Breastfeeding: How To Plan Ahead and Improve Your Odds for Success

tips for successful breastfeeding

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If you are expecting a baby, one of your first parenting decisions will be whether to breastfeed. While the choice is a personal one, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.

It’s easy to understand why they support this feeding method when you consider the many advantages of breastfeeding. Breastmilk is great for babies because it contains the perfect mix of nutrients, is easy to digest, and boosts your little one’s immunity. Moms benefit too because the process releases hormones, such as oxytocin and prolactin, which quicken postpartum recovery time and facilitate the bond between mother and child. If you think breastfeeding is the right choice for your family, these tips can help you plan ahead and boost your odds of success.

Prepare Your Home

When caring for a newborn, you have less time and energy for everyday tasks. Consequently, it’s wise to prepare your home in advance. By taking the time to clean, declutter, and organize, your house will feel like a positive, nurturing oasis when you return home with your new baby.

You should also purchase the necessary breastfeeding supplies in advance. Useful items include:

  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Breast pump and supplies
  • Nursing pads
  • Lanolin nipple cream

Pack Strategically

When packing your hospital bag, include a few items to ensure comfort and convenience. Recommended items include:

  • A delivery gown that is not too restrictive
  • Nursing pajamas that combine convenience and comfort
  • Nursing bras that provide easy access
  • Cozy socks that keep your feet warm
  • A robe to provide additional privacy

While the items you pack in your hospital bag will be useful when you go home with your newborn, you may also want to buy several cute nursing shirts for when you leave the house. The convenience and comfort of nursing apparel make these items worth the investment.

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Prioritize Self-Care

Caring for a newborn can be time-consuming and challenging. Because feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm are common during the first few weeks, prioritize your health to ensure you maintain enough energy.

First, make sure your kitchen is well stocked with healthy food options so you can get enough calories to support adequate milk production. Staying hydrated is also imperative, so always keep a reusable water bottle nearby. Not only does this make hydration convenient, but it also serves as a continual reminder to drink.

Sleep should also be high on your list of priorities. Since your nights will likely be interrupted by feedings, give yourself permission to nap when the baby does. Many new moms feel guilty and try to do household chores during this time, but this can be counterproductive because it leaves you exhausted and often impacts your milk supply.

You also need to protect your emotional health. Carve out a window of time each day when someone else cares for your baby while you take time for yourself. What you do with that time is a personal choice, but try to find an activity that feeds your soul and helps you feel more like yourself again:

  • Take a luxurious soak in the tub
  • Get centered with meditation
  • Enjoy streaming a favorite show
  • Walk around the neighborhood

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience for both you and your new baby. However, to make it a positive experience and boost your odds for success, it’s best to be proactive and make the necessary preparations well before your child arrives.

How did you prepare for breastfeeding?  Leave a comment below to share your wisdom with our readers.

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