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5 Key Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding

  1. Hold off on buying the breast pump. They can be pricey, which is why many women choose to register for them. You could also rent a pump from the hospital or a medical supply store and see how things, er, flow before you commit to owning.

  2. Get only one nursing bra. Eventually you’ll need a few, but wait to stock up until about 10 days after the baby’s arrived, when your breast size has stabilized, says Freda Rosenfeld, a certified lactation consultant in Brooklyn, New York, and mom of three. Start off with a nursing bra that’s a cup-size larger than your current one; give it a test run before the baby’s born to get used to the hooks.

  3. Moisturize. Rosenfeld tells moms to rub a little olive oil—which is super-moisturizing—onto their nipples starting a week before they give birth. OK, so you might smell like a salad, but it’ll prevent soreness from the baby sucking on too-dry skin.

  4. Get yourself good support (and not just the bra kind). Consider taking a breastfeeding class, which will cover the basics; many hospitals offer one-time classes. You could also attend a breastfeeding group once or twice. “Even before you give birth, you’ll be tapped into a network of committed breastfeeders,” says Sharon Panzica, a mother of one in Willamette, Illinois, who started going to La Leche League meetings and liked them so much, she became a leader.

  5. Try not to worry. “Before my first child was born, I was stressed out about how breastfeeding would work," says Jessica Schwerd, a mother of three from Gansevoort, New York. “Worrying did me no good. Does it ever? Once I started, it took a little time to get into a good rhythm—but it took!”
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