Planning Ahead for Breast-Feeding
Plan a breast-feeding strategy during your pregnancy.
- Talk to your health professional early in your prenatal care about your plans to breast-feed. During your first visit, you will have a breast exam to detect any lumps or irregularities. If you have inverted nipples, which fold inward instead of pointing out, your health professional can suggest ways to prepare for breast-feeding.
- Arrange to attend a breast-feeding class and possibly join a breast-feeding support group. These are offered at many hospitals and birthing centers by midwives or breast-feeding (lactation) consultants. Classes and support groups can help you anticipate and manage breast-feeding difficulties should they arise.
- Write down any breast-feeding questions or concerns, and discuss them with your health professional.
- Purchase breast-feeding items, such as breast pads and shields, bottles, nipple cream, nursing pillows, and burping pads. Also, rent or purchase a breast pump before you deliver. Having a breast pump available after delivery may be helpful when your milk comes in.
- Talk to friends and family members about your decision. Discuss how their support in your efforts is important.
- Buy a breast-feeding book for quick reference. Your health professional may have a good recommendation.
If you are planning on working away from your baby after a maternity leave, look into accommodations for pumping. The ideal setup is a quiet, private room where you can pump a couple of times a day. Some states mandate that employers allow breaks and privacy for pumping. If you don't live in such a state, talk to your human resources department about making arrangements that work for both you and your employer.