Feeding choices and birth plans
Mums often write a birth plan about where they want to give birth, who they want to be there and what pain relief they are thinking about. However, they sometimes don't include how they think they'll feed their baby.
If you've decided you want to exclusively breastfeed your newborn, be sure to put this in your birth plan. Make it clear that you want skin-to-skin contact after birth, and that your goal is to begin breastfeeding within the first hour. Tell whoever is coming with you to the hospital that you want to breastfeed so they can help make sure the hospital staff know.
If you've not decided how to feed your baby yet, make this clear in your plan too. Have lots of skin-to-skin contact after birth and if breastfeeding seems right, let it happen. You can talk through your options and any worries you may have with your midwife.
It's completely up to you how you decide to feed your baby, so if you opt for formula feeding don't feel that you have to provide an explanation. If you are 100% set on formula feeding, you might want to ask in your feeding plan that midwives don't encourage you to breastfeed following birth. It's lovely to give your first bottle feed while making skin-to-skin contact with your baby, as it's a nice way for the two of you to bond.
If your baby is not well enough to breastfeed then start expressing your milk as soon as you can. This will help establish a good supply for later on. You might decide you want to feed your baby expressed milk even if you are able breastfeed. It's easier to get a good supply going if you breastfeed for the first few days, but you can always hand express or use a pump if breastfeeding isn't for you. Find out more by reading our section on 'Expressing breast milk in the early days.'