6 expert tips to help you meet your breastfeeding goals

mom breastfeeding in bed - breastfeeding goals

It’s hard to believe that 60% of moms in the US do not meet their breastfeeding goals. This means that almost 2 out of 3 moms quit breastfeeding before they were ready to. The reasons for this are complex, but the reality is that many moms are lacking the tools and support they need to be successful. Here are 6 things you can do to defy the odds, set yourself up for success and meet your breastfeeding goals with confidence.

6 steps to take to meet your breastfeeding goals

1. Take a prenatal breastfeeding class

Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, for many moms it’s way harder and less intuitive than expected. There’s surprisingly A LOT to know about feeding babies! Taking a breastfeeding class during pregnancy can help you learn what’s normal, what’s not so normal and when to seek help.

You will also have the tools you need to prevent and overcome common breastfeeding pitfalls. Having a
solid milk supply or a pain-free latch is not the result of good luck: there are realistic and practical
steps you can take to achieve these outcomes. But without the right tools, you may feel overwhelmed
and unprepared. You will not regret the investment! A breastfeeding class can allow you to spend less
time stressing about feedings and more time bonding with your precious baby.

The comprehensive, research-based breastfeeding class I created for Motherly will teach you everything you need to know to feed your newborn baby with confidence. It includes over 2 hours of on-demand, expert-taught video instruction, along with photo and video demonstrations and exclusive course downloads.

2. Talk to your support system about your goals and let them know how they can help

You get to decide how to feed your baby, but having your partner and/or support system on the same page is hugely helpful. Make sure they know how to support you and help you, especially in those first few months. For example, you may have them help with diaper changes, bathing your baby, housework, cooking, or simply holding your baby in between feedings so you can use that time to rest and recover. Having a newborn can be a hard and exhausting transition no matter how you choose to feed your baby, so don’t be shy about voicing your needs and ways others can help.

3. Choose a pediatrician who supports breastfeeding

When it comes to meeting your breastfeeding goals, having the support of your baby’s pediatrician can
be invaluable. While many mothers trust their pediatricians for infant feeding advice, not all practitioners are well-versed in breastfeeding, particularly extended breastfeeding. A lack of lactation expertise and training could lead to poor recommendations or unnecessary interventions.

On the other hand, some pediatricians are very supportive and knowledgeable and may even hold
lactation credentials or employ other providers with lactation credentials. You can ask your friends or
your OB-GYN or midwife for help finding a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician in your area who aligns
with your goals and values.

4. If you plan to return to paid work, make a plan before maternity leave

Breastfeeding is a lifestyle that will continue once you return to paid work. It’s smart to talk to your
employer about your goals and how they may be able to support you in these goals before your baby is
born. You can ask about any breastfeeding policies and accommodations that can be made for pumping
mothers. You can also research any federal, state or local laws that protect breastfeeding mothers
where you live, like the recently passed PUMP Act. When separated from your baby, you will still be
pumping every 2-3 hours, on average, so having a plan and sharing this plan with your boss or employer
communicates appropriate expectations for when you return to work. When researching and interviewing childcare providers, ask about their experiences with breastfed babies and choose a provider who will be supportive of your choices and goals.

5. Find friends and family members with positive breastfeeding experiences

People love sharing their traumatic birth and breastfeeding stories with pregnant moms (can we
please stop doing this?!). Instead of focusing on the bad experiences, seek out friends or family members who had positive breastfeeding experiences. These people may be your biggest cheerleaders when you need some help, encouragement, or a listening ear throughout your breastfeeding journey.

6. If things get off track, seek help quickly and protect your milk supply

Lastly, if something doesn’t seem quite right, remember to get help quickly from a lactation consultant
(IBCLC) (The Lactation Network can help you find a practitioner in your area) who can teach you how
to protect your milk supply while you’re getting back on track. Our comprehensive breastfeeding
class “Ready, Set, Latch!” will teach you all the tips and tricks to establishing a great
milk supply and protecting your supply from the start.

A note on meeting your breastfeeding goals

Remember that only you get to decide how to feed your baby. The best feeding choice for your family
may be different than the best choice for your friend’s family, and that’s OK. Feeling empowered
and supported in your choices is what’s important. I hope these 6 tips help you meet your goals and
feed your baby with confidence.