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Breastfeeding: How You Can Prepare

Breastfeeding your baby is a precious gift, because breastfed babies receive many benefits! Research shows that breastfed babies are at lower risk for illnesses and gain advantages in early development. If you are expecting a baby and would like to breastfeed, here are a few tips to prepare before and after the arrival of your baby.

1. Take a breastfeeding class
As a first-time mother, you might not know what to expect when it comes to breastfeeding your soon-to-be bundle of joy. Take a class or join a group to learn some things to expect and develop some strategies to help you through common complications before they arise. A breastfeeding class can help you learn about common misconceptions or mistakes that could affect your breastfeeding journey. Grant Regional Health Center offers a free breastfeeding support group which meets monthly!

2. Find your personal support system
Get in touch with friends and family who have experienced breastfeeding firsthand. It is important to have people you trust in your corner when you are confused or uncomfortable. Remember that no two babies are the same, and your experience might not look exactly like another. However, by finding other mothers who have breastfed their babies, they can help support you by understanding what you are experiencing. This might also include your partner, to learn ways to support you as you connect with your baby.

3. Research breastfeeding products
Breastfeeding can sometimes come with aches, pains, and messes! There are many products available today that aren't required but can help improve your success. This ranges from a variety of nursing pillows to breast pumps, nursing bras, nipple creams, etc. You may want to stock up on some of these items or ask around to learn what other moms found most helpful for their own journey. Remember, you can still have a successful breastfeeding journey without many of the modern amenities available!

4. Skin to skin contact
If you have an uncomplicated delivery and baby is doing well, skin to skin contact as soon as your baby is delivered is very important in establishing breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact, also known as "kangaroo care," has numerous benefits for mother and baby. One reason for this is the release of the hormone Oxytocin, which helps with milk production. Oxytocin also helps control bleeding and encourages healing. If all goes well your baby may latch within the first hour after delivery!

5. Work with a lactation consultant if necessary
Breastfeeding complications are common, and if you experience them, you are not alone! Many moms experience nipple pain, low milk volume, mastitis, or other complications early in their breastfeeding journey. Don't be afraid to reach out to a professional sooner rather than later, as they can help guide you through these issues and help you recover for successful breastfeeding as long as you chose to continue.

The dedicated, caring team at Grant Regional Health Center is here to support you as a new mother by making efforts to give you a positive start to breastfeeding and bonding with your newborn. If you are considering breastfeeding and would like more information, or you are currently breastfeeding and would like some guidance or support, please contact our certified lactation counselors at Grant Regional Health Center: Nicole Bahl, Annette Koeller, or Nichole Seippel at (608) 723-2143.