How to prepare for breastfeeding

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Anybody who has researched a major purchase, an illness or life milestone such as breastfeeding, knows that doing so can be beneficial and confusing at the same time.

On and offline consumers are bombarded with endless high-pressure marketing messages along with conflicting facts and points of view.

To cut through the confusion, relieve anxiety and promote good education Pat Ashley, R.N, board-certified lactation consultant for Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, offers the following tips and information to help soon-to-be moms successfully navigate their upcoming, breastfeeding experience:

  • Register for a breastfeeding class at a hospital with an established mother-baby program. Featured materials include information on why breastfeeding is important, along with evidence-based benefits for mother and baby and how and what to do to get started. Taking a breastfeeding class also enables new moms to build a relationship with their health care organization.

    “Moms need to know where they can turn for help,” Ashley said. “At Beaumont, we provide resources and support. If mom wants to come back for a consult because she has questions or needs encouragement, we’re there for her.”

  • Keep in mind, very few breastfeeding supplies are actually needed. Ashley recommends a quality breast pump, which most health insurance plans cover, along with a few sturdy pillows to prop up baby and support mom’s back and elbows.

    “An entire market has developed around breastfeeding. Don’t let it suck you in,” Ashley said.

    Ashely encourages moms to resist the urge to react to messages that play on the universal desire to provide a new son or daughter with the best possible start.

    “There are apps that try to tell you when it’s time to nurse and bracelets to remind you, right or left,” Ashley said. “The c-shaped pillows once synonymous with breastfeeding weren’t actually designed for nursing. They were designed to prop baby up on floor.

    “In the end, the more supplies a new mom accumulates, the more overwhelmed she becomes - increasing the risk for problems. My best advice? Keep it simple.” 

  • Early success is predicated on mom and baby’s ability to jump in and get started.

    “Skin-to-skin contact right after birth is essential so that breast feeding happens when it should,” Ashley said.
  • Don’t expect to put your new baby on a schedule

    “If you think you’re going to feed your new baby every three hours, for x amount of time, that just isn’t going to work,” Ashley said. “We tell new moms to expect eight or more feedings over a 24-hour period. Sometimes a baby will be at the breast for 45 minutes, sometimes 12; the baby takes what he or she needs and shouldn’t be forced into any set schedule.”
  • Sleep when baby sleeps.

    “We tell moms, for the first few weeks, it’s basically just one long, never-ending feeding with small breaks in between. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no dishes. Because you’re providing nourishment to your baby, you need to take care of yourself, too. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Eat when you’re hungry, drink when your thirsty. There’s no special foods to eat and nothing to stay away from.”