The Best Time to Learn About Breastfeeding
As a mom-to-be, sometimes it can feel like there’s no end to decisions you have to make – baby names, registries, nursery colors, and more! One of the most important decisions will focus on how you plan to feed your new baby.
Evidence-based research has shown that breastfeeding is the option with greatest health benefits for both mom and baby but with so much else to think about, moms often wait until baby arrives to start learning about breastfeeding tips and techniques.
In a five-country study we recently conducted, a staggering 81% of healthcare providers wish that moms would ask and learn about breastfeeding techniques and skills before baby arrives. Healthcare providers believe that lack of awareness about tools and techniques to make breastfeeding easier is easily one of the largest barriers preventing new moms from continuing breastfeeding. When should you start the conversation with your healthcare provider? The study finds that ideally providers recommend you start learning about breastfeeding during your 3rd trimester.
It is important to raise the topic of breastfeeding with your healthcare provider and make sure that you have identified the tools and resources you may need before baby arrives. To help, we put together a list of questions to bring with you to your next ob/gyn visit.
What happens during and immediately following delivery can have an impact on breastfeeding so it’s critical that your healthcare team understands your breastfeeding goals before the big day. Medications and medical interventions, skin-to-skin contact, early breastfeeding initiation, and rooming in can all play a role in your breastfeeding experience. Make sure you discuss the various scenarios with your provider to have a better understanding of what to expect and what to communicate with your birthing team. Lansinoh has also put together a certificate for you to fill out and share with your birthing team or post in your hospital room to help make your wishes clear.
In addition to talking with your OB ahead of time, we recommend finding a lactation consultant and determining insurance benefits at least a month before baby’s arrival. They will be your go-to experts after baby has arrived – the survey found that the majority of healthcare providers refer mothers to a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding educator for questions about breastfeeding – so doing the legwork ahead of time will really help. You’ll have enough on your plate in those early days with your baby!
You are on the adventure of a lifetime! It may feel a bit strange to start learning about breastfeeding before you deliver, but it will pay off. Having those important conversations early gives you the best possible chance of reaching your breastfeeding goals.