As a nurse and lactation consultant, I understand the challenge you face wanting to give exceptional patient care to pregnant moms and try to help them prepare for birth and their new role as a parent. We know that birth parents and moms want to breastfeed, but research shows they feel unprepared and unsupported to do so.
According to a survey by Lansinoh*, 57% of survey respondents said they were not prepared for the breastfeeding experience itself. Healthcare professionals like you are crucial to providing prenatal breastfeeding education to moms, helping them feel more confident to begin their breastfeeding journey.
Below are 10 simple steps, plus resources from Lansinoh, to support you as you help your patients prepare for breastfeeding success.
1. Discuss how health conditions such as PCOS and diabetes may impact breastfeeding or cause low milk supply and offer solutions to support patients through those challenges.
8 Ways to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply
How Mothers Produce Breastmilk
2. Hand expression is a simple solution proven to help increase milk supply that can be taught at prenatal appointments or in the early hours after birth.
Expressing Early Milk and Colostrum
3. Prenatal breastfeeding education correlates to increased breastfeeding duration. Advise birthing parents to take an online breastfeeding course and postpartum prep course to help ease worries about the postpartum period and support mom’s perinatal mental health.
Lansinoh’s Embracing MomMe Postpartum Prep Course
How to Support Perinatal Mental Health
4. Discuss postpartum maternal nutrition and its impact on breastfeeding.Advise patients to stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet.
4 Ways to Support Milk Supply through Nutrition
Maternal Health Tip-to-Toe Assessment
5. Suggest purchasing breastfeeding supplies ahead of time. Items such as nursing bras and pads, Lanolin Nipple Cream, Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Packs, and a silicone breastpump to help collect milk during breastfeeding sessions may be helpful in the early days of breastffeeding.
Using a Breastmilk Collector
Managing Breastfeeding Conditions
6. Help birth parents returning to work establish a strong milk supply before they begin to express human milk.
How to Have Bottle Feeding Complement Breastfeeding When You Return to Work
Breast Massage Benefits for Mother and Baby
7. Advise patients to research return-to-work pumping rights and laws before parental leave ends and to begin discussions with their employer about pumping accomodations and breastmilk storage during the work day.
What Breastfeeding Employees Need to Know
How to Support a Breastfeeding Mom's Return to Work
8. Provide breastfeeding moms education on how to express and store milk while separated from baby. This may include tips for selecting a breast pump,identifying the proper flange size, reviewing how to properly use a breastpump, discussing milk storage guidelines, and tips to help improve the pumping experience.
Which Breastpump is Right for Me
Hands on Pumping
9. Discuss the need for a postpartum support system and when to reach out for lactation support in the early breastfeeding days.
Lansinoh's Embracing MomMe Postpartum Prep Course
The Impact of Birth Experience and Pain on Breastfeeding Related Outcomes
10. Reassure birth parents that breastfeeding is a learning experience for both mom and baby. It may take patience, time, and support for both mom and baby to have a successful breastfeeding experience. This can build mom’s confidence to reach out to you or another healthcare professional for lactation support after birth.
*METHODOLOGY STATEMENT: Lansinoh designed the survey whichwas administered by HARK Research and reached 1,166 mothers. Mothers wererecruited through social media and online panels. This report focuses on momsages 18-45 who are currently pregnant and/or have at least one child, havebreastfed or plan to breastfeed. The Lansinoh team analyzed the data, providinginsights into trends and key findings reported here.