Creating a Breastfeeding Plan- Free Template Included
So we’ve all heard about a birth plan, but a breastfeeding plan? Why on earth would you need a breastfeeding plan? I mean don’t you just put baby to breast and baby does the rest?! Well, yes and no.
Why Do I Need A Breastfeeding Plan?
For some, this magical ability to easily breastfeed naturally happens, but for most there are obstacles and set-backs, questions and worries, judgmental comments and well-meaning friends and family. How are you going to navigate all of that? How will you let everyone else know your preferences and needs if you don’t know yourself?
Hence a breastfeeding plan.
What Is A Breastfeeding Plan?
A breastfeeding plan, just like a birth plan, won’t necessarily be the end all be all of your breastfeeding journey. You may find you need to adjust as you go, but by having a plan you have at least thought about your goals, desires, and how you want to proceed if you face any problems.
A breastfeeding plan should address your breastfeeding goals, resources for when you experience problems, pumping, what you want your baby to eat while you’re at work, where to go for help, what “equipment” you might need/want, and even what is “normal” for a breastfed baby.
It will also cross over with your birth plan a bit as well since it’s important that the hospital/ birthing center/ midwife know what you want to happen after the baby is delivered to give you the best chances at your breastfeeding journey. It is research and planning while you’re pregnant so that you’re prepared to face whatever may come your way after birth when hormones and sleep deprivation could get the better of you.
7 Points to Include In Your Breastfeeding Plan
1. Your plan should be encompass the 3-4 stages of breastfeeding.
I’ve already organized these into individual sections in the free template below!
- In hospital: right after birth and the first 48 hours
- Home with baby
- Going back to work
- Weaning (If you don’t get to this one right away, it’s okay because ideally you have many months/ years till you need it).
2. Make sure to have a list with contact details of your support team including (but not limited to);
- Pro-breastfeeding Pediatrician
- Pro-breastfeeding OB
- Doula/Midwife (while most are pro-breastfeeding, you’ll of course want to verify)
- Your spouse/ birthing partner
- Lactation consultant
- Supportive friend(s)- preferably with breastfeeding success themselves, but at least one who supports you in your goals without judgement.
3. List your short-term and long term goals
When I was pregnant I desperately wanted to breastfeed as I wanted to provide all those nutrients and the immunity to my child and give him a better chance, but with all my PCOS hormone issues I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to. So while my long-term goal was, and still is, to go to at least two, I had mini goals along the way. From just being able to produce milk to getting through the first two weeks, to six months, to one year… Having the mini goals help you remain focused and have an opportunity to celebrate the
little victories along the journey.
4. A way to meet those goals- what is your plan of action. Plans can be flexible, but they give you focus
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In your plan, consider hiring a lactation consultant to do house visits when you get home from the hospital (if you go that route, I didn’t have a choice), around day 5-7, and again around 10-14. They will help you with different positions, check for ties if you’re worried, do weighted feeds if you think you’re not making enough, and even show you how to use your pump or do breast massage to relieve clogged ducts. All within the comfort of your home and in your PJs. It may even be covered under insurance, so be sure to check!
I would also make a plan for help. Whether its prefrozen dinners your hubby just has to heat, a train of friends to bring food everyday for a week, or my personal fave, hiring a cleaner once a week so you can focus on baby, help is your best friend after a baby.
5. Resources: What are some books, websites, Facebook groups, and hotlines that may be helpful when you have an immediate question?
Some helpful ones may be:
- La Leche League International
- Kelly Mom- Parenting and Breastfeeding
- Book: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (affiliate)
- Book: Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple (affiliate)
- Milky Mommas Facebook Group
- Biologically Normal Infant Sleep Facebook Group
- Helpline Phone Numbers by Country
6. Common obstacles
“Knowledge is power.” At least that’s what my momma always used to say lol. And while sometimes “Ignorance is bliss”, when it comes to breastfeeding, ignorance is anxiety. While pregnant, it helps to peruse the Facebook groups or above websites and get a feel for the common problems and solutions given so you have an idea already. Make a list of the one’s that you’re particularly worried about so you can better remember the solutions and have a handy guide ready to go when you most need it.
“Breastfeeding is free!” Yeah, not so much. It doesn’t cost as much as formula, but most likely there will be some expenses. Especially ,if you’re a working mom. You can find my list of “Must-Have and Helpful Breastfeeding Products” here, but the main ones you’ll want to consider are:
- Pump, milk bags, bottles (mainly if you’re going back to work or if you have a preemie who can’t latch)
- Nipple cream
- Healthy and filling snacks
- Reading material
- Nursing bras and tanks
- Nursing shirts
- baby carriers- This Lillebaby 6-in-1 Airflow is what we chose
- Comfortable spot with sit with baby a long time that includes a place to put your water and a phone charger.
Creating Your Breastfeeding Plan
While you definitely want to share your plan with your spouse/ partner, really only the hospital section will be shown to many others beyond you and your partner. So you can make it as fancy or basic as you want. I’m including a free fill-in-the-blank template below that you are free to use in part or in whole and I hope it makes the process a bit easier.
No matter where your journey takes you remember you have created life, you are literally a miracle. Good luck and God bless on your adventure!