Your preparation for breastfeeding is influenced by the stories you have heard throughout your life and whether others in your family or social circle have breastfed. If you grew up seeing parents breastfeeding their babies, you are more likely to feel prepared to breastfeed your baby.
For many expectant parents, breastfeeding is not something they have witnessed often. Their parents chose to bottle feed, and they haven’t often witnessed others breastfeeding. It’s very common to feel overwhelmed by all the information being thrown at you when you don’t have any personal experience with breastfeeding.
If you’ve decided you want to breastfeed your baby, it’s a good idea to start preparing during pregnancy. Take a breastfeeding class(link to breastfeeding classes?), do some reading, and talk to your healthcare providers and other professional support people about your goals. Spend more time with friends that have breastfed or are currently breastfeeding. You can even schedule a consultation with an IBCLC (insert link to IBCLC you work with?) prenatally to help you prepare.
When preparing for breastfeeding, you should know:
1. The size of your breasts will not affect your ability to make milk.
Large or small, breast size has no bearing on how much milk you will make.
2. Your nipples and breasts do not require any special preparation for breastfeeding.
Creams and ointments are completely unnecessary, and your nipples do not need to be "toughened up”.
3. It doesn’t matter if you have a caesarean birth or a vaginal birth.
Your body will still get the same signals, and your ability to produce milk will not be effect by the way you give birth.
4. People who have had a breast surgery may need additional support.
It's a good idea to talk to your primary care provider and an IBCLC during pregnancy to prepare for the challenges you may face. That said, many people who have had a prior breast surgery can successfully breastfeed with or without supplementation.
5. Support is key to breastfeeding confidence.
Surround yourself with individuals who encourage you to achieve your goals, and will offer you judgment-free support.
Having a list of resources prepared in advance will be convenient should difficulties arise. You may want to take note of your local Le Leche League chapter , an IBCLC, a Breastfeeding Educator, and your Postpartum Doula.
Our clients find having the ongoing support of their Postpartum Doula builds confidence and reduces stress throughout the process of learning to breastfeed.