There are so many things to plan for when you are pregnant. Fun things like putting the nursery together. And then the not-so-fun things like figuring out childcare and finding a trustworthy pediatrician.
When it came to planning for breastfeeding, the only thought I put in was…”Yup, I’m gonna do that.”
I had no idea that so much more goes into breastfeeding other than placing my baby on my boob. If I would have been more prepared, things would have gone a lot smoother.
That’s why I put together this breastfeeding checklist. It outlines everything you need to do in your third trimester to prepare for breastfeeding.
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The Ultimate Third Trimester Breastfeeding Checklist
1. Stock up on nursing apparel
The first day of my third trimester marked the day I was officially ready to give birth. I packed mine and my husband’s bag that very day.
I had ALL the comfy clothes, a super cute flowery robe, and plenty of sweet little onesies nestled in my brand new travel diaper bag.
Somehow I completely overlooked the most important item of clothing I would need for the better part of the next six months! If you plan to breastfeed then you absolutely need to think about nursing bras and nursing tanks. Thankfully I had a mama friend who had my back until I could get some of my own.
Now there are two ways to go about doing this. You can order them on Amazon, or my personal favorite, take a stroll around Target.
Pick your poison but either way you need nursing bras and nursing tanks in multiple colors and sizes. They are functional and comfortable and you will wear them all the time postpartum.
I recommend stocking up on multiple sizes so you will be prepared with the right size when you go from your swollen postpartum bod to finally starting to lose weight.
2. Get to know your breast pump
A breast pump is probably the most intimidating piece of equipment you will be beyond relieved to bring home. The first part is actually figuring out which pump you want.
There are a few leading brands and because I haven’t tried all of them, I can’t give specific advice.
I can only recommend the one that I used which was the Medela Freestyle. I chose this breast pump because it was wireless and super small, which was perfect for me during long nursing shifts.
Whatever pump you choose the price shouldn’t be an issue. Your health insurance will reimburse you for the cost, you just have to submit a claim after you purchase it.
The best advice I can give is to tell you to open up your breast pump during your third trimester and figure out how it works. This will be close enough to D-day for you to actually remember how to use it. Just make sure you don’t actually apply the breast pump. This can induce labor!
3. Set up a nursing station
A nursing station is basically a little basket of things you will use every time you breastfeed.
Honestly, I set up three nursing stations in my home! One in my living room, one in my nursery, and one in my bedroom!
It made daily life so much easier to have an organized area with the things I used the most.
4. Take a breastfeeding class
Ok before you cringe at this suggestion, hear me out. Breastfeeding seems like it is the most natural thing you could do as a mom.
But. It’s. Not.
Breastfeeding is awkward, at first. Breastfeeding hurts, at first. And contrary to my previously naive beliefs there actually is more to breastfeeding than just putting a baby on your boob.
That’s where a good breastfeeding class comes in. And lucky for us, this doesn’t involve going to a strange building while a woman with whacky hair holds 10-year-old manikins to her bosoms.
You can take a very educational, easy to understand breastfeeding class on your comfy couch. I highly recommend all new mamas take the Milkology Ultimate Breastfeeding Class.
This class is taught 100% online in short, fun videos. And the best part is, it’s only $19.
5. Clear out the freezer
Towards the end of your pregnancy, start thinking about making some space in your freezer for breastmilk.
Or better yet, get a deep freezer. Breastmilk is good for only 24 hours in the fridge but up to 6 months in a regular freezer and a whole year in the deep freezer.
Even if you don’t plan to go back to work after you have your baby, you still need to think about breastmilk storage.
You never know if you are going to have a dip in your supply. It’s super frustrating to not have breastmilk on hand.
Things to have on hand include your breast pump, storage bags, and a permanent marker for writing the date/time the milk was pumped.
I began pumping and building up my breastmilk stash the first day I came home from the hospital.
Thanks to my efforts with pumping and storing milk in the beginning, I was able to make it a full year exclusively breastfeeding.
6. Keep a nipple first aid kit handy
I had an unbelievably hard time at the beginning of our journey with sore nipples. You can read more in depth about this struggle and how I overcame it here.
You do not want to skip out on protecting your skin after every single feeding.
For me, this meant applying a little breast milk and this nipple cream after every feeding.
You also want to keep your nipples clean and dry.
Stock up on nursing pads are super helpful to stash in your nursing station because you will likely need to swap them out multiple times a day until your supply regulates.
7. Develop a nutrition plan
Most women know there are certain things you shouldn’t eat while you are pregnant. But did you know there is a whole OTHER list of things that will dry up your milk supply? There are also foods that help make your milk nutrient dense.
I wrote an entire post about lactogenic foods to eat for breastfeeding and things to avoid.
You don’t need to be on a specific “diet” per say while breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea to stock your pantry with nutrient dense foods and snacks. You will definitely work up an appetite supplying food for a small human!
8. Have some formula handy
It may seem counterintuitive to “prepare” for breastfeeding by buying formula. But here’s the thing.
You never know how it’s going to go, how long it will take your milk to come in, or if you will have a medical reason to need to skip a feeding.
It’s better to be safe than sorry by not being empty-handed. I actually had to use formula the first day home with my son.
The stress from my labor induction seemed to affect my milk supply and my son wasn’t getting anything the first few days of life. By the time we were discharged from the hospital, he was so lethargic he didn’t have the energy to effectively breastfeed.
I decided to give him an ounce of formula from a bottle because it would be easier for him to suck from. He was able to get down the whole bottle and once it hit his system he seemed to wake up better for the next feeding.
If you hate the idea of giving your child processed formula, check out this one. It is the cleanest formulation I have found.
Want a free breastfeeding log printable?
Successful breastfeeding begins with a decision to do it and then taking some steps to make the process easier on yourself.
It will be one of the most rewarding things you do as a mom. Don’t be too hard on yourself during the process! I hope this helps 😉