Preparing to breastfeed during pregnancy is recommended. Read about nursing, take breastfeeding classes, and be sure to discuss breastfeeding plans with the baby’s father and your family members. The more prepared you are the easier it will be. By preparing to breastfeed, you’ll find more success once the baby’s here.
Preparing to breastfeed — Some excellent books to read are:
- The Nursing Mother’s Companion, 6th Edition: 25th Anniversary Edition
- The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America, Revised & Updated Edition
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book)
Your breasts should have some changes during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding. You may feel fuller, heavier, change a cup or band size. This is normal and expected. If you are not experiencing any changes, you have a wide space between your breasts normally, if you have had breast surgery, or you have conical shaped breasts, you may want to talk with a lactation consultant during your pregnancy. Preparing to breastfeed includes getting as much input as you can from the professionals who will be there to help you.
Attend a local La Leche League support group in your area. It’s so helpful to have contact with other mothers who are breastfeeding You may also want to make contact with a local lactation consultant prior to your delivery. Many hospitals have lactation consultants available during your hospital stay and these same consultants may be available by appointment after the hospital stay. Some pediatricians do have lactation consultants on staff also. Find out who is available before your infant is born.
Those first few weeks after delivery are so important in determining your milk supply and unfortunately are some of the most difficult times for breastfeeding parents. However, many parents make the decision to give formula or a combination of breast milk and formula to their infant. Before making this choice, it’s important to review the benefits of both, the potential health risks associated with one or the other, and thoroughly discuss the options with your healthcare provider, your infant’s healthcare provider, and your parenting partner.
Preparing to breastfeed –Nutrition Tips for Preparation
Before going to the hospital, stock your freezer full of ready-made meals that are easy to warm up for those first few days at home. This is easy to do, when you’re fixing a meal now. Make a double recipe and freeze the 2nd meal. Many foods freeze well (lasagna, soups, meats).
Keep pear or prune juice in stock – most moms need some extra help with bowel movements after delivery. You may want to consider having fiber supplements available like Metamucil or Citrucel. Drinking lots of water and eating high fiber foods is also recommended. Whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables will provide good sources of fiber and help you feel a lot better!
Stock up on easy finger foods like cheese & crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables to munch on.
Have on hand the ingredients for drinkable meal substitutes. Many times fatigue and pain make us less hungry and sometimes nauseated. You still need to get something nutritious with calories to support all your hard work and usually it’s easier to keep a drink down rather than solid foods. Shakes and fruit slushies work great. Using a blender, mix in yogurt, milk, frozen or fresh fruit and a banana. Mix ice chips, fresh fruit, a little water, and a banana for a pick-me-up slushy. Carrot juice, cantaloupe slices, ice chips and water work great together. Vegetable/fruit drinks like V8 are good to have on hand. They actually taste good and provide some solid nutrients.
Be sure to have your prenatal vitamins refilled to continue taking them while breast feeding. Many times your healthcare provider will recommend staying on your iron supplements also after delivery.
Knowledge is power, preparing for breastfeeding is key! Preparing to breastfeed will help you feel more comfortable when baby gets here!