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Ultimate Breastfeeding Preparation Checklist

Get your best game on, girlfriend!  While pregnancy lasts nine months, the benefits of breastfeeding last a lifetime.  Position yourself for success by getting inspired, prepared and empowered™ in advance so you can hit the ground running!  Here’s your “to-do” list, trimester by trimester, but don’t forget to ask for help too, by circulating our Mother’s Help Sheet!   

 

0-3 Months Pregnant

¨Get inspired.Read some accurate and motivating material on why to breastfeed, and especially, what to expect!   It is really important to have realistic expectations, short-term goals, and a plan.  Talk to other moms who have succeeded with breastfeeding.  

¨Get honest. Examine your feelings about breastfeeding and talk to someone you trust and respect about any reservations, fears, etc.   You’ll be able to debunk myths, and get clarity and confidence, and you’ll have an ally to help you succeed!

¨Start your A-Team.Find and choose a truly breastfeeding-friendly doctor (Ob/Gyn, Family Physician or Midwife) and hospital/birth center.  Having the right team in place can make for smoother sailing, and make the whole experience wonderful the way it should be.   Consider creating a breastfeeding-friendly birth plan; how you give birth can impact how easy it is to start nursing.

  

3-6 Months Pregnant

¨Watch another mother nurse or check out breastfeeding videos to get comfortable with it; most of us have never seen another mother nurse up close.

¨Enroll your spouse/partner.  AFTER delivery is where they can really be a hero!

 

6 Months Pregnant

¨Build your A-Team. Find a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician who will help keep breastfeeding and your confidence going.Find local resources – lactation specialists, consultants, breastfeeding support groups.

¨See and believe success. Begin doing imagery exercises to engender positive beliefs about your upcoming breastfeeding experience & boost your confidence.

¨Start reading reliable and inspiring breastfeeding “how-to” information. Familiarize yourself with The Booby Traps–you may not encounter many of them but it is great to be in the know about what to expect!  

¨Prepare relatives for your breastfeeding plans.

 

7 Months Pregnant

¨Do your homework.Take an excellent breastfeeding class. Attend a breastfeeding support group–try several until you find one you are comfortable with.

¨Create a birth plan that includes immediate skin-to-skin cuddling and nursing within the first hour and go over it with your doctor or midwife.  Familiarize yourself with the Learning Curve of Breastfeeding, then create a breastfeeding plan.   Familiarize yourself with some common breastfeeding issues like jaundice and know the facts about supplementation. Learn about hospital Booby Traps.

¨Continue doing imagery exercises to engender positive beliefs about your upcoming breastfeeding experience.

¨Research breastfeeding policies at your place of employment and talk to your boss about accommodations to continue breastfeeding.Know your rights.

¨Start scoping out places to nurse when you’re on the go—you have a legal right to breastfeed in public in most states.But you still want to feel comfortable!

¨Complete your A-Team.Get in touch with one of the lactation specialists in your area and introduce yourself – reaching out now may will it more comfortable to call later, and a trusted lactation specialist can provide valuable information and resources.

 

 8 Months Pregnant  

¨Prepare siblings for your plans to breastfeed, there are many wonderful books for toddlers. 

¨Continue doing imagery exercises to engender positive beliefs about your upcoming breastfeeding experience.

¨Shop! Although you only need your baby and your boobs, a few things can make nursing easier and more convenient, and some will downright give you mama mojo.

–  Start asking for help:   We’ve created a fabulous tool for expecting and new moms to make it easier to enlist help and manage who is doing what so you can concentrate on mastering the learning curve of breastfeeding and enjoy this precious time.   See our Mother’s Help Sheet and Mother’s Help Sheet Master.

 

9 Months Pregnant

¨Review your birth and breastfeeding plan with your doctor.

¨Continue doing imagery to stay in the belief that you can do it and that you can stay flexible and adapt to any twists and turns in your path to success! It’s important not to try to control the outcome; you will feel good about having prepared.

Birth

Relax and trust.You and your baby are wired for breastfeeding, and you have prepared yourself for any challenges and empowered yourself to make it work, regardless of what happens. You’re ready to advocate for yourself if you encounter any birth and newborn Booby Traps.   Acknowledge yourself for doing your best to be prepared, and remind yourself that birth is an amazing mystery, and then let go!

The information in this document is in no way intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for an in-person evaluation by a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician or qualified, independent Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).