Breastfeeding Tips for Expecting Members

Woman breastfeeding child

Preparing to take care of a baby can be stressful, we're here to make it easier with some helpful tips and resources.

Having a baby can be an exciting, but overwhelming time. There’s only so much research a person can do before becoming a parent, as every child and situation are different. We’ve collected some of our best tips for breastfeeding to help you learn hands-on.

Plan ahead for your breastfeeding journey

  • If you’re a Blue Cross member, take advantage of our Better Beginnings program which will help you access resources including a lactation consultant and free breast pump through insurance
  • Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns
  • Reach out to your friends and family for support
  • Take a class (typically available through your local hospital or birthing center); Better Beginnings will reimburse for class fees up to $125 once you are enrolled in the program

Keep your baby healthy with your diet

If you breastfeed, anything you put into your body can be passed to your baby. Here are some tips to help keep your baby healthy:

  • Limit or cease alcohol consumption
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Talk to your doctor before you take any medicine, herb, or vitamin

Read more about Nutrition While Breastfeeding

Find the right positions for you and your baby 

Breastfeeding in a proper position will help your baby latch on and make your experience more enjoyable. There are many positions to try including: Cradle Hold, Cross-Cradle Hold, Football Hold, Side-lying Position, Australian Hold

Remember: Every child is different, and you are more likely to drain your breast by changing positions frequently. Learning how to work best with your baby can take some time so be patient with yourself.

In any position:

  • Bring the baby to you. Bending over can lead to back and neck problems.
  • Keep your baby's body and head aligned straight. The baby's head should be straight with the body, not turned to one side or tilted up or down while breastfeeding.
  • Use one or more pillows for support. This will help you and your baby be more comfortable during feeding.

If you are feeding multiple infants at once, feed the babies one at a time until they learn to latch on to the breast. When you’re comfortable feeding one at a time, you may try to feed two at the same time using the cradle hold or the football hold (linked above.) Pumping your breastmilk once your milk supply is established will allow others to help.

How to choose a breast pump

There are many different types of breast pumps on the market. Learning about the different types before you go shopping can help you figure out what option will work best for you. 

  1. Manual 
    • Less expensive and easy to carry with you, but generally not practical for regular pumping 
  2. Electric
    • Larger and heavier than manual pumps but designed for frequent and fast pumping
  3. Battery Operated
    • Convenient for when you do not have an outlet available

When evaluating the different types of breast pumps, think about:

  1. How often you will need other caregivers to feed your baby
    • Consider an electric option to pump more at a faster pace
  2. Whether you will return to work while continuing to breastfeed
    • Consider a more portable option
  3. How long you plan to breastfeed
    • Consider a high-quality breast pump if you plan to feed for a while

Whichever pump you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use the pump safely and how to clean the pump parts. Always wash your hands before pumping and before handling milk that will be stored.

Breastfeeding at work

Returning to a work setting can be difficult and exhausting after having a baby, especially if you are breastfeeding. It is important to take care of yourself and think ahead. 

  • Before your child is born, talk to your employer about your breastfeeding plans. 
  • Work out the details of where you can pump or breastfeed, and how you will store your breast milk. 
  • If your supply is a low, pump more often—even if only a little milk is coming out.

Additional resources

Breastfeeding Guide
How to Store Your Breastmilk 
How to Clean Your Pump