Set yourself up for breastfeeding success starting on day one.
Your breastfeeding journey starts when you deliver. It's helpful to know your options for your birthing experience and how your hospital approaches breastfeeding before you deliver. If you plan to deliver somewhere other than a hospital, you should still consider how your delivery experience can get you off to a good start with breastfeeding.
Let your doctors and nurses know in advance that you want to breastfeed your baby. That way, they can offer the support you need—starting on day one—to set you up for breastfeeding success.
Understanding the Hospital's Breastfeeding Policy
While policies will differ from hospital to hospital, these questions are important to ask.
- Can I hold my baby skin to skin right after birth?
- Is there someone on staff to help me breastfeed within the first hour after delivery and in the recovery room? Lactation consultants are trained specialists that can help you feed your baby. They can give you support right away and can help if you have any problems with latching or holds. You can also connect with your local WIC clinic to find out what resources can support you right after your baby is born, while you're still in the hospital.
- Will the hospital staff talk to me before giving my baby formula? Feeding your baby formula in the first month can make it harder for you to make enough milk.
- If my baby is taken to the nursery, will hospital staff bring my baby to me for feeding?
- If I have a C-section, what breastfeeding support is in place?
- After I leave the hospital, what resources can help with breastfeeding?
Most hospitals will allow you to take a tour. Being familiar with your surroundings can help you feel more comfortable. This is also a great time to ask about breastfeeding policies if you haven't already.
Creating a Birth Plan
Making a birth plan is a good way to make sure what you want for your delivery is clear. Your desire to breastfeed is an important thing to note in your plan. You should talk the plan over with your doctor or nurse and your partner so that everyone is on the same page. Share your plan with the hospital staff so they can support your efforts.