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Mom To Be: Preparing to Breastfeed Baby
Prepare for Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
For "mom to be", preparing for breastfeeding is essential. Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time and practice to learn, but being able to feed and nourish your baby anytime and anywhere is extremely gratifying- for you and baby. Prepare yourself to nurse your newborn baby while you are pregnant, so when the baby is born you will feel confident and ready to breastfeed your baby. There really is nothing quite like a content, slumbering baby with a full belly of milk resting in your arms.
Why Prepare for Breastfeeding?
Trying to breastfeed a newborn baby can be stress-full and frustrating when you have a screaming baby that is not able to get the milk it needs. By preparing ahead of time you will have:
- knowledge of breastfeeding techniques and positions
- resources to contact when you need help
- essential breastfeeding products on hand
- confidence to continue breastfeeding despite initial tribulations
How Long You Choose to Breastfeed is Your Decision
How long do you plan on breastfeeding your baby?
A lactation consultant specializes in lactation and breastfeeding. Lactation consultants can be found on hospital staffs and in private practice. Call your hospital while you are pregnant and inquire about the lactation consultants on staff, or find a private practice lactation consultant in your area. You may want to visit with a lactation consultant before you visit the hospital or during the first day of your baby's life, so you can establish proper breastfeeding technique and help your newborn learn to nurse. A good lactation consultant will make sure your baby is latched on properly, show you various positions the baby can be in while nursing, and make sure breastfeeding is not painful for you.
Books on Breastfeeding
Educate yourself about breastfeeding while you are pregnant and you will feel confident and ready to feed your baby. There are great books, movies, and online resources that will provide you with oodles of information. Have a few favorite resources on hand so that you can refer to them if you have nursing questions once your baby is born.
La Leche League
The mission of La Leche League is to help mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. While you are still pregnant you should locate a La Leche League group in your area, go to a meeting to meet the other mom's. You will get nothing but support and helpful suggestions. Whether your baby has trouble latching, nursing is painful, or you are worried about your milk supply or how often you should breastfeed, the women of La Leche League are potentially a great support group for nursing moms.
Mothering Magazine Forums
- Mothering Forums
Mothering forums are a great place to talk to other pregnant and breastfeeding moms. If you post a question you are likely to get several responses within the day from helpful and supportive women.
Other Moms Who Breastfeed
Your friends and family who have breastfed babies can be a great breastfeeding resource. While pregnant, talk to friends who have breastfed and ask them about their first few weeks of breastfeeding. The first month breastfeeding a baby can be difficult as you learn proper breastfeeding technique, and your friends and family may be just the support group for you. Initiate these conversations while still pregnant so you know who you can call in the middle of the night when you need advice.
Spend Time Choosing the Best Breast Pump for You
Essential Breastfeeding Products
For moms to be planning on breastfeeding, there are several items that will make the process easier.
- Lanolin: A tube of lanolin is essential for breastfeeding moms. The first month of breastfeeding can cause your nipples to become chapped, sore and cracked. Lanolin is a natural product that will soothe the nipples and help them heal, so you can continue breastfeeding your baby pain-free.
- Breast/Nursing Pads: Initially, you will occasionally leak milk unexpectedly. Breast pads can be worn inside your nursing bra to absorb leaky milk before it leaves embarrassing wet spots on your shirt. You can find disposable nursing pads or reusable, washable cotton nursing pads.
- Nursing Pillow: A nursing pillow, such as a the familiar Boppy, provides support while you are nursing an infant. It also makes it easier to place the baby in different nursing positions.
- Breast Pump: Even if you plan on staying home with your baby, you will want a breast pump for those times when you are away from your baby for more than a few hours. It is worth spending a little extra money to get a quality breast pump that is easy to use.