How much time have you spent thinking about your birth? If you're like most first time moms, I bet it's alot! You want to know exactly what to expect, and that makes complete sense- you've never done this before. You've taken the birth class, you're preparing for labor and practicing your pain management techniques... All of this is good, really important stuff, BUT- you're missing one really important piece.
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Don't beat yourself up too much. Everyone forgets this part of the equation. And I really understand why..... I did the same thing with my first baby too. I put A LOT of focus on the birth of my baby (ugh... which didn't even go how I hoped anyway), had a four page labor and birth plan, and I did not put as much thought into what ended up being so much more important..... I did not fully consider and prepare for what came after the baby.
It seems so obvious, right? But really.... I was really not that prepared. At all. I thought I was. I had taken a breastfeeding class (well... two actually) but the breastfeeding class I took basically just walked me through breastfeeding positions. It didn't really prepare me for anything. I had my baby shower and got All. The. Things. (Guess what.... I didn't use 3/4 of it!) I spent weeks fine tuning my baby registry, and it was mostly a waste of time. Second time moms know exactly what I mean. I decorated the nursery, organized my layettes, packed for the hospital, and stocked up on diapers.
But here's what I did NOT prepare for, and what most of the families I have supported over the last six years didn't prepare for either: I did not have a plan in place for those first couple of weeks postpartum, and I was not prepared with the support I needed to breastfeed my son.
Knowing what I know now, having been through it myself and seen countless families face the same thing, I now advocate for families to have a Postpartum Plan; an extension of their birth plans. Postpartum plans are MORE important than a birth plan. Seriously though, think about it..... No matter how your birth plays out (which I hope is exactly as you envision it) the result is still the same.... You will have a new baby you'll need to breastfeed, and there's a whole lot more to it than just putting baby to the breast. Having the right knowledge beforehand, and some postpartum planning will make a tremendous difference in your breastfeeding experience.
Whether you have an unmedicated birth or a c-section, you need to know what your plan is when you come home with baby. Who's going to feed you? Who's going to run errands? What are you going to tell everyone who wants to come over? What about breastfeeding? Do you really know how to tell if your baby is getting enough? What should you be tracking, if anything? Do you have the support you absolutely will need in your back pocket? There are a ton of questions that need answering, and having the answers will make your life 1000x easier when you come home with your baby.
So take some time to answer these really important questions, and if you want some help, consider signing up for our Online Prenatal Breastfeeding Class where we take the time to help you customize a plan, AND teach you everything you'll need for success.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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