Your Birth Plan

Once you’ve selected your health care provider and decided where you would like to deliver, remember to let your healthcare team know exactly what you want regarding your birth, your baby and breastfeeding goals. Complete this printable list of guidelines that support your decision to breastfeed which you may personalize and use as your individualized breastfeeding plan. We recommend that you print or create multiple copies of this plan and bring them with you to the hospital or birthing center, as staff are likely to rotate during your stay.

Please note, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) recommend giving birth at a hospital or birthing center with strict policies in place to support breastfeeding or a location accredited as a Baby-Friendly Hospital as these locations are dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of any amount of breastfeeding.

Remember, these organizations also recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life and continue to breastfeed for 2 years or as long as mutually desired.

Breastfeed Right After Birth

Breastfeeding is an important part of birth. Begin breastfeeding your baby within an hour following the birth if possible and continue to feed your baby on demand throughout the first 24 hours. Early, frequent, unrestricted breastfeeding offers health benefits to you and your baby while preventing common breastfeeding difficulties. Be patient. Your baby will feed anywhere from 8-12 times in a 24 hour period, some will nurse more, others may need to be gently awakened.

Breastfeeding Helps You Recover

When you are nursing during the first 24 hours after birth, you may notice cramping that feels similar to menstrual cramps. Don't worry, this is a protective response that helps your uterus shrink to prevent excessive bleeding.


For 40 weeks, your body satisfied his needs – providing warmth, protection, food, and oxygen. The first hours after birth can really affect how he adjusts to life on the outside. One way to ease your baby's transition to the outside world is skin-to-skin contact.


Have your baby stay in your room with you, not in the nursery. This is called rooming-in. New babies must eat frequently, day and night. When your baby is in the same room, you will see when your baby is hungry.

Feed Me

Many mothers wonder when and how frequently they should breastfeed their babies. Your baby will let you know when he's hungry...just watch his amazing ability to communicate with you and show you when he's ready to breastfeed.

Limit Your Visitors

It's hard to get breastfeeding going when you have a lot of visitors. Too many visitors can be overwhelming when you need to breastfeed your baby every two to three hours. There will already be plenty of hospital staff coming in and out of your room. By limiting your personal visitors, you can cut down on distractions, leaving plenty of time for breastfeeding and for important skin-to-skin contact. Take the time to rest and get breastfeeding off to a good start.


Most cesareans section births (C-sections) are unplanned. A C-section should not prevent you from breastfeeding. However, know that you may need extra help in the first weeks after your baby is born. Certain breastfeeding positions may more comfortable than others. Ask your WIC peer counselor for suggestions if you are experiencing any discomfort.


If you receive an epidural or any other labor medications, your baby might need a little more time before he is ready to nurse. Hold him skin-to-skin and be patient. It may take two or more hours before he is ready to start breastfeeding. If your baby has difficulty sucking or latching on at any time, ask for help right away!

Premature Birth

Whether your baby is healthy and born just a few weeks early or is born very early and is too small to breastfeed, he needs your milk! A premature baby needs your milk more than will help him grow bigger and stronger.

Special Needs

If your baby is born with special needs, he needs the benefits of breastfeeding even more than other babies.

Twins, Triplets, Oh My!

Can you really breastfeed twins or triplets? Of course...the benefits of breastfeeding are multiplied!

Click here for some other resources that will help you develop your birth plan.

Trust Yourself

Your body knows how to feed your baby. In fact, your body has been preparing to breastfeed throughout your entire pregnancy. If you need help, ask your peer counselor to visit you in the hospital or call her. She will want to know how you are doing.

Let Them Know

crib card

Crib cards are a great way to remind hospital staff, family, and friends about your plans to breastfeed and that your baby needs to be brought to you.

Click here to view and print crib cards from:


CDC (for boys)

CDC (for girls)