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How to prepare for breastfeeding

How to prepare for breastfeeding

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Did you know that nipple pain during breastfeeding is the biggest cause of low milk supply and for mothers to stop breastfeeding?

When you prepare for breastfeeding, you try to read up on information as much as possible.  You may wonder if breastfeeding will be painful for you as well.  The more you read, the more anxious you may become.

When reading this, you might already be breastfeeding and in pain. Why not book a call with me?

The truth is, knowledge is the most powerful way to reduce fear and anxiety around breastfeeding!

Why would you choose to breastfeed?

The arrival of a new baby is an exciting and hectic time, with many choices to be made.  One of the first is how to feed.  Breast milk is undoubtedly the best start start you can give your baby, it provides protection against infection and also has benefits for your baby’s health and development, and for your own health

Benefits for your baby:

  • Your breast milk is specially designed for your baby and contains everything needed for healthy growth in the first 6 months.  It contains antibodies, which are passed from you to your baby to help fight infection
  • Breast milk is easier to digest, and this decreases the incidence of constipation, stomach upset and diarrhea.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop gastroenteritis, ear infections and allergies

Benefits for you as mother:

  • Breastfeeding helps to contract your uterus which reduces postpartum bleeding
  • It may provide long term protection against cancer and several other diseases
  • Breast milk is very convenient;  it’s sterile, always available and the correct temperature wherever you go, and best of all:  It’s free!

Ways to prepare for breastfeeding while you are pregnant

1.Take a breastfeeding class (in person or online)

The first time you hear the words “latch”, “engorgement”, “colostrum” should be in an environment where you can absorb information. 

(Please have a look on our website for our online breastfeeding course)

2. Understand where milk supply comes from:

  • Supply and demand:  your body will produce milk on a supply and demand basis.  So the more the demand, the more the supply.
  • Meeting calorie goals:  Breastfeeding mother’s don’t have to eat a specific diet, but do need to consume enough calories in order to make milk.  Try to make a few dishes that can be frozen so that when baby arrives you can simply defrost, heat and eat.  Stock up on healthy snacks.
  • Hydrating:  Drinking water is extremely important for breastfeeding mothers.

3. Make sure to have milk storage containers and breast pumps:

Pumping is an entirely different facet of breastfeeding.  Some pump exclusively, some pump once or twice a day, some may never pump.  Although pumping is not recommended before 6 weeks, there may be occasions such as baby admitted to the NICU or baby struggles to latch.  This way baby will still get the advantage of breastfeeding.

4. Mentally prepare yourself for a newborn’s breastfeeding schedule:

It’s most likely the routine is going to kick your butt the first couple of weeks.  They need to feed at least 2-3 hourly until they  get back to their birth weight.  Some days it may feel like you can’t keep up.  Trust me, you can! (Read more here about your 1 month old and sleep)

5. Get to know your lactation consultant:

The 1:1 support you have while working with a lactation consultant is the best!  Contact a lactation even while you are pregnant, so that you have the support from day 1!

( Visit our website for more information on the virtual lactation support option)

6. Buy the essentials: 

Good news is you don’t need a lot.  Breast Pads, nursing bra and a nipple ointment is the most important to have ready.

(NB!  Before you buy a pump, nursing shields and bottles, make sure to consult with a qualified lactation consultant first, to prevent spending unnecessary money)

Discuss your breastfeeding goals with your partner: 

A common challenge can be how to manage sleep deprivation.  Create a plan in advance how feedings can be done to make the first weeks more manageable

Why is it necessary to prepare for breastfeeding?

The first few weeks may be very overwhelming and by preparing before birth, you will have one less thing to feel overwhelmed by.

When your baby is born, your free time becomes limited, which makes it difficult for you to find time to educate yourself when experiencing breastfeeding challenges such as painful nipples.

You are more likely to face challenges if you haven’t done any preparation.  This may increase your chances of giving up breastfeeding before you are ready to.

It’s possible to breastfeed your baby without experiencing pain, but it starts with preparing as soon as possible! Download our free guide below!

What to pack in your hospital bag:

  • Breastfeeding pillow:  this helps to keep your baby comfortable during feedings
  • Nipple ointment:  to prevent your nipples from getting sore and cracked
  • Breastpads:  To keep nipples dry to prevent yeast infections
  • Water bottle:  staying hydrated is important for breastmilk production.  
  • Nursing bra:  a good supporting nursing bra

Breastfeeding is one of the biggest challenges that new parents face.  Sometimes health conditions or other challenges can make breastfeeding difficult.  

If you want to breastfeed and are having trouble, contact a lactation consultant to join you on this journey.

Download our free guide to prevent or reduce painful nipples 
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More resources: Preparing to breastfeed | Office on Women’s Health (womenshealth.gov) How to prepare for breastfeeding | BabyCenter 8 Genius Ways to Prepare For Breastfeeding Before Baby Arrives — Milkology®

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