay to follow up additional times if anything comes up. They can walk you through some techniques and talk to you about supplies that can help.

Our virtual event, Breastfeeding 101, is complete, but you can still view the recording and download the session materials:

Helpful Tools

There are also a number of helpful tools that can make breastfeeding easier. Before you deliver your baby, it’s a good idea to purchase or have insurance provide you with a breast pump. A breast pump can help collect any supply that your newborn doesn’t take to avoid engorgement. Pumping can also help to increase your supply if you’re having milk production issues. More, a breast pump can help you build supply and remove milk for your baby if you are returning to work. Some people also find it helpful to have a few nursing bras and covers to help the process along.

Your First Days

Now that you have the supplies to help with breastfeeding, let’s dive into the first few days of breastfeeding. You’re going to be tired and your baby may not latch right away. Instead of getting frustrated, remember that this is completely normal. Even if your baby doesn’t latch as you had hoped, this skin-to-skin time is beneficial for you and your baby. To help the process along, watch your baby for feeding cues. Some common newborn feeding cues include:

  • Moving their fist to their mouth
  • Moving their head from side to side as if to search for the breast
  • Sucking on hands
  • Being more alert
  • Moving or smacking lips

When you see these signs, you know that it’s time to try to feed your baby. Be prepared to feed on demand and this can sometimes be as often as every hour (known as cluster feeding) while your baby first gets used to the process. Your baby may not have a regular schedule right away, so set baby up for success by watching for cues and feeding when your baby appears hungry. You can also help your baby get breast milk when feeding by massaging your breasts to help get more milk to your baby.

Maintaining Breastfeeding

Slowly but surely, you’ll start to develop a breastfeeding routine. If you have to return to the workforce or take your child to daycare, you’re both going to have to learn to develop new routines. You may need to pump at regular intervals at the workplace, so make that known with management and ensure that’s something you can do easily and privately. As for your child, you may have to send breastmilk to daycare and have baby learn to take milk from a bottle. It is helpful to introduce a bottle around 3-4 weeks, when breastfeeding is well established, and then continue to offer a bottle intermittently into baby’s feeding routine. Again, if you’re having any difficulty with pumping or storing milk, or getting your baby to succeed on both a nipple and a bottle, please reach out to a trusted expert.

Our Team Is Here for You

At Oakdale ObGyn, we’re here to help you and your new baby form a bond that will last a lifetime. We can answer your questions and make sure you feel comfortable as you prepare to breastfeed your newborn. For help with any part of the process, from prenatal care to breastfeeding during your next pregnancy or anything in between we’re here for you. Give the team at Oakdale ObGyn a call today at (763) 587-7000.