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How to prepare for successful breastfeeding

Author: Krista Kranz

February 12, 2019
How to prepare for successful breastfeeding

The breastfeeding journey can be both gratifying and overwhelming. Many women prepare for breastfeeding, but they may experience unexpected challenges once their newborn enters the world.

Thankfully, there are many resources at St. Francis and within our community to support women with breastfeeding.

The steps outlined below may also help prepare you for a more successful breastfeeding experience.

1. Do your research
Take a prenatal breastfeeding class, talk with friends and family members that have breastfed their babies, and read everything you can find on breastfeeding! Network with other pregnant and breastfeeding moms through the Le Leche League, Facebook mom groups and ECFE classes. Having a network of other strong women is important for success in everything we do, especially breastfeeding!

2. Breastfeed your baby as soon after birth as possible.
The more that your baby breastfeeds, the sooner your milk will come in and the more milk you will make. Newborn babies typically breastfeed for the first time within the first hour after birth.

3. Skin to skin contact with baby
Skin-to-skin contact releases hormones that help with milk production, decrease stress and enhance bonding. Cuddle your baby skin-to-skin frequently!

4. Room in with baby whenever possible
Have your baby as close to you as possible in the first weeks of life. This helps you recognize your baby's early feeding cues, establish breastfeeding and build a trusting relationship.

5. Limit visitors
This is a hard one, I know! After delivery, we encourage new moms to focus as much as they can on rest and their baby. Limiting visitors and distractions in the postpartum period will help you recover faster, better-establish your breastfeeding habits, encourage bonding and can decrease the risk of postpartum depression, too!

6. Early follow up with a lactation consultant
Follow up early with a lactation specialist to help identify and correct early feeding concerns, or to give you the peace of mind that all is going well. Lactation consultants offer feeding observations, before- and after-feeding weight measurements, and corrective measures if feedings are not going perfectly.

7. Relax!
The more relaxed you are during feedings, the more relaxed your baby will be. Your baby can sense stress. Find a comfortable position and bring your baby to the breast. Enjoy your special time with your little one!

St. Francis has three certified lactation consultants, and all Family Birth Place nurses receive training in breastfeeding support, and are available to help around the clock. To get in touch with a lactation consultant at St. Francis, call 952.428.2064. Keep in mind, any new mother can make an outpatient appointment with our lactation consultants, even if she didn't deliver her baby at the St. Francis Family Birth Place.

For more information about breastfeeding and the St. Francis Family Birth Place, visit

Other resources:

Breastfeeding classes and drop-in support are available through Amma Parenting.
Visit Amma Parenting Center's website for class descriptions, dates/times, locations, fees and registration.

Public Health: Carver County

Public Health: Scott County

La Leche League

Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition

About the author:
Krista Kranz is an Allina Health Certified Nurse Midwife and Lactation Consultant. She delivers babies at the St. Francis Family Birth Place, and provides prenatal and women's health care at Allina Health's Shakopee and Savage clinics.

In addition to midwifery, she has a special interest in complementary and alternative medicine, lactation, adolescent health and water birth.

She is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives and the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants.