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  1. #1

    Preparing for Breastfeeding

    Hello,

    I am planning to breastfeed my little one, when he or she gets here later this year. What advice would you give a mum who is preparing to breastfeed for the first time? Should I do anything to prepare my body? I have heard other women say that you need to "toughen" your nipples before birth, is this true? I am also wondering about the experience, does it hurt like some people say?

    I really need advice and right now my mum is still pretty upset with me for both getting pregnant and hiding it from her, so I am not really able to ask her about much. I would love any advice you could give.

    -Addy
    Last edited by HappyMum94; 23rd June 2012 at 04:53 AM.

  2. #2
    First of all, congratulations Addy! It is so great to hear a young mum is planning to breastfeed.

    With that being said, there is really nothing you should do to prepare your body. Trying to "toughen" up your nipples could lead to infections and pain, detracting from your success as a breastfeeder.

    Secondly, if breastfeeding hurts it usually means that there is something wrong, like a latch issue. It should be a positive, non-painful experience. Many mums need a bit of help in the beginning. If you are experiencing pain or other problems, please seek a local lactation consultant for advice.

    The best thing you can do now is invest in some good books on the topic and read some of the articles posted in the Breastfeeding section of this website.

    There are some great mums here, full of positive advice. I am sure your own mum will come along with time. Just be sure and keep us updated on your progress!

  3. #3
    Dear Addy,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    It must be difficult for you that you can't talk to your mum about everything right now. I'm sure it will get easier but we are also here to support you too.

    I think it is great that you want to be prepared to breastfeed. In hindsight, I really wasn't prepared. I didn't realise how often newborn babies feed (this can be every 2 hours, in the day and night) and nor did I realise how long each feed could take (for my son this could be an hour). At first, it can be quite tiring as there is a lot to adapt to with having a newborn baby. Therefore, it is important that you eat and drink frequently and eat nutritious meals.

    It is great to also have in mind the huge benefits that breastfeeding brings both baby and mum. There are huge health benefits to your baby including increased immunity to infections such as ear infections, less digestive problems and even long term health benefits. For example, studies show breastfed babies are less likely to be obese in later life. These are just a few of the wonderful benefits of nature's perfect milk for babies! There is also the amazing bond that breast feeding gives mum and baby. For mum, breastfeeding mums are less likely to experience post natal depression and tend to get to their pre-pregnancy weight quicker.

    I would say one of the best ways to prepare for breastfeeding is to read plenty of good information on breastfeeding. Also, you could get in contact with your local lactation consultant or at least have their contact details ready in case you experience any problems (my son had a tongue tie with made latching on difficult for him). You could also start attending your local breastfeeding support group - meeting other breastfeeding mums is excellent support.

    Your nipples actually need to be soft when you breastfeed rather than being 'hardened up'. You can start rubbing a little lanolin into your nipples in the third trimester. This helps to soften them. Lanolin is a handy moisturiser to have in stock when you are breastfeeding as it helps to prevent cracked nipples. It is also safe for the baby to 'eat' so you don't have to wash it off.

    Congratulations again and we look forward to sharing your exciting journey with you here.

    Best wishes,

    LJ
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 23rd June 2012 at 06:31 AM.

  4. #4
    Hi,


    This is very helpful. I however a question regarding to this as well. I am pregnant to my 2nd kid and expecting to give birth last week of September. I planned to breastfeed my first but I was not successful. There are drops coming out but my firstborn does not want the milk coming from my breast. Maybe he cannot learn how to suck it.

    What things should I do to make sure that this will not happen to my second?

    Thanks!


    Cristina

  5. #5
    The best thing you can do to facilitate a positive breastfeeding experience is to get immediate skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth (if baby and mum's health permits). Most babies will latch on immediately, especially following a drug-free labor.

    I would look into hiring a doula or consulting with a lactation consultant if possible, as well. Both of these professionals can help you to get a good start which is so very important.

    If the baby does not latch immediately, do not give up. Keep working with him. Babies can only hold a few drops of milk during the first day and they generally have lots of extra body fat to sustain them while mum's milk comes in.

    Do you have any specific issues? Has your older child been evaluated for a tongue or lip tie? Are your nipples inverted or flat, or do they stick out? These questions can help me to give you more specific advice.

    In the meantime, I would recommend you read up on the links that LJ provided the original poster as well.

  6. #6
    Thank you so much mom2many. I will check with the hospital if I could hire a lactation consultant (if they provide one).

    With regard to your question if I have specific issues, no. Evrything is normal, nipples stick out and not inverted and my eldest does not have issues as well.

    I will read more of LJ's post. Thanks so much

  7. #7
    Dear cristina_carpio,

    That's great that you want to breastfeed your second baby.

    I agree with mom2many's comments. Remember that breast milk is made on a 'supply and demand' basis. So the more often your baby is on the breast the more milk you will produce. Our bodies can make enough milk to nurture our babies. It is best if you breastfeed on demand (i.e. put them on the breast whenever they seem to want it day/night) and it is for this reason that many nursing mums choose to safely co-sleep. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by WHO (the World Health Organisation) for the first 6 months of life.

    As it says above, if you have any problems with breastfeeding then I would advise getting the help of a Lactation Consultant. The biggest difficulty is often getting the latch right; so keep asking for help (from health care professionals and support groups) until you feel comfortable.

    Well done on planning to give your baby the very best start in life.

    Best wishes,

    LJ
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 13th August 2012 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Thank you Lj,


    I already found a lactation cnsultant. Good thing they have that on the hospital I will be admitted at.

    I am on my 37th week now and we are all excited.

    Thanks!


    Cristina

  9. #9
    Hi Cristina,

    Congtratulations - 37 weeks - you're almost there! Be sure you watch some really good videos that show how to best position baby on the breast. When baby is positioned properly there should not be any pain.

    Here's a good video that shows Dr. Jack Newman assisting mother and baby so that baby gets a good latch and mum is not in pain.

    Last edited by 5Homebirths4Kate; 10th October 2012 at 12:32 PM.

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