Dr. Jack Newman

How to Prepare for Breastfeeding Before Your Baby is Born

What should a first-time expectant mother who wants to breastfeed expect at the (big, traditional) hospital in the way of breastfeeding support? It would be nice to know what we're allowed to expect/ ask for. Should the hospital lactation consultants be sufficient or should we plan on working with an independent LC right away? Is there anything we can do before birth to help ensure smoother breastfeeding?


Dear Jenny,

That is an excellent question, and to be honest very difficult to answer.  The type of breastfeeding support you will find at a hospital will vary greatly depending on which part of the United States you live in, whether the hospital is Baby-Friendly, its yearly breastfeeding rates, if they have certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) on staff, and if their postpartum nurses have had recent breastfeeding training.  One hopes that the hospital lactation consultants will be fabulous, but that may not always be the case.  Also, a new mom typically won’t even see a lactation consultant in the hospital unless she is high-risk for breastfeeding challenges or she asks for one directly.