Before you give birth...

So you’re going on a major journey.

If you know someone who has been there, you’ll likely pump them for information before packing your bags. You’ll check that there’s oil in the engine, air in the tires and fuel in the tank. And don’t forget the road map!

That same mindset is important if you are planning to breastfeed your baby. You must prepare before your little traveling companion arrives, to ensure your journey goes well. 

Here are some steps you can take to help you prepare for breastfeeding, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

1.  Get good care throughout your pregnancy, which can help you avoid early delivery. Babies born too early often need special care, which can make breastfeeding harder.
2.  Take a breastfeeding class.
3.  Ask your health care provider to recommend a lactation consultant. You can establish a relationship before the baby comes and be ready if you need help after the baby is born.
4.  Talk to your health care provider about your health. Discuss any breast surgery or injury you may have had. If you have depression or are taking medications, discuss treatment options that can work with breastfeeding.
5.  Tell your health care provider that you would like to breastfeed your newborn as soon as possible after delivery. The sucking instinct is very strong within the first hour of life.
6.  Talk to friends who have breastfed or consider joining a breastfeeding support group.

Most importantly, have confidence in yourself. Committing to the journey of breastfeeding starts with the belief that you can do it!

Find information on free breastfeeding classes and other breastfeeding services offered by Norton Healthcare.

Also, there is a wealth of information at www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding.

–Mickey Gramig