What You Need to Succeed with Breastfeeding

Young Mother by Dou Gerrit, 1675 Leiden.

If you are pregnant with your first baby, you wonder what you need to help you succeed with breastfeeeding. You need two things to prepare you. First, the desire to breastfeed your baby. Second, you need to line up your breastfeeding support.

The desire to breastfeed flows from your experience with watching others nurse. Knowing your own mother nursed you and you want to do the same, or she didn’t and you know how valuable it is.

Keep in mind that nursing your baby is not just about nutrition and health. Nursing a baby is about your nurturing relationship with your baby. Nursing is a direct way to soothe your baby and yourself. You relax and interact with your baby. You fall in love with this beautiful child. You grow as a mother in confidence.

Breastfeeding support is necessary because we are not yet a breastfeeding culture. So many people formula feed. So many doctors and nurses have not nursed a baby themselves and therefore only support breastfeeding in theory, not with actual helpful tips and techniques.

What do you do before birth to prepare to breastfeed? Read a book or two about breastfeeding. After your baby is born, you won’t have as much time. Then, go to a local La Leche League meeting and meet with breastfeeding mothers. Take a breastfeeding class  and take your partner  for support.

Put together a list of three phone numbers to have on your fridge (or in your cell phone) of  support people you can call if you have breastfeeding difficulties. You might include: your mom or a breastfeeding friend, your doula, a local lactation consultant, a doctor who is also a lactation consultant or your La Leche League Leader.  Then have confidence. With determination and support ready, you too can have a successful breastfeeding relationship!