Breastfeeding is hard work and no longer comes easily to most of us. The current birthing culture in the United States is not set up for breastfeeding success. Here's some tips for putting your best boob forward!
Prepare. Understand that breastfeeding will not be easy. Even if it starts out well, you are likely to have road bumps along the way. The most passionate supporters of breastfeeding will have moments of uncertainty - it's normal! Know that the first 5 weeks are the most challenging.
Good start. We can't see what's going on in our breasts, or how much milk baby is getting. But we can still set up for success without using bottles to measure. Start skin to skin contact immediately after birth! If you are unable to (I was getting stitched up, for example), then have your partner do it. Have patience with latching baby. They are often tired after the birth! Let baby sleep on your chest for a couple hours if that's what they wish. Once they're hungry they'll start rooting around. Stay in the same room as your baby in the hospital and beyond.
Confidence. Know that your body isn't broken! Breastfeeding is a biological norm, much like other instinctual body processes. Nature is on your side and the likelihood that you can breastfeed is high. Surround yourself with supportive people. Often just one or two naysayers is enough to erode your confidence.
Support. Set up a support network before the birth. Include professionals like lactation consultants (I recommend meeting with them while pregnant to ensure you get along). A postpartum doula can be a great help, if you can afford it. And last, but maybe the most important, is mom friends! I've read you are most likely to succeed with breastfeeding if you have a combination of laymen and professionals helping. Sometimes all you need is a friend to pat you on the back and say "I've been there, you've got this!" Other times what you need is a professional to say "everything is looking normal, you're doing great".
Prepare, start off right, have confidence in your body and baby, and set up a support network. These are the keys to meeting your breastfeeding goals.