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Successful Breastfeeding - Prepare Yourself!
“I’m going to breastfeed”, is a common refrain amongst pregnant women. But what many women don’t do is to prepare for breastfeeding beforehand. They simply make the statement and then put it to the back of their minds. The next time the issue arises is often in the delivery suite when the new mum has just gone through the ordeal of childbirth.
When presented with her newborn, the new mum may be exhausted and the last thing she wants is to have anyone else poking at her. The result? All her good intentions to breastfeed become overshadowed when a bottle is produced and the exhausted mum is told that she can try to give a breastfeed later on in the day!
To stand the best chance of successfully breastfeeding, pregnant women need to prepare during their pregnancy. Successful breastfeeding results from careful planning. And the most important way to successfully breastfeed is to give the newborn baby a breastfeed within half an hour of her birth! Not later on!
Being committed to breastfeeding, but not placing too much pressure on oneself, can work wonders! If a new mum pressurises herself she is likely to end up feeling stressed and, as a result, will be more like to give up breastfeeding early. Having a new baby is stressful enough! By preparing to breastfeed whilst you are still pregnant, you will feel more relaxed about it when the baby is born.
The following will certainly aid you in your breastfeeding experience:
Join a Breastfeeding Support Group to chat to new and experienced breastfeeding mums. Ask questions about breastfeeding and enquire if you can watch some babies being offered the breast.
Observe how each baby is put on the breast.
Look at how different mums hold their babies. Getting the right position is essential to avoid early problems.
Also ask for advice about breastfeeding friendly shops and changing facilities!
Read books, magazines or online articles, to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding successfully.
Get measured for a nursing bra when you are around 38 weeks pregnant. Many baby stores now offer this service. Try a few different styles to find one that is comfortable. Also purchase a couple of night-time nursing bras.
Nursing pads are essential for absorbing leaks and avoiding embarrassing stains!
Nursing shells can be very useful on nights out, as they will catch leaks. Or you can use them during breastfeeding to collect milk from the breast not being used, storing the milk for later use.
Nipple Creams can help soothe sore nipples.
Front-opening or Nursing Nightdresses or Pyjamas can make it easier to breastfeed at night.
Loose- fitting tops can be comfortable during the day. Try layering so that your back is not exposed when you are feeding. Or use a poncho or wrap if you feel anxious about breastfeeding in front of other people.
A Breast-pump is a fantastic investment as it can be used to collect milk for bottle feeds, making up first solids or when you are away from the baby to prevent engorgement or ease mastitis. Ask other mums to recommend one they liked.
A V-shaped Cushion can make breastfeeding more comfortable as it offers good support for mums back. Or a Nursing Pillow can be used to raise the baby up to a more comfortable height for mum.
A Steriliser is a compact way to keep baby utensils and breast-pump attachments clean and sterile.
Some mums find a Gliding chair very useful, particularly for night feeds.
If you are well prepared for breastfeeding there is no reason why you should not succeed.
Breast-milk is nature’s diet for babies; perfectly balanced for a great start to life.
About the Author: Sinead Hoben is the proud mum of three beautiful children aged 6 years, 3 years and 9 months old, all of whom were breastfed. A qualified teacher, she now runs her own website, http://www.breastfeedingmums.com, offering breastfeeding information and advice to both breastfeeding and expectant mums. Visit her blog, http://breastfeedingmums.typepad.com to read her musings about setting up www.breastfeedingmums.com and daily life as a busy mum!