how to prepare for your breastfeeding journey

Jun 16, 2021

Most experienced moms know that breastfeeding can be a crazy journey– but you know who doesn’t always know that?

Expecting moms.

how to prepare

I always knew I wanted to try breastfeeding, but looking back, especially to my first pregnancy, I was so unaware of what that journey would entail. I mean, I got all the books, learned what I could, but I still wasn’t totally ready. Breastfeeding can be so misconstrued in media, in movies– they make it look so easy and often unrealistic. And while I truly appreciate that some mothers have a quote-on-quote “easy,” natural connection to breastfeeding (you go, mamas!), it has to be known that there is a side to breastfeeding that isn’t pretty, a side that isn’t talked about. I don’t say that to scare expecting mamas, but to help prepare them, so they’re ready for any scenario.

If you’re wanting to try breastfeeding, I think there are definitely things you can do to help prepare yourself for your breastfeeding journey, though, at the end of the day, your journey is unique to you, so it will be an experience that you can only prepare for so much.

I consider pumping & nursing to be breastfeeding, so if I use that term, it could refer to both/either.

prepare the stuff

Okay, so first, I think it’s smart to have a special area at home where you get all the things you’ll need to breastfeed. Think of a low-lit area with a comfy chair and a little cart or table filled with all of your breastfeeding goodies. Even if you aren’t a pumping mama, you’ll still need some supplies to make the journey start off and continue smoothly, like nipple cream, breast heat/cold packs, and snacks (LOTS of snacks). If you are or plan to be a pumping mama, like me, you’ll need a few more things to start you off, most importantly, a reliable breast pump.

Something I never knew until after I was already pregnant (and was told by my insurance company), is that your medical insurance company will likely provide you with a FREE (or low cost) breast pump. Not all breast pumps are available through insurance, but most of the popular options are! There are even companies that help you get your pump with minimal hassle. They deal with insurance, help you get the needed prescriptions from your doctors, get you access to wellness benefits, and more. If this is news to you like it was to me, I recommend checking out 1 Natural Way— they help mamas every step of the way in their breastfeeding journey. They do the heavy lifting when it comes to getting you a breast pump, accessories, as well as maternity & postpartum wellness (including LACTATION CONSULTING!).

Even if you don’t plan on pumping, having a breast pump on hand, just in case, is always a good idea. I didn’t plan to pump right away with Isla, but she had to spend some time in the NICU, so I had to start pumping in case I was unable to nurse her while she was there. I’m glad I had my breast pump ready and available because I decided to continue pumping from that point and am still going to this day. Honestly, having all of the things I needed for breastfeeding ready before my girls arrived truly helped with any anxiety I was feeling and helped me to feel physically prepared for the journey ahead.

Here’s a list of my breastfeeding essentials:

  • breast pump (for pumping mamas – I used the Spectra S2 for my second breastfeeding journey and love it.)
  • nursing or pumping bra
  • breast pads
  • nipple cream or balm
  • heating/cooling breast packs
  • snacks & water
  • nipple shields
  • haakaa/milk collector
  • breastmilk bags
  • nursing pillow (the boppy is my favorite!)

prepare yourself

Now, you can have all the stuff in the world prepped & ready, but I truly believe the most important way to prepare yourself for breastfeeding is by mentally and emotionally prepping yourself, as best you can, for the journey ahead. You can make a plan, but you need to stay realistic and realize that breastfeeding doesn’t 1) work the same for everyone and 2) doesn’t even work the same way twice for the same person. My breastfeeding journey with my daughter Ivy barely lasted 4 months, but now, my second time around, I am at 20 months of breastfeeding. Every journey is different and that is OKAY.

I will say it once, I will say it a million times, A MOTHER’S WORTH IS NOT MEASURED BY HOW MUCH MILK SHE PRODUCES. You can still be an amazing mother and not breastfeed. I wholeheartedly support that FED is best, no matter what that looks like. You cannot give from an empty cup, and it’s important to know that breastfeeding can be tiring, it can be draining, it can be painful, and if you feel like it’s taking more than you have to give, there is NO SHAME in that. You need to listen to your body and do what you feel is best.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is often too hard to please. I couldn’t write on it for days, but I will just say this: YOU and YOUR BABY are the priorities and what YOU think is best, ultimately, should be what goes– not what society thinks, not what your family thinks, not what other moms think– their thoughts & opinions are NOT the priorities. The sooner you take that in and accept it, the happier you will be. This is about you and your baby. So, during your pregnancy, think about what you would like to accomplish when it comes to breastfeeding, prepare for that journey, but also know if it doesn’t work the way you planned, it’s OKAY– and if it does, YAY! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about motherhood is that you have to roll with the punches. Things rarely go as planned, but that is what makes it such a beautiful and unique journey– because it is entirely yours.

Lastly, please remember you are not alone in this journey. While we may not all be on the same path, we are all on a similar journey & it’s one we can love and support each other on. I’m here to lend you a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or whatever support you may need during this time. If you have any questions about getting your breast pump through insurance or anything else I touched on in this post, please feel free to reach out!

All my love,

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, an insurance breast pump and maternity wellness products provider. All opinions are entirely my own.

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