Breastfeeding and pregnancy go hand in hand. Your body is not only bumping up around your waistline, it’s bumping up your breasts in preparation for feeding your baby and creating calming hormones to help you bond. Let’s look at six ways you can prepare for successful breastfeeding while you’re still expecting.
Once you know you’re pregnant and have gotten used to the idea, you also know you have a long string of months in which to decide your birth preferences, write your birth plan, and start bumping up your breastfeeding knowledge, support system, and connection with your own body.
During your 16th week of gestation your body is already producing more estrogen and progesterone in preparation for milk production.
6 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR BREASTFEEDING
NO nipple preparation
Your nipples do not have to be toughened up. We used to believe it was necessary, but research shows it’s not.
NO tugging on flat or inverted nipples
We used to believe this was necessary for successful breastfeeding, but the research doesn’t support it. Stretching the base of the nipple isn’t effective (and it can be painful), and wearing breast shells has also been disproven as a way to prepare flat or inverted nipples. Good latch is what makes successful breastfeeding, not nipple size or shape.
Love your breasts
No matter what size or shape your breasts are — even if they’re different from right to left — you can probably breastfeed. Milk production is caused by those wonderful hormones progesterone and estrogen + sucking, not by breast size.
Breast size is created by fatty tissue, not the mammary glands and ducts you need to create milk.
Find your support system
Breastfeeding may be the way Mother Nature intended babies and moms to thrive, but new mothers often need someone to talk to or learn from. If the women in your family were successful breastfeeding, they are a great resource. Same with your friends. If neither of these exist in your world, you always have La Leche League International, local mothers’ support groups, and your midwife, nurse, doctor, postpartum doula, or local lactation consultant.
Eat well and often
Successful breastfeeding means both mom and baby are thriving. For your body to feel its best, good nutrition from whole foods and plenty of water are essential. Pregnancy is the ideal time to develop a good diet and to find the stores near you that offer organic produce. Eating organic foods is great but pricey — you can still get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need from non-organic produce.
Having the right tools for the right job is fundamental to success. In your case that often means:
- back support and neck pillow for you
- nursing pillow for baby
- nightlight that doesn’t wake baby
- water bottle to help you stay hydrated
- stash of snacks next to your nursing spot or in your purse
- nipple salve
- breast shield or shells if your nipples are tender
- breast pump if you’re an over-flowing or working mama
- breastmilk storage bags
- bottles that mimic breast form
- nursing cover
- good nursing bra
- nursing pads to catch those leaks and prevent clothes stains
- breast packs for soothing engorgement
- nursing clothes
- nursing app
- books, games, or toys to entertain older children while you nurse baby
When you’re thinking about and planning your birth is also the perfect time to check out nursing supplies, support, and solutions to make breastfeeding a sweet time with your new baby.
To learn more about breastfeeding tips, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: January 25, 2017 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: January, 2017