Breastfeeding Basics: Ten Tips on How a Pregnant Woman Can Prepare for Breastfeeding

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! For Pregnancy Awareness Month, this round of carnival entries focuses on pregnancy and breastfeeding. Because I have already shared my stories of breastfeeding during pregnancy and of tandem nursing, I want to share ten tips on how a pregnant woman can prepare for breastfeeding.

1. DO NOT let anyone tell you it is necessary to toughen up your nipples for breastfeeding.

2. DO some reading about breastfeeding. Good choices are:

~ The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
~ The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Seventh Revised Edition
~ The Nursing Mother’s Companion: Revised Edition
~ The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America, Revised & Updated Edition

3. DO NOT think you need to buy a lot of breastfeeding-related products. The great thing is all breastfeeding really requires is you and the baby!

4. DO, however, consider whether you might enjoy shopping for breastfeeding products and learn how to choose and use a breast pump safely if you will be returning to work.

5. DO NOT listen to people who pressure you to formula-feed.

6. DO attend a La Leche League meeting while you are pregnant (find a local group in the United States or other countries) and surround yourself with family, friends, and medical professionals who are supportive of breastfeeding. (If you are wondering, here’s how to pronounce “La Leche” League!)

7. DO NOT accept or keep any free formula samples “just in case.” (For thoughts on what to do with any samples you might receive, see this post).

8. DO have the phone number of a local La Leche League leader and/or lactation consultant with you at the birth.

9. DO NOT neglect to talk to your health care providers and birth attendants about your birth plan and your desire to breastfeed.

10. DO believe in yourself! Taking these 10 steps can give you the knowledge and confidence to have a good breastfeeding experience.

Enjoy these other entries in this month’s carnival (and watch for additions throughout the day):

~ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: A Breastfeeding-Friendly Birth Plan
~ BreastfeedingMums: Preparing for Breastfeeding
~ Natural Moms Talk Radio: Breastfeeding during Pregnancy and Tandem Nursing
~ Crunchy Domestic Goddess: Breastfeeding while Pregnant (Trying at Times but Ultimately Worthwhile)
~ Permission to Mother: Low Milk Supply in Pregnancy
~ API Speaks: On Breastfeeding while Pregnant
~ Milk Donor Mama: Her Experience of Preparing for Breastfeeding and the Advice She Offers Now

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    • Janya

      AND find out how a C-section (whether you expect to have one or not) can effect your efforts to breastfeed. My baby and I were pretty dopey after the c/s from all the drugs and, while I am thrilled that he nursed within 30 minutes of birth, I am sad that they gave him sugar water the next day to try to get him to nurse. He was tired (!) and just needed to sleep, but instead they insisted he was a “lazy sucker” (they love to throw that around) and wanted him to nurse per their (the nurses’) desires and not his. They got me all nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Educate yourself on newborn nursing behavior if you can. ]

      Also, brush up on your pro-biotics before the birth just in case you have a c/s (check with your provider on dosage, of course). Doing so would have helped me thwart off the nipple yeast that resulted from all the antibiotics used during the surgery…which resulted in 8 weeks of thrush for me and my babe :( …but we made itand have been going string for 10 months :)

      Gee, I guess that sounds like a bit of a tirade, but it’s only meant to inform and encourage!

      :) Janya

    • Angela White, J.D., breastfeeding counselor

      Both good pieces of advice, Janya! As always women should consult their doctors (and La Leche League leaders and lactation consultants) about any medications and their effects on breastfeeding. The general rule with anesthesia is that women can breastfeed as soon as they are alert enough and able to hold the baby. Certain breastfeeding positions (like the football hold) might be more comfortable for women who have undergone a c-section.

      Probiotics are a great idea for preventing thrush when mother and/or baby have had antibiotics at any point during breastfeeding.

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