7 Questions to Ask Your Birth Team About Breastfeeding a Newborn
Beginning breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth - and having plenty of skin to skin contact! - is an important aspect of initiating your breast milk supply. Here are some questions to help get the conversation started with your healthcare provider and birth team.
Want to Start Nursing Right Away? Chat with Your Birth Team!
Beginning breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivering your baby is an important part of the hours after birth. Skin to skin contact and breastfeeding initiation in the 30 – 60 minutes following delivery – often known as the “golden hour” – can impact your overall breast milk feeding journey in several incredibly positive ways, such as promoting breast milk production and helping your newborn find your nipple and learn how to latch right away. Breastfeeding a newborn isn’t, however, without its own unique challenges and occasional hiccups! Starting a conversation with your birth team now about your desire for skin to skin contact and to begin initiating breastfeeding immediately following delivery can minimize confusion or miscommunication later, when you may be laboring, medicated, and/or too busy fawning over that sweet new bundle of joy!
To ensure that you have a clear voice in the conversation and your questions about breastfeeding a newborn are addressed in advance of your labor and delivery, here’s a few things to ask your birth team ahead of time:
- How soon can I begin breastfeeding my baby after delivery?
- Under what circumstances would I not be able to have immediate skin to skin contact within 30 – 60 minutes after birth?
- Will there be a lactation consultant available at the hospital, and how soon will they visit us?
- If my baby is having latching challenges, what are my options? Also, is there a hospital-grade (multi-user) Symphony PLUS® breast pump in the unit that I can request to express colostrum and initiate breast milk production? (We know, product plug – but Symphony PLUS is literally the only breast pump clinically proven to significantly increase breast milk production when used soon after birth and it’s available in 80% of U.S. hospitals!)
- How will your team track how often I breastfeed in the hours and days after birth? Can you confirm that breastfeeding 8 – 12 times per 24-hour period during the first few days will provide a full-term, well baby with the amount of milk they need?
- If I must undergo a C-section or my baby must go to the NICU, what do I need to be prepared for from a skin-to-skin and feeding perspective? How soon can I get skin to skin contact?
- Finally, if I need medical intervention of any kind right after delivery, can my partner or another support person provide skin-to-skin contact for my baby?
By communicating these questions and having these conversations ahead of time, breastfeeding your newborn can be one less thing to stress about as your expected due date nears. When you have an idea of what to expect, and all potential situations, challenges, and solutions, then you can welcome your birth experience with strength, confidence, and preparedness. Remember, your birth team is there to support you and help ensure the healthiest delivery for you and your little one! It’s never too early to begin asking questions about breastfeeding a newborn as they arise and as your big, exciting date gets closer. Making sure that your baby receives your colostrum – a thick, yellow-gold early milk with incredible protective components, important antibodies, and nutrients – will help him or her have the strongest start in life.
Be sure to also discuss any initiation risk factors that may apply to you as your due date nears. This handy quiz can help you determine if any common risk factors could affect your ability to begin breastfeeding, or you can also check out InitiateBuildMaintain.com to further educate yourself prior to any conversations with your healthcare provider or birth team.
Ready to Start Breastfeeding a Newborn? Consider These Resources
As a back-up resource, know that our hospital-grade (multi-user) Symphony PLUS breast pump is also available for you to rent. Be sure to reserve yours, so it can be at your doorstep and ready to use before you arrive home from the hospital or birthing center. Using this breast pump soon after birth can help stimulate, increase, and then maintain breast milk production, so you can continue feeding your baby with breast milk for as long as you choose.
You may also wish to download a printable feeding and pumping log to easily record your baby's feedings and your pumping sessions, so you can stay as organized as possible during those first weeks at home with him or her.
Breastfeeding a newborn may have occasional challenges, but ensuring that your breast milk feeding journey gets off to the best possible start – beginning just minutes and hours after birth! – can help you more easily achieve your long-term breastfeeding goals. You’ve got this!