top of page

Prenatal Prep: A Lactation Consultant’s Must-Do List for Future Breastfeeding Success

Are you pregnant and thinking about breastfeeding? If you want to ensure a successful and fulfilling breastfeeding journey, it's essential to start preparing early. Andrea Hamlet @internationallactationsupport is a Haarlem based Lactation Consultant and also teaches the Breastfeeding Foundations class in the Prepped to Parent program. Here are here top 5 tips to set yourself up for success from the very beginning.

Preparing for a successful breastfeeding journey starts during pregnancy
Preparing for a successful breastfeeding journey starts during pregnancy

  1. Get informed! Breastfeeding is a learned behavior for both you and your baby. Enrolling in a good breastfeeding class around six months into your pregnancy is a great time to start learning. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you will be. Knowing the benefits of breastfeeding, how breastfeeding works, and the challenges that may occur can help you prepare for your baby’s first few weeks. Learning about early hunger signs, cluster feeding, and normal infant feeding behaviors now can help you when your baby arrives. A breastfeeding class and a good breastfeeding book can set you up for success. (Keep in mind that there is a lot of inaccurate information online, so finding the right source is key.)

  2. Have a prepared list of resources and help. Support comes from professional support, friends, and family. First, contact a lactation consultant for a prenatal visit who can also visit you at home after birth. Contacting a skilled lactation consultant within three weeks of delivering your baby has been shown to increase breastfeeding success rates. Second, tell your partner, family, and friends that you plan to breastfeed. Research indicates that support from partners and family members can play a significant role in a mother’s decision to initiate, continue, or ultimately end breastfeeding. Lastly, locate new parent and/or breastfeeding support groups in your area. Peer support groups, are critical for new parents and can also help reduce postpartum depression.

  3. Prepare yourself to allow time for breastfeeding. The first few weeks after birth are a time for you and your partner to learn and understand your baby and their cues. Breastfeeding takes time to learn, and babies will spend a lot of time at the breast. In the first few weeks after delivery, breastfeeding mothers sometimes feel like “they are wearing their babies,” but allowing yourself time to connect with your new baby is important for bonding. Remember, it is okay to say no to visitors. Having a new baby is very time-consuming but magically wonderful at the same time. If your friends want to visit, suggest instead that they deliver a nourishing meal for you and your partner and visit you in a few weeks (unless, of course, they are coming over to do the dishes, wash the laundry, or change the sheets!)

  4. Have a few supplies on hand. While you do not need many things other than your breasts to feed your baby, and I do believe that new parents are highly marketed to, having a few inexpensive supplies on hand can help you. First, I recommend good old-fashioned virgin coconut oil for nipple care (it can be used for baby massage and cooking as well!), cotton breast pads for leaking (keep in mind to change them often), a firm breastfeeding pillow (easy to find second-hand on Facebook groups), and comfy clothes that are easy to breastfeed in, such as a button-down pajama top or button-down shirt.

  5. Most importantly, have trust in your body. The breastfeeding journey can be scary and confusing, and it's easy to lose confidence in our abilities as mothers when things don't go exactly to plan. But remember that your body is designed to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is part of the reproductive process. Your body is truly inspiring; while growing a new organ (your placenta) and a baby, your body is also preparing your breasts to nourish and feed your baby. Trust that your body will be able to produce the milk and nourishment that your baby needs. Be prepared that sometimes breastfeeding does not go as planned or that it isn’t what you expected, but like every learned behavior in life, it takes time to practice. However, like everything worth doing, it does take time. Be patient with yourself and your baby while you learn together.

Andrea (@internationallactationsupport) teaches the Breastfeeding Foundations class in the Prepped to Parent program. Please visit to schedule a consultation in Haarlem/Amsterdam and the surrounding areas or give her a call at +31 6 24 12 60 00 for immediate questions you may have.


bottom of page