Pregnant and Considering Breastfeeding?

A pregnant woman looking at a laptop computer.

Breastfeeding requires preparation. Pregnant women who learn about how to breastfeed are more likely to be successful than those who do not.

Are you pregnant and considering breastfeeding your baby? Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to be prepared. Here are some things you can do before you go into labor.

Prepare before your delivery.

  • Learn about breastfeeding. Take a breastfeeding class, read a book, or check out the online breastfeeding resources below. Because it’s important to start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, preparation can help you be ready. Don’t wait until after you have given birth to learn how to help your baby latch, how often to breastfeed, or how to increase your milk supply.
  • Tell your health care provider that you would like to breastfeed. Discuss any breast surgery or injury you may have had. If you are taking supplements or medicines, talk with your health care provider about treatments that can work with breastfeeding.
  • Get to know your delivery hospital or birthing center by taking a tour or class. Ask about the hospital’s breastfeeding policiesto ensure your delivery team can help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
  • Your partner, family, and friends can play an important role in helping you breastfeed. Before your baby arrives, share your decision with them. They can provide support and encouragement.

Learn the first steps to take after birth.

You can take steps immediately after birth to help get breastfeeding off to a good start. Many hospitals support these practices, but it’s OK to ask hospital staff for help if not.

  • Skin-to-skin time right after birth can help your baby find their way to your nipple, and your hormones will kick in to start making milk. Be prepared to feed your baby about every 2 hours at first.
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth. This helps you establish your milk supply.
  • Avoid infant formula in the hospital when possible.  Remind hospital staff that you want to breastfeed, so the staff doesn’t bottle-feed or supplement your baby with other fluids, unless medically necessary.
  • Ask for your baby to room-in with you. Let your baby stay in your hospital room all day and night so that you can learn your baby’s feeding cues and breastfeed often. Routine newborn exams can be done right in your room.
  • Ask for help. If you’re having trouble getting a good latch, are worried about whether your baby is getting enough milk, or have other concerns, ask hospital staff for help.

Know who to ask if you need help.

Two mothers breastfeeding their infants
  • Talk to friends who have breastfed.
  • Consider joining a breastfeeding support group. Ask your hospital or your pediatrician if they know of any support groups or resources in your community.
  • Know who to call if you need help. Breastfeeding problems often arise after hospital discharge, so it’s important to know what resources are available in your community. Your hospital may offer breastfeeding support services after you leave the hospital. If you are enrolled in WIC, contact your local WIC clinic to ask how you can get breastfeeding support. Call a helpline listed below to get connected to professionals and peer support.

Websites with breastfeeding information:

Breastfeeding helplines and support:

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