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Wait. Hold up.
What do you mean ‘prepare for breastfeeding?’
Doesn’t your body just know your expecting and prepare on its own?
Technically yes! Of course. Your body is incredibly smart and will know to start making milk. However, you need to prepare yourself for the journey that is breastfeeding.
And there are certain ways you can make the transition from pregnant mama to breastfeeding mama.
You didn’t start driving your car without taking a lesson beforehand, did you?
Although we sometimes hope instinct will come in to play, being a new mom requires a lot of research and support. Before the internet, new moms had the help and support of other women, especially their own mothers to guide them.
This is just to say that you are SMART to seek help and be prepared. Being a mom isn’t a skill you’re born with, its something you have to learn and educate yourself.
How to Prepare For Breastfeeding While Pregnant
Take A Breastfeeding Class or Read A Book
Once you have the baby, you’ll probably have a nurse help you a bit breastfeeding your first couple of times.
However, your interaction with this nurse might be limited and they will be throwing words at you like ‘latch,’ ‘engorgement,’ or ‘colostrum.’
All words you’re likely unfamiliar with unless you’ve read a breastfeeding book or taken a class.
After labor, you are exhausted and not in the mindset to be learning a new skill. If your baby doesn’t latch on immediately, you don’t want to go into a panic.
Instead, when you’ve taken a class or read a book, you feel much calmer and have a couple of tips and tricks up your sleeve.
Talk To Moms Who’ve Gone Through It
Other moms are a huge source of knowledge!
Call up all your mom friends and pick their brain. Most will be happy to help a fellow mama on her journey.
Ask them simple questions about their experience breastfeeding and think about the advice they give you.
It’s especially great if you can find a mom who breastfeed recently as they will remember all the little details much better.
Get Your Home Ready For Breastfeeding
As your due date is quickly approaching, you’ll want to create a beautiful and calm nursing station for you and your baby.
It’s likely you’ll find yourself nursing anywhere at any time, but setting up a comfortable nursing station will benefit you greatly, especially during late night feedings.
A couple of items you’ll want are:
- A Mobile Diaper Caddy – so you may breastfeed anywhere
- Nipple Cream – for sore nipples
- Reusable Nursing Pads – will come in handy when your boobs leak, and they WILL leak
- Nursing Pillow – can use a regular pillow, but these are specially made for breastfeeding moms and they give extra support
- Burp Cloths
Keeping all your breastfeeding supplies in one place is a great way to easily and quickly transition from the hospital to the home.
Freeze Some Colostrum
Colostrum is the clear yellow liquid your breast produces for the first few days of a newborns life.
However, some moms find they are producing colostrum during the last few weeks of their pregnancy.
As colostrum is extremely nutritious and gets replaced by regular milk very quickly, if you’re lucky enough to be producing in the late stages of your pregnancy, make sure to pump some and freeze it!
Don’t expect a large amount, it’s going to be tiny drops that seem like nothing, however, the nutritional impact of freezing these tiny drops can be extensive.
One of the biggest mistakes breastfeeding moms make is not getting enough calories.
You don’t need to double your meals, but you should be listening to your body and feeding yourself accordingly.
Making sure you have a fridge full of food is a great way to encourage eating and snacking so you can ensure you are getting enough calories.
Consider starting a meal prep so you always have enough to eat and don’t grab junk food. A meal-prep only takes a couple of hours a week and has great benefits for you and by extension your baby.
Invest In Some Nursing Wear
A great excuse to do some online shopping. You’ll need a couple of supportive nursing bras for when your baby arrives.
I typically go braless at home, however, when your milk arrives, you will want support even while sleeping!
If you plan on breastfeeding in public (and I highly encourage you to) having these while out and about will also make your life easier.
The pressure these bras provide will help avoid leaking and provide support for your sensitive breasts.
Have an Honest Conversation With Your Partner
Once your baby arrives, you won’t have time for much. You’ll be lucky if you get to shower every other day.
You’ll want to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your responsibilities when you bring the baby home.
If you think you’ll need some help around the home, this is the time to talk about it and perhaps even start looking for a maid or nanny to help out.
Any little bits of responsibilities your partner could help you with will be of tremendous help.
Also, knowing who will do what will save you headaches and fights down the road.
Get Your Free BreastPump
By law, insurance companies have to provide (or reimburse) pregnant mamas with a double electric breast pump.
Give your insurance company a call to check out how the process works since not all insurances offer the same steps.
Depending on the company the process can be any of the following:
- the insurance company will send you the breast pump in the mail
- they will provide a ‘prescription’ for a breast pump and will be given the breast pump at the hospital after labor
- they will ask you to purchase one and once you send in the receipt, reimburse you for your purchase
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Breastfeeding hurts! And it’s a job.
The first couple of weeks are going to be tough. Newborns eat every two hours and you’ll be lucky if your nips aren’t in complete pain by day three.
You need to be prepared for the realities that is breastfeeding. It’s hard work and there are days you won’t want to do it.
However, you will also probably come to cherish those moments. Your baby won’t be a baby forever, and breastfeeding is such an incredible way to bond with your child.
You are your babies source of nourishment.
Although it might be painful and hard (no one here is promising rainbow and sunshine), always remember how it is completely worth it.
Although you’re nesting and there are over 100 things you want to do, resting should be a high priority at this time.
Once the baby arrives, you’ll be lucky to get three straight hours of sleep at a time.
Be greedy with your time and get some sleep while you still can.
You will feel much better and have higher energy for labor and birth.
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