When you make the decision to breastfeed your baby, it will inevitably lead you down a path of even more choices to make! Will you breastfeed exclusively? Will you pump? How long should you breastfeed for? Are your partner, support people, and healthcare team equipped to support you in this journey? Where do you even begin?
First, start with the most important aspect of breastfeeding: your village! Do NOT underestimate the power of having your people behind you! Talk to your partner and those closest to you about your hopes and expectations and how they can support you. If you have a partner, ask them about their hopes and expectations and how they think they will be able to support you best!
Next, find yourself a top of the line lactation consultant. Someone who you vibe with who aligns with your expectations and values. Set up a time to meet with them before your baby is here so that they can help you outline your goals and talk through any fears or anxieties you may have. If they offer a prenatal class, you’ll have access to a bunch of expert knowledge that is presented in a parent-friendly way! They’ll also likely be familiar with your state laws regarding pumping and breastfeeding, which you definitely want to be aware of beforehand! But the biggest bonus? If you run into any speed bumps once your little one arrives, you’ll already have a professional on the way to help you out!
Finally, be familiar with your circle of care. You’re going to want to be aware of local resources that may benefit you and your baby. Lactation consultants, doulas, breastfeeding friendly practitioners, birth workers, and mental health professionals are just some of the people you may want or need to have in your back pocket. Ask your friends or family who they have used before and trust. Read reviews and don’t be afraid to call and ask for more information. This is your baby and you get to make the decisions that are best for you both!