4 Ways to Incorporate Breastfeeding Into Your Birth Plan.
Some people might be under the impression that a birth plan is something like a script. A preconceived plot that must be followed indefinitely with sound, lighting, and main characters already established.
In reality, however, a birth plan isn’t a script- and it also isn’t just about selecting your music and lighting (although for some mamas, it can be!) Rather, a birth plan is more so about setting reasonable and informed decisions about your birth with a trusted provider.
Emergencies can arise during birth, so it is essential to stay open to the possibility of pivoting. However, a birth plan is a great way to learn more about the intricacies of birth and be an active participant in any decisions made about you or your baby’s body during the process.
Some people might not consider breastfeeding to be a part of birth, but these two events are incredibly intertwined. So, if breastfeeding is something you plan to do, here are some strategies to consider adding to your birth plan or discussing with your Midwife or OB.
Skin to Skin After Birth
Did you know that holding your baby skin to skin on your body directly following childbirth, before he is weighed or washed (as long as there are no medical concerns) is scientifically proven to be one of the best things you can do?
It’s hard to believe that something so simple can be so significant, but it’s true! Not only does skin-to-skin promote bonding after birth, but it also stimulates a specific part of the newborn’s brain that intuitively instructs your baby to find your breast, latch and begin feeding.
Furthermore, skin to skin after birth is also said to promote a better breastfeeding experience for the mother and encourage a healthy milk supply!
To learn more about the numerous benefits of adding skin-to-skin to your birth plan, click here!
Do Not Offer Formula (Unless Medically Necessary)
If you intend on breastfeeding your baby, it is essential to communicate this to your birth team so that formula is not offered without your consent.
Although there is nothing wrong with bottle feeding, it is important to establish your breastfeeding relationship with your newborn as early as possible by offering the breast consistently to establish a functional latch and encourage a healthy supply. Also, by not introducing a bottle too soon, you are also helping eliminate the risk of nipple confusion.
Be Open To Expressing Or Pumping
Sometimes things don’t go as planned- especially when it comes to parenthood!
If your baby is unable to breastfeed for any reason or is not feeding well during the first few hours of birth, be sure to communicate that you would like to try expressing colostrum and use a cup or syringe to feed. If you are separated from your baby or need to continue pumping, try and achieve eight pumping sessions per 24 hour period to help establish your milk supply.
Consult With a CLC If Possible
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy! Suppose you are struggling to latch your baby, are concerned about supply, experiencing pain, or simply need encouragement to keep going. In that case, a certified lactation consultant will be able to provide you with the support and evidence-based information you and your baby need to thrive.
Don’t have access to a Certified Lactation Consultant? We can help! We provide free, virtual CLC services and would LOVE to assist you on your breastfeeding journey! Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, drop us a DM, or leave a comment. We know that it takes a village, and we would be honored to be a part of yours.