Birth Plans and Breastfeeding.

One thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is how important it is to have a birth plan. An actual written plan. I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s not worth it. Don’t bother. Don’t waste your time. Whatever happens, happens.

I understand that whatever happens — happens. Ultimately, at the end of the entire birthing experience — all I really want is to find myself at home with a happy, healthy little baby in my arms.

I’ve also spent a lot of time evaluating how my first birth went — and what I would like for this time. I’ve written about this before, you can read more about it here. But I truly am at peace with how my first birth experience went. It’s not the actual birthing process that I had any trouble with. But this time for me, it’s more important that everything is done during the process to make sure that everything we do afterwards goes smoothly. And most of all, it boils down to how it will effect our breastfeeding relationship. Which is more important to me than even the whole birth process.

I don’t feel that the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff specifically sabotaged our breastfeeding relationship on purpose. But do I blame how things were done in the hospital directly for how hard breastfeeding was for us? Yes, yes, I do.

So this time I will have a written plan with me. It’s basically a birth plan with a focus on our priority being able to breastfeed. A check list, if you will.

In my opinion, these things should be a given — but unfortunately in most hospitals nowadays they are not. I’m so happy to see Baby Friendly Hospitals becoming more of a focus lately and my hospital was very recently certified as baby friendly. “Baby Friendly” puts their focus on things like breastfeeding, immediate latching and attempting to feed baby, skin to skin, rooming in with mom instead of being brought to the nursery, and of course one of the biggest things — NOT giving formula (be sure to check the list on the website to find out if your hospital is baby friendly, too!).

Some of the things that will be included in my “breastfeeding friendly” birth plan include:

– Immediate skin to skin with mother & baby, and attempting to latch & feed baby immediately.
– Any procedures that need to be done to baby be done in front of one or both parents, baby not removed from room to be examined.
– Baby not offered a bottle, pacifier, and NO supplementation of formula/sugar water/or anything else.
– Baby to room in with mom and be in the presence of mom or dad at ALL times.
– A lactation consultant to visit with mom and baby as soon after birth as possible.

Most of these things were NOT followed during our first birth/hospital stay — and I truly believe that it only hurt our breastfeeding relationship.

During my researching and looking around all over the Internet, I did come across this   great website that offers a great breastfeeding birth plan checklist for download. There are others out there, but this will most likely be the one that I will be printing and bringing along with me to the hospital to discuss with the staff.

These things are important to me and this is going to be one of my priorities. All new moms should be aware of these things and unfortunately, most aren’t.

Did you have a written birth plan? Did it include breastfeeding in it? What were your main goals and priorities?

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