Several weeks ago, a new mom reached out to me via email. She said she was pregnant with her first baby and needed some basic breastfeeding tips to get her started…
As I started drafting a response to her email, it hit me how often I am asked this simple question. To be honest, I started Miracle Milkookies because I struggled SO much with breastfeeding my first baby. I thought if I was so unprepared, weren’t other mamas too? I thought I would take a poll on @miraclemilkookies Instagram to see if other moms felt like were adequately prepared to breastfeed.
I thought maybe a few mamas out there were slightly unprepared (like I was), but when I started seeing the responses roll in… I was blown away. Literally every single first time mom, I’m talking about the ones who met with a lactation consultant, and even took classes prior to their baby’s arrival, said they were not prepared to breastfeed AT ALL once baby arrived. Not One. Single. Mom. This is not meant to scare you, but to just say that it’s okay, one would even say normal, to not feel prepared.
After reviewing the responses from the poll, and determining how unprepared everyone really feels when it comes to breastfeeding, I realized I should start providing more resources for moms in advance of baby’s arrival so that they have the tools they need to breastfeed once baby arrives, if breastfeeding is their choice.
I thought I could start here, with the simple response I sent to the mom who reached out. Stay tuned for more on this topic to come!
The email to every mama preparing to breastfeed:
Congrats on your pregnancy! I am by no means an expert, but I’m happy to share what I wish I knew as a first time mom.
First and foremost, set up an appointment with a lactation consultant to make sure baby is latching well and that you feel comfortable breastfeeding before you leave the hospital. Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff, or a nurse can show you. I would also recommend scheduling an appointment with a lactation consultant at your baby’s first appointment with the pediatrician, pediatricians should have them on staff, or be able to recommend one to you. It’s just helpful to make sure you can ask them all the questions you have because at that point you’ll be two weeks in and it’s nice to get that extra support. I did this with my third baby and even though it was my third baby, it’s so great to be able to make sure that everything looks okay as far as latch and feeding schedule, etc. and they offer great tips and advice!
Also another ‘first and foremost!’ Order a Haakaa to have on hand before baby comes: It’s so helpful to catch extra milk once you start breastfeeding. Essentially, you feed baby on one breast and suction the Haakaa on the other breast to catch the milk you want to save before you start pumping. Most lactation consultants don’t recommend you start using a real pump until your baby is around 2 weeks old or older. You don’t want that precious milk to go to waste! You can store and freeze that milk in freezer bags like these from Lansinoh.
Order an electric pump to start using around two weeks after your milk comes in, that way you can pump any extra milk after you feed baby. Note: you should be able to order one through your insurance company!! This allows you to store extra milk, which gives you the freedom to take some time away for you and let someone else feed baby when you need it! Again, I would consult a lactation consultant on when you should start to pump and for how long because you don’t want to overproduce extra milk and get engorged. I’ve heard incredible things about the Elvie pump but I went with the Spectra. You can’t go wrong but I do think it’s nice to be able to get one that’s portable, especially if you’re going back to work!
Something else I like to have on hand when breastfeeding is Sunflower Lecithin because it’s common to get clogged ducts and this really helps! I just take one daily whenever I feel like my ducts are getting clogged. I know it sounds weird now, but I promise you’ll know! I’ve heard that the LaVie lactation massager works wonders.
Here are some great foods that have helped me with my milk supply (in addition to Miracle Milkookies):
I basically eat all three of these daily just to make sure my milk is rich. Sometimes if you don’t eat enough ‘fatty’ foods, your milk can be watery and not fill baby up!
I also have a highlight on the Miracle Milkookies Instagram with 4th trimester products I loved and other mamas recommend for the first couple of weeks.
Hopefully these breastfeeding prep recommendations are helpful for you as well! Would love to hear any other suggestions, tips, or breastfeeding support ideas you have, please share below!