|Art by Lake Buckley for Dr. Jane Morton of www.firstdroplets.com|
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
As you get closer to your baby’s due date, you may start to plan for the postpartum period. One of the biggest topics on your mind is likely infant feeding, specifically the benefits of breastfeeding. You can and should begin to prepare to breastfeed even before your baby arrives!
Here are a few breastfeeding tips to get you started
1) One of the best ways to prepare to breastfeed is learning as much as you can about breastfeedingThere are so many books and websites that provide evidence-based info on breastfeeding. Anecdotal evidence from blogs and other parents have their place as well – they can help new parents feel normal in their breastfeeding journey. Following some breastfeeding-centered accounts on social media is also a great way to learn more about what to expect! Some of our favorites are @normalizebreastfeedingofficial, @pumpspotting, @firstdroplets and @thelittlemilkbar_.
2) Find local breastfeeding support groups
Being around other breastfeeding mothers is a great way for a new mom to pick up tips and tricks for things like pumping or breastfeeding in public. Most communities have free breastfeeding support groups, such as La Leche League. Many of these groups allow expectant moms to attend. Not only will this help a mom become familiar with the support group and its members, but it can also help understand what can happen in the first several months after birth
3) Know where to find lactation consultants support during pregnancy
Have the contact information of area International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) on hand in case support is needed postpartum. While all levels of lactation support can be helpful in difficult times, IBCLCs are breastfeeding experts that have hundreds of hours of clinical experience and education. They must also pass a board exam before calling themselves an IBCLC – they’re the gold standard in lactation support! You can ask friends or your OB/midwife for recommendations.
4) Learn more about breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment from your health insurance
Contact your insurance company to find out what lactation support benefits are covered. Most insurance companies must follow the Affordable Care Act and provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. This includes breast pumps, lactation visits, and even breastfeeding supplies. Because there are some health plans that are exempt from this mandate, it is important to reach out to your health insurance company to learn about what is covered.
As a pregnant women it’s important that you remember breastfeeding is a different experience for every mother and baby. Some are able to breastfeed beautifully from the start, while others need more support. While breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. You and your baby are learning to work together!
At Mothers Milk Bank Austin, we believe that it’s okay to need help with breastfeeding! Read more information about breastfeeding & support resources from our community partners by clicking here.