The Most Important Thing You Need to Prepare for Breastfeeding

The truth is, I had no idea what breastfeeding a newborn was going to be like. Sure, I took classes. I read a couple of books. But nothing really set up what it would be like to have a squirmy baby on my chest looking for food. This baby just came out of my body … and now I’m supposed to feed her … WITH my body? Of all of the strange things in early motherhood, wrapping my head around that one was particularly challenging.

Before I had my daughter, I had a lot of questions about breastfeeding and nowhere to honestly ask them. Spright and Kirsty Denovan want to change that. Kirsty’s a lactation educator counselor, and she’s hosting a Spright event on July 5 called Preparing for Breastfeeding. I know, I just said it’s hard to prepare for. But some things can help — like knowing what’s in the realm of “normal,” and where problems might arise, and what can make you feel ahead of the game.

We want to know what you’re wondering — what you think you need to know, or might need to know, or haven’t found a good answer to, or just can’t quite wrap your head around. It’s hard to talk about sometimes, so there are no names required.

Ask, ask, ask, without your name attached.

Meanwhile, here are some of Kirsty’s thoughts on how to get in the right mindset for breastfeeding, right from those first moments post-delivery. Take it away, Kirsty:

I’m often asked what mothers should plan on taking to the hospital to achieve a head start with breastfeeding. Here’s my answer: determination and an open mind.

Those may not be physical things you can pack in your hospital bag, but they’re crucial for those first hours and days. Although a natural act, breastfeeding has a learning curve. While many mothers have no trouble at all initiating breastfeeding, many other mothers find it more challenging that they anticipated.

If you fall into that second camp, don’t worry! You and your baby are learning on the job, and achieving the perfect latch from day one isn’t always realistic. Have patience and perseverance, and above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to the hospital lactation consultant during the first few hours after birth, and research local lactation experts before you have your baby so that you know who to call if you have questions once you’re home from the hospital. Feeling better prepared and knowing who they can call puts mothers ahead of the game.

Some other things you can do in the hospital to start off on a successful path:

  • Skin to skin — after birth, baby should remain uninterrupted on their mother’s chest until the first nursing session (as long as this is medically feasible) to promote prolactin levels and start that lifelong mother baby bond.
  • Room in with baby — rooming in with baby is key to breastfeeding success. Being able to nurse your baby quickly once they show early hunger cues promotes more frequent nursing, which in turn promotes milk-making hormones.
  • Limit your visitors to short visits so as not to interfere with nursing — don’t be afraid to politely ask your friends and family to leave so that you can nurse the baby privately.
Kirsty Denovan, Lactation Counselor in San Francisco

But what about stuff? Yes, there are some products that are good to have on hand to prepare for baby’s arrival. I’ll talk about those more on the app!

Not using the Spright app yet? If you’re an expecting mom, or a mom of a baby 0–12 months old, register to join us for Kirsty’s workshop and much more!