5 Ways to Encourage a Pregnant Friend to Breastfeed

Once you’ve experienced the joy of breastfeeding and know its incredible benefits, you may find yourself becoming a cheerleader for the cause, especially with your friends.  After all, you love your friends and want them and their babies to have a wonderful breastfeeding journey and reap the benefits of breastfeeding too.  As an experienced mom you can be a huge asset to your friends who are expecting.  Today we’re sharing five ways to encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed.

5 ways to encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed1 – Talk to Your Friend about Breastfeeding

To you breastfeeding may feel like second nature, but to your friend it may be a very foreign concept, especially if she was not breastfed or doesn’t have a breastfeeding role model in her life.  Whether you are currently breastfeeding or have already weaned your baby, talk to your pregnant friend about your breastfeeding experience.  Those who have not yet had the pleasure of breastfeeding might have misconceptions or focus on the negative aspects of breastfeeding they may have heard.  Learning about your experience can ease some of your friend’s fears and help her grasp how fantastic breastfeeding can be.  It’s OK to share the challenges you may have had too.  Sugarcoating your struggles may only make your friend feel she is alone if she runs into problems.  Rather, be realistic about your journey and remind your friend that most wonderful experiences in life come with a few hurdles along the way.  In your chat, let your friend know she can always come to you for advice if she needs it.

2 – Buy Your Friend a Breastfeeding Book

A breastfeeding book is a fabulous baby shower gift.  (Throw in a nursing bra and it’s twice as nice!)  Breastfeeding books are great resources to prepare expectant moms for breastfeeding and she can refer back to it once her baby arrives and she’s ready to put all the information into action.  Most breastfeeding books share the vast benefits of breastfeeding, review breastfeeding positions, explain proper latch and address many common issues breastfeeding mothers face.

3 – Be a Breastfeeding Role Model

Talking and reading about breastfeeding are great, but watching breastfeeding in-person is even better.  Invite your friend to spend time with you and your baby so she can witness breastfeeding firsthand.  Don’t think of it as a lesson or demonstration, but more of a natural part of your day that she’s sharing with you.  If she has questions, you can answer them but you don’t have to expound everything you know about breastfeeding as that may be overwhelming for her.  Seeing breastfeeding as a normal part of infant care can be very helpful as your friend prepares herself for motherhood.

4 – Share Your Breastfeeding Supplies

When you are done with them, pass along your breastfeeding supplies to a pregnant friend.  Nursing bras or nursing camis that are still in good shape, a nursing pillow, extra breast milk storage bags and an unused tube of lanolin could all come in handy for your friend.  (Note, breast pumps should not be shared for sanitation reasons.)

5 – Help Her Make a Plan

Many moms don’t realize that breastfeeding should happen as soon as possible after birth.  Giving birth is a big deal, and for some the labor and delivery process is traumatic. Not having a clear game plan prior to childbirth coupled with an unsupportive team of doctors and nurses can derail a new mom’s notion of breastfeeding.  By helping your pregnant friend make a plan, you can increase her chances of successfully breastfeeding.  Her plan should include: bringing nursing bras or nursing camis to the hospital since she’ll need them right away; telling her nurses upon arrival and all nurses that see her throughout her stay at the hospital that her intention is to breastfeed; and requesting visits from the on-staff hospital lactation consultants.

You can be a breastfeeding advocate and encourage a pregnant friend to breastfeed with these 5 tips.  Spread the love, spread the breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom Guide

The beginning is always the hardest; that’s true of any skill when you’re learning the ropes. Breastfeeding is no different. New moms are often overwhelmed by how consuming breastfeeding becomes from the first feeding: latching techniques, constant feeding schedules, different hold positions—the list goes on! We have some breastfeeding tips that address the first three days of nursing and serve as a blueprint of what to expect. From hospital to home, let these breastfeeding tips (adapted from Pregnancy and Newborn online magazine) guide you through the first days of nursing and into a seamless routine.

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom GuideOnce you’ve delivered your baby, ask to hold your newborn so you can experience skin-to-skin contact. Establishing an external connection with your baby as quickly as possible will aid breastfeeding. If you can, you should try to nurse the first time you hold your baby as well. Be patient as your infant tries to latch for the first times and look for signs that she is properly sucking and consuming milk.

Watch to see if your baby’s mouth is open wide (most of your areola and nipple will be covered) and listen for firm, sucking sounds. If you think the latch is too light, gently break her suction with your fingertips and try the latch again. If you have concerns, ask for a visit with a lactation consultant and have her guide you through a successful latch. Once you know what to expect and roughly how nursing will feel, you will find that some of your initial breastfeeding anxiety is quieted.

If your baby is soiling diapers, you’re providing milk, even if it doesn’t seem like a large quantity.

Breastfeeding at home

Once you’ve begun to nurse, you have to establishing a breastfeeding schedule. Try to nurse every two hours in the beginning. While at home, continue this routine as best you can. If your baby exhibits signs of hunger, though, try to feed even if it throws you off your schedule. Keeping a basic log of your breastfeeding schedule will help you stay on track and informed of your nursing progress. Note things like diaper changes, length of breastfeeding sessions, frequency of sessions, and how successful your baby is at latching on. This information will be helpful in your first pediatrician visits.

Enlist your partner to help you keep your sleep schedule. For the first days, you may want to use a bassinet in your room to make nighttime feedings more convenient. Your partner will be able to help you get up or assist you with feeding if you, baby, and partner are in the same place. You’re all sharing the same goal of successful breastfeeding for your infant’s health, and creating a comfortable, nurturing space together will make round-the-clock feedings easier.

Around the end of your first week of breastfeeding, be conscious of your breasts becoming engorged. Engorgement varies is pain between women, but using ice packs or cabbage leaves are common ways you can ease some of the pain you might feel. If your breast pain becomes severe, call your doctor and see what he or she can prescribe that’s safe for you and baby.

Just remember—at the end of your first week, you’ll have learned so much first-hand information about breastfeeding! Stick with it, because nursing your baby is the healthiest, most natural way you can feed your baby. You’re giving her so much when you offer her a breast to latch onto.

Have any tips for moms-to-be you learned from your first few days breastfeeding? Share with us in the comments.