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9 Tips on Preparing for Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is a great way to nourish your baby and help you recover from childbirth and pregnancy. If you plan on nursing, check out these 10 ways you'll want to get ready before your little one arrives.

1. Take a Class

a woman looking happy while holding up a pregnancy test

Your hospital likely offers a breastfeeding preparation course. Consider the small fee an investment in your future sanity as you learn the basics of breastfeeding, including how often to nurse, how to know if your baby is getting enough milk, common nursing issues, and more. Ask your OB for more info and class schedules.

2. Get a Pump

a breast pump

Even if you’re planning on being at home with your babe indefinitely, a breast pump is an essential assistant and a great investment, if you’ll be returning to work, consider investing in a hospital grade or hands-free pump to cut down on the time it takes to express milk. Pumping can help increase or maintain your supply, and having pumped milk in the fridge or freezer allows you to leave your baby with your partner or a sitter and run out for a quick break. Before you buy, check to see if your medical insurance covers the cost of a pump; many now do.

3. Pick Out a Cover-Up

a mom holding her baby in a sling in a park

Some moms are cool with nursing uncovered; the rest of us like to shield ourselves and our babies from the world’s prying eyes. You absolutely can drape a blanket strategically over your shoulder, but we also love nursing cover-ups. They come in a variety of cute patterns, and can easily go over your head and baby with one hand, providing complete, comfortable coverage.

4. Buy a Water Bottle

an orange water bottle

A water bottle, ideally one with a straw, is a geat way for breastfeeding mamas to stay super-hydrated. Pick one that fits conveniently in your diaper bag and car cup holder for easy toting.

5. Get Fitted for Nursing Bras and Tanks

a mom breastfeeding her baby

Like pregnancy, breastfeeding comes with its own wardrobe. Nursing bras and tanks conveniently unhook to allow baby easy access to lunch. Consider getting fitted at the store for maximum comfort, and be sure to buy a few so you can regularly rotate them to the wash.

6. Grill Your Friends

a pregnant woman talking to a friend on a sofa

Ask your friends with babies about their experiences breastfeeding. What was hard and what was easy? What do they wish they had known before? Lactation consultants and websites are great sources of info when it comes to the technicalities of breastfeeding, but it’s from “the moms on the street” where you can really pick up some helpful tips.

7. Talk To Your Partner

a pregnant woman being held by her husband

You know you want to breastfeed, but have you communicated that with your partner yet? Be sure to get on the same page about how you’ll be feeding your baby, whether it's exclusively breastfeeding or a mix of breast and bottle, before your little one arrives.

8. Make a Chart

a purple notebook and pen

Get a notepad, or an app (search “breastfeeding tracker”), where you can note your baby’s feedings. Particularly in those first few sleep-deprived weeks, it can be hard to remember the last time she ate, for how long, on which side, etc. Writing it down will help you make sure you’re feeding your baby enough, enable you to notice feeding patterns, and keep a record of how many wet/dirty diapers your baby is making so you don’t blank when the pediatrician asks how things are going.

9. Set Up a Station

a mom breastfeeding her baby

You’ll be nursing a lot, so make sure you have a comfy space dedicated to feeding your baby. Consider positioning a rocker or glider facing the TV, with a side table within arm’s length for holding your water bottle, snacks, magazines, burp cloths, your nursing chart, and phone. And don’t forget a pillow for arm support!

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