Setting Breastfeeding Goals and Including Them in Your Birth Plan

In 2014, Lansinoh conducted a breastfeeding survey of more than 13,000 moms in nine countries around the world.

Moms were asked how long they thought babies should be breastfed for, and then asked how long they actually DID breastfeed for. What we learned through this research is that when it comes to breastfeeding, the vast majority of moms breastfeed only for as long as they think they should.

One of Henry Ford’s famous quotes says it all: “Whether you think you can, or can’t – you’re right.” Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, especially in the early days when you and baby are trying to figure it all out, and when you’re both so tired and adjusting to so much. There may be moments when you want to give up. Focusing on your commitment to breastfeeding will help you get through the hard times, and setting your sights on a goal can help too.

The best time to set your breastfeeding goals is during your pregnancy. Consider that the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that a baby be exclusively breastfed for the first six months (and then breastfed with complementary foods until 1-2 years old or longer).

Tips:

  1. Once you’ve set your goal, be sure to share it with others so you can get the support you need
  2. If you decide you want to exclusively breastfeed your newborn, be sure to communicate this decision to your OB/GYN as part of your birth plan
  3. Make it clear that you want skin-to-skin contact after birth, and that your goal is to begin breastfeeding within the first hour of your baby’s life
  4. During labor, you can communicate your intentions to exclusively breastfeed and have your baby’s crib marked with “no pacifiers,” “no formula,” and “no bottles"
  5. Be sure your partner understands how important this is so they can communicate this to the hospital staff as well

This is something you can even discuss when interviewing pediatricians so they know upfront that you have set a goal to exclusively breastfeed, and they can make sure they have a breastfeeding growth chart available. Growth charts are different for babies that are breastfed vs. those who are formula fed, so you want to make sure your pediatrician is monitoring your baby’s development against the correct chart.

In most cases, moms can successfully breastfeed if they choose to, but it can be a little tricky at first. Setting goals while pregnant will definitely improve your chances of breastfeeding longer once baby arrives.