The decision to breast or bottle feed is very personal and at the end of the day there is no one right choice. Choose the path that is best for you and your family. As long as your baby is fed, loved and growing then you are doing it right. If you do however feel breastfeeding is the best option for you, take some time to prepare yourself for this beautiful journey you have ahead!
Research a Pump
With so many pumps on the market, consider taking the time to research each brand or model. While all pumps do the same thing, (extract the milk from the breast) they each have their own way of reaching that goal, so you want to make sure you know what you are getting. You want to feel comfortable with the pump you choose, because you may end up using it more than you originally planned for – breastfeeding is a journey, and it won’t look the same for everyone.
Most breast pumps are covered by insurance, so double check with your insurance provider that this also applies to you. Once you are ready to purchase your pump you can explore a site like Aeroflow Breastpumps. This site has a variety of pumps to choose from, as well as postpartum and pumping supplies. The add-ons may not be covered with insurance, but it is worth exploring to see what is available regarding breastfeeding, pumping and postpartum recovery.
Use Lactation Consultants
Lactation consultants are experts in the field of breastfeeding, and they will be an excellent resource to utilize throughout your breastfeeding journey. I recommend setting up a consultation, even virtually, with a lactation consultant to have all of your questions answered. Once you deliver, your nurses will also connect you to the hospital lactation consultant which is an excellent resource to utilize while in the hospital.
Again, most insurances will cover appointments with lactation consultants, to support new mothers as they are figuring it all out. Understand what your insurance will cover and utilize those resources – breastfeeding is hard, and you do not have to do it alone. Nest Collaborative offers virtual consults with lactation specialists, as well as other prenatal/breastfeeding resources for parents & parents-to-be.
Buy Some Closet Essentials
When breastfeeding, you will want your clothes to be easy to pull down, so you can feed without issues whenever your baby needs you. You can find companies whose niche is nursing mothers, so they offer t-shirts, dresses, rompers, sleepwear, etc. which means you will definitely find something you love! Latched Mama, Kindred Bravely, and Motherhood Maternity are a few shops that all have some great closet essentials to choose from.
In addition to clothes, you will need a few good nursing bras. You’ll want ones that are comfortable and easy to maneuver come feeding time. These can also be found at any of the above mentioned companies or even on Amazon. I would recommend grabbing some nursing pads to keep in your bra, because you will leak as your milk supply regulates. These Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads work great!
Utilize Social Media
There is a world of mothers out there who use the internet to ask or offer help. You will certainly be able to find other mothers who are on this breastfeeding journey with you, and who can share tips and tricks with you.
In addition to mothers, there are also many lactation consultants who use their social media platforms to help as well. Utilize these resources because nobody expects you to know exactly what you are doing right away! Consider following some of these breastfeeding focused Instagram accounts below:
Social media platforms are a great place to start when you are looking to educate yourself on all things breastfeeding. You can always read books if that is more your speed, and there are some good options available on Amazon, including:
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by, Diane Wiessinger
- Lactivate! A User’s Guide to Breastfeeding by, Jill Krause
Prepare Your Home
To best prepare for your breastfeeding journey, take the time to prepare your home. Much of your time and energy will be devoted to breastfeeding and figuring it all out, so anything you can do now to save you a few minutes then is worth it.
- Wash the pump parts and bottles ahead of time
- Prepare some freezer meals, check out Freezer Meal Ideas to Prepare Before Baby Arrives for some inspiration
- Set up a pumping or nursing station, with snacks/water easily accessible, pillows or blankets, etc. This isn’t necessary to set up, but you may be interested in doing so! You can find inspiration online to personalize your pumping/breastfeeding station.
I’ve said it before, and I am saying it one more time – breastfeeding is a journey! You won’t know what you are doing right away, and that is okay, give yourself some grace, no other first time mom did either. These resources are available to benefit you, to help guide and encourage you…use them now and use them throughout the entire journey. Be patient, follow your baby’s cues and listen to your body, you can do this!