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How to prepare for breastfeeding

For many expecting mothers and their partners, preparing for birth and parenthood is an integral part of pregnancy. But one aspect many future parents forget about is to prepare for breastfeeding.

Proper preparation not only helps prevent breastfeeding problems, but also gives the mother-to-be a feeling of security and instals in her the self-confidence she needs to persevere when breastfeeding gets painful or difficult.

How to prepare for breastfeeding? What can pregnant women do to get breastfeeding off to a good start? Read on as we dive deep into the ins and outs of preparing for breastfeeding.

Mutter sitzt auf dem Bett und stillt ihr Baby

Taking breastfeeding classes is the perfect starting point

Many mums-to-be attend birthing classes or antenatal classes to prepare for birth and motherhood. Pregnant women who intend to breastfeed their baby should also consider taking special breastfeeding classes.

Antenatal breastfeeding classes are offered in several different forms, such as information evenings, online classes, or workshops which are led by certified breastfeeding consultants. In addition to informative videos and Q&A sessions, breastfeeding workshops usually also include practising different breastfeeding positions.

How to prepare for breastfeeding: choosing a hospital and planning your return to work

Other than going to special antenatal classes, preparing for breastfeeding should also include choosing a baby-friendly hospital for the birth. Baby-friendly hospitals have implemented different procedures for promoting breastfeeding, such as allowing skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby directly after birth and continuous support by specially trained staff throughout the mother’s postpartum stay at the clinic.

But there is even more to consider when preparing for breastfeeding. The day when you’ll have to return to work after maternity leave might seem a long way off, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave things to the last minute. Ideally, you should start gathering information about your rights in the workplace when it comes to breastfeeding. After all, continuing breastfeeding when returning to work can be quite challenging.

Best tips on how to prepare for breastfeeding

There are many things you can do to prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant. However, most of the preparation happens shortly before birth. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for breastfeeding like a pro:

  • Buy your breastfeeding essentials: Having the right equipment at hand can make a big difference when it comes to breastfeeding success. With breastfeeding essentials like silver nursing cups or breast gel pads, breastfeeding pain can be alleviated the minute it arises.
  • Refrain from rubbing your nipples: Many women wonder how to prepare their breasts for breastfeeding. One common misconception is that the nipples need to be rubbed with a towel to “toughen them up” for breastfeeding. Since experts firmly advise against such practices, you should refrain from doing anything that could lead to sore nipples before you even start breastfeeding.
  • Allow for plenty of skin-to-skin contact: Direct skin-to-skin contact between mum and baby is an important success factor when it comes to breastfeeding. It not only promotes the relationship between mother and baby, but also triggers the natural reflexes that are needed for breastfeeding.
  • Practise laid-back nursing: Laid-back nursing is often said to be the best position for starting breastfeeding. Not only does the reclined position allow for plenty of comfort, but it also allows babies to follow their natural instincts and latch on in their own time.
  • Learn how to express milk by hand: Knowing how to express milk by hand often comes in very handy during the nursing period. For instance, if you want some time to yourself and need someone else to look after and feed your baby, you can express some breast milk before and store it in the fridge.
  • Clear up any doubts: Whatever doubts you may have about breastfeeding, you should clear them up before your baby gets born. You can talk to your midwife or lactation consultant about anything that might make you feel uncomfortable or insecure.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A healthy, balanced breastfeeding diet is essential to ensure that both you and your baby get all the important nutrients. Just keep up the healthy eating habits you adopted during pregnancy.
Mutter stillt ihr Baby und meditiert währenddessen

How to prepare for breastfeeding: rest and relaxation

If you want breastfeeding to work, you need to be calm and relaxed. For one thing, this prevents your tension and nervousness from being transmitted to your newborn. For another, tension and stress can adversely affect let down.

When preparing for breastfeeding, you should also consider:

  • Meditation: Meditation has a positive effect on your self-confidence and also creates positive emotions, which can help you persevere with breastfeeding even when things get difficult.
  • Relaxation exercises: There are different relaxation exercises for breastfeeding mothers. When life gets hectic, building relaxation exercises into your schedule to calm down before the next feeding session can work real wonders.
  • Breathing exercises: Breathing exercises are also good for relaxing and preparing for breastfeeding. They lead you to a state of inner peace and allow you to concentrate fully on the here and now.

How to prepare for breastfeeding: getting the right mindset

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. But that doesn't mean it's intuitive for all mothers. In fact, breastfeeding success is often about having the right mindset. New mums who are not confident in their own ability to breastfeed their baby often struggle a lot more with breastfeeding difficulties and are more likely to stop breastfeeding early.

One important aspect to keep in mind when preparing for breastfeeding therefore is to get into the right mindset and develop the self-confidence that is needed to persevere with breastfeeding even under difficult circumstances. Learning to stay focused no matter the situation is another thing to add to the list of breastfeeding preparations. After all, getting a good breastfeeding latch is very difficult when your mind is somewhere else.

How to prepare for breastfeeding: physical activity

If you wonder how to prepare your body for breastfeeding, we’ve got some great news for you. You don’t have to do anything because your body does it all. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your body starts preparing for breastfeeding by producing additional mammary gland tissue and increasing the prolactin level, which is the hormone needed for milk production.

However, there are a few things you can do to help your body. This includes staying fit and healthy. If you feel well, breastfeeding will be a lot easier. Getting some exercise is a good starting point to increase your well-being. For instance, you can take a nice relaxing walk. To prevent common breastfeeding problems such as a stiff neck or back pain, you can also get into the habit of practising yoga or doing some stretching whenever time permits.

How to prepare for breastfeeding: time management and good planning

One thing many breastfeeding mums realise too late is that everything takes a lot longer when taking care of a baby. Looking after a newborn and breastfeeding take up a lot of time, which means that you’ll have to say good-bye to your normal routine. To stop things from getting out of hand and resulting in stress, you need some serious time management and planning skills. This includes:

  • Finding suitable time slots for breastfeeding,
  • Identifying factors that could interfere with breastfeeding and taking measures to prevent them from messing up your schedule,
  • Prioritising breastfeeding and allowing plenty of time for feeding sessions.

There are many breastfeeding classes that address this issue by getting expecting mums to draw pie charts comparing the time available for different activities with and without a baby to look after.

Eine schwangere Frau steht am Arbeitsplatz und schaut auf einen Monitor

How to prepare for breastfeeding: getting the right support

Another important part of preparing for breastfeeding is to ensure you have all the support you need. Ask your family and friends to find out who is available to help you when you need it. Additionally, make sure to create a list of contacts where you can get professional support in case of an emergency or if you have any doubts or questions.

There are different organisations and institutions that offer support for breastfeeding mums, including:

Reaching out to other breastfeeding mums is also a great idea. If you don’t have any friends or relatives who have recently had a baby, you can join a breastfeeding group to find other nursing mothers to share experiences and talk about all things baby.

A final word on preparing for breastfeeding

Proper preparation is crucial for getting breastfeeding off to a good start. There are many different answers to the question of how to prepare for breastfeeding. Things you can do to prepare include attending breastfeeding classes, learning special relaxation and breathing techniques, and improving your time management and planning skills. Talking to other mums is also a great idea to get into breastfeeding.

However, you shouldn’t forget that, no matter how well you prepare for breastfeeding, you will need time to adjust to the changed circumstances and that things don’t always go as planned. The most important thing is to not let small hitches discourage you and give yourself and your baby the time you need to find your own rhythm and routine.

How to prepare for breastfeeding

2023-07-26 12:00:00
How to prepare for breastfeeding - How to prepare for breastfeeding

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