How to prepare for breastfeeding when you’re pregnant
Don’t leave it until your baby is born to start preparing yourself for breastfeeding – take the time during your pregnancy to get yourself breastfeeding fit! Taking a little time now can be the difference between an enjoyable breastfeeding experience and one that you don’t care to remember.
So, because it’s going to take a bit more than stocking up on maternity bras and a good breast pump to get into the swing of things, here are a few ways you can prepare for breastfeeding when pregnant.
While breastfeeding is a beautiful natural experience, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to you or your baby. It takes some understanding of how to make it work and then putting that knowledge into practice.
Some hospitals offer breastfeeding classes for expectant mums. Alternatively, you could speak with the Australian Breastfeeding Association or a private lactation consultant. These days there’s so much information out there about breastfeeding … and when you have the knowledge you need to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby, then you are in a much better position when baby arrives, and they are literally thrust at your breast!
Address your concerns
If you have any concerns whatsoever about breastfeeding, it’s best to address them while you are pregnant. Your baby will usually have their first feed within an hour or so of being born, and during that time you will either be so trapped in a love bubble with your newborn or so tired from labour that the last thing on your mind will be having your breastfeeding questions answered.
Speak with your doctor or midwife about whatever it is that is troubling you now. If they don’t give you a clear answer, push until you get one or try a different source.
Buy your supplies
Now is the time (while you still actually have free time!) to ensure you have all your breastfeeding supplies ready and waiting for you at home when baby arrives. If you have them all ready to go before your baby arrives, you’ll save yourself some time and worry when you actually need the items. Here are the essential breastfeeding supplies you will need:
1. maternity bras: look for soft, flexible options
2. breast pads: because your breasts will soon be leaking milk and these will protect your clothes
4. a nursing pillow: a good baby feeding pillow will help with your posture and position while you’re feeding your baby
5. nipple ointment: in the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding, you can get sore and cracked nipples, particularly if baby isn’t latching properly. A natural nipple ointment will help soothe the nipples. Just be sure to wipe it off before you feed your baby.
Prepare your home
Think about where you will feed your baby in your home and get a breastfeeding-friendly area set up. It might be a comfy rocking chair in your baby’s nursery, or it could be the living room couch – it doesn’t matter where you feed baby, as long as it works for you.
Wherever you decide, it’s a good idea to have a little table or area where you can pop things like your water bottle, snacks, phone, lip balm etc. Once you start feeding, it’s very difficult to get up and get what you need, so set yourself up for success.
Stock your freezer
Time is such a precious commodity when you have a baby, particularly when you are breastfeeding and sitting through marathon feeding sessions with your baby. While you are pregnant, you can take some of the pressure of the future “mum” version of you by stocking the freezer with some meals you can reheat for a quick dinner.
Remember that you might only have one hand to eat with so pick meals that can easily be eaten with just a fork or spoon. Just be prepared to wipe the crumbs from the top of the baby’s head!