Getting Ready to Breastfeed your Southern New Jersey Baby
by Karen Kurtz, IBCLC


Breastfeeding should be simple and natural.  Breastfeeding makes your baby healthy, smart and secure.  Breastfeeding makes moms healthy, helps moms recover their body from pregnancy and gives moms a strong bond with their baby.  Although breastfeeding should be easy, we all meet women who have had a difficult time or who gave up in the early days or weeks of breastfeeding.  When we are pregnant we can just hope we will not be one of those women or we can educate ourselves so we are well prepared.  We can also look for resources so if things are going smoothly we will know where to turn. 

Planning for a natural birth can easy first step to help facilitate a smooth transition to breastfeeding.  See our pregnancy article for more information on that topic.  An independent breastfeeding class or series of classes can also teach us the basics and help us overcome the “who is giving me the RIGHT advice” issue that often arises in the hospital.  A good class should also prepare you to be assertive and ask questions if a doctor or nurse suggests supplementation.  Is formula ever necessary with a newborn?  Yes but it is the last choice in most situations and you should know when and how it may need to be used.  Just One Bottle article.

To get breastfeeding off to a good start once your baby arrives, you should have them placed immediately skin to skin on your stomach or chest after birth; delaying the weighing, footprints, eye drops, etc. until at least the first feed has taken place.  This allows the baby’s natural instincts to kick in and for him to latch properly at his own pace.  Watch this video from UNICEF to see how it should work ( or go to You Tube and type in Breast Crawl).  If the place you have chosen to give birth doesn’t support this, ask how you can do it or find a more supportive place.  If there is a medical reason for your baby to be taken away from you at birth your support person should go with him and make sure they do not put a bottle or pacifier in his mouth and he is returned to you as soon as possible. 

Most hospitals use the term “Non-Separation” for babies who are not to be taken to the nursery.  Request this and don’t let anyone tell you you’ll get more sleep if your baby is in the nursery at night, research has proven that mother and babies sleep best if they are together.  You will start to learn your baby’s cues, your baby won’t be confused by your absence and your mothering career will begin smoothly.  Babies are most awake at night as any pregnant mom knows so rest during the day, limit visitors and see if your partner is allowed to spend the night with you.

Now we can talk about actual breastfeeding.  The best thing to do is to trust your instincts and watch your baby.  Any time you are awake the first few day (besides for taking care of yourself a little) hold your baby skin to skin (undressed down to the diaper for baby, naked from the waist up for mom).  Your skin will keep you baby warm, a sheet or blanket over both of you will keep you comfortable.  Against your body you baby will sleep snuggly and wake and move toward the breast when he is ready to feed.  All you need to do is support his neck and bottom and allow him to find the way to you nipple, he can do the rest.  If it is painful when he latches on to your breast after the first 20-30 seconds, take him off and try again.  It should feel like pulling or tugging, if it doesn’t get a Lactation Consultant to come in and help you.  Soon you two will be Breastfeeding champs and the more the baby nurses the sooner you will have lots of milk for him.

Constantly I meet women who say “I wish I had known you when I tried to breastfeed”.  So why the problems?  Few women know where to turn for breastfeeding help and think because the nurse in the hospital or their pediatrician couldn’t help them make their breastfeeding work that it can’t work for them.  Even well trained doctors, nurses and hospital lactation consultants do not have the several hours of dedicated time to take a complete history and do a complete assessment of your breastfeeding.  Few busy doctors and nurses who are not Lactation Consultants find the time to keep current in the latest breastfeeding research and the best methods for facilitating breastfeeding.  If you run into a problem you need to reach out to an IBCLC or trained breastfeeding counselor.  WIC, La Leche League and the Internet offer many resources to help you get breastfeeding information and support. Here are some links.
These sources can be great when you have an everyday situation or problem,.  If you have a baby who is growing well, a mom with a good milk supply and no day-to-day pain with breastfeeding then call La Leche League or check the internet for basic answers and reassurance.  If this is not your situation and you have on-going problems the sooner you get a full assessment the better chance you have of solving any serious breastfeeding challenges.  See signs that you need a consult by a IBCLC.  Get the help you need and you will soon be on the way to a lifetime of good health and good parenting with your new baby. 

Karen Kurtz, IBCLC

Here are some links to help you with your research and my favorite list of books for parents to be.

Check out South Jersey Baby’s breastfeeding links for Breastfeeding Classes and Support

Karen Kurtz, IBCLC Professional Lactation Services for Breastfeeding Success. Offering Independent Breastfeeding Classes and pre and post partum consults.

La Leche League in New Jersey Support for Breastfeeding Mothers and those who want to learn more about breastfeeding. Group meetings throughout Southern New Jersey.

New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition 

New Jersey Public Breastfeeding Law 

Find Out if you Qualify for WIC in New Jersey
WIC can provide you with supplemental food for yourself when you are pregnant and breastfeeding and supplemental food for children up to the age of five. Your local WIC agency can also provide you with Breastfeeding Education, Help and Support.

Here are some links to general breastfeeding information on the Internet:

General Breastfeeding Questions

La Leche League International -
The leading source for breastfeeding information and support for over 50 years.


Stanford University’s School of Medicine Breastfeeding Page
Great videos on hand expression and using hand expression with a breastpump to increase milk.

Handouts to print for Day Care Providers and on lots of other breastfeeding topics. The one on hunger cues is worth hanging up in your hospital room.

Specific Information

Has a doctor, lactation consultant or other health care professional told you  that your baby may have a tongue-tie or tight frenulum?  You need to learn more. and/or

Having multiple babies at one time -


Some Great Books to Read:

By the Sear’s Family:  The Birth Book, The Baby Book, The Breastfeeding Book, 25 Things Every New Mother Should Know and Father's First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know

By La Leche League International:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding -The Newest addition revised for 2010.

By Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers