Breastfeeding is the most natural way to nourish an infant. Even though it’s completely natural for women, it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
While most expecting mothers plan to breastfeed, the trouble comes from the lack of preparation. Preparing to breastfeed before the baby arrives can make the process much smoother for the new mother.
When it comes to breastfeeding, most new moms think that getting a good quality breast pump will do the trick. As helpful as that will be, there’s a lot more to breastfeeding than pumping.
What makes breastfeeding so important is that the milk has all of the nutrients that babies need to grow into healthy children.
To make sure you have a positive experience you should be thinking about how to prepare for breastfeeding before birth. There are several things a new mother can do to prepare herself for a positive breastfeeding experience.
How To Prepare For Breastfeeding Before Birth
Breastfeeding is something that a new mother has never done before. Some mothers have never even seen it happen in person. While they may have an idea of what will happen, they really don’t know what to expect.
New mothers have so many new experiences coming their way. Preparing to breastfeed before the baby arrives will be one less thing to worry about. These are some ways that a new mother can prepare herself for breastfeeding.
Take A Class
If you take a class on breastfeeding your chances of breastfeeding exclusively go up, and you are more likely to be able to breastfeed for longer. The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the baby’s life so they can grow to be healthy.
Breastfeeding classes are often offered at the hospital or birth centers. If the classes are not available to you locally, there is also the option to take classes online.
Look For Resources
There’s a lot to know about being a new mom, and you’re bound to have questions. While it may be common to turn to Google or a social media page dedicated to new moms, you should avoid these as your main resources. You’re more likely to find conflicting results than actual answers, which leaves you more confused than you were before you asked the question.
It is good to have a few trusted resources you can turn to when you need information. If you like using Facebook groups we recommend searching for one that is run by a professional because they are better at monitoring their page and removing any comments with misleading advice.
New mothers need all the information they can get. There are plenty of well-written breastfeeding books available to help you. Reading at least two of them before the baby arrives can help ensure that you have all the information you need, and then some.
The thing about breastfeeding is that when you need help, you need it at that very instant. There’s no time to waste. It’s always a good idea to have a lactation consultant, or two, that you can call when you need to. They are experienced to help you along the way.
Make A Plan
There’s a good chance you have already (or are planning on soon) made a birthing plan. So why not make a breastfeeding plan too? Your baby does have to eat after all. If you have your breastfeeding plan ready before birth then you can communicate to the hospital staff about what you want to do.
In the US there are less than 600 baby-friendly hospitals. If you give birth in one of these hospitals it’s important that the staff knows your plans ahead of time.
You can use your breastfeeding plan to figure out things like:
- Do you want the baby in-room with you?
- Do you want to avoid pacifiers as well?
- Is supplementing needed?
Take A Good Look At Your Nipples
Some mothers have experienced breastfeeding problems because of their nipples. If your nipples are flat, inverted, or dense then they could cause an issue. Always consult with your doctor or lactation specialist if this is a concern for you. They may recommend you wear a nipple shield to get your nipples ready.
Know How Often You Need To Feed Your Baby
Newborn babies need to feed at least 8 times every 24 hours. It’s okay if they feed more often than that as well. They need your milk to develop healthily.
Tips For Having A Good Milk Supply
To keep that baby fed, you will need to have a good milk supply. In order to do this you should breastfeed early and as often as you can. During your baby’s first few days of life make sure they have a lot of skin-to-skin contact with you so they are comfortable coming in contact to eat.
If you breastfeed often that tells your body to make more milk. Most of your milk will be produced at night so it’s important to get in a good evening feeding. To make sure your milk is good quality avoid eating peppermint for a while.
As long as you continue to breastfeed you probably won’t have issues producing milk. If your producing more milk than the baby is eating, use a breast pump so your flow doesn’t slow down.
Your Trusted Breast Pump
Every mother has different pumping needs, which is why there are so many different types of breast pumps available. Do some research to find out which one is best for your needs.
Other Breastfeeding Essentials You Will Need
- Bra Pads
- Breastfeeding Pillow
- Hand Pump
- Nursing Stool
- Front Carriers
- Hands-Free Pumping Bra
- Pumping Adapter
- Gel Pads or Shells
You never know when your baby will need to be nursed. It’s a good idea to put together baskets with these items in to keep around your home.
Going Back To Work ; Your Legal Rights
When it’s time to go back to work you might need to start looking at child-care options. To take some of your anxiety away there are a lot of daycares that support mothers breastfeeding their children. Ask around and see what their policies are.
In the US as a mother, you have the right to breastfeed your baby wherever you are legally able to stand. The majority of states have laws in place that allow women to breastfeed in the workplace.