Expectant mothers have a lot of things to think about with the imminent arrival of their baby — safe sleep, childcare, names, and how they will choose to feed their child. Many mothers decide on breastfeeding as it creates a natural bond with their newborn child, helps protect their child from illness, and is the healthiest food for an infant’s developing gut.
There are ways to prepare for breastfeeding before your child is born that can benefit your little one greatly. We've compiled a few tips that can help you prepare for that little bundle of joy that is on its way to you!
Do Your Research
Often it can seem as though breastfeeding is an idyllic, picture-perfect situation for both mom and baby. It's something we may think comes entirely naturally to us, but this is a very unrealistic picture that sets an impossible standard by which to judge yourself.
Breastfeeding is difficult, but if you arm yourself with some knowledge beforehand, you’ll know what to expect and understand that you are not alone, and if you are struggling it’s okay to ask for help.
Let's take a look at some of the most important aspects you should research:
Frequency of Eating
It can be a demanding schedule to feed a baby. By the time you have nursed your baby on both sides, burped them and changed them, it can seem as though you don't have much time left to yourself.
Most infants need to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night. As they grow, they can start to sleep in longer stretches (up to 5 hours) in the night.
Many mothers feel that they are not making enough milk for their baby, especially in the first day to weeks of life, remember that a newborn baby has a stomach that is roughly the same size as a cherry upon birth and cannot take in much milk, leading to a frequent pattern of eating. It is not uncommon for breastfed babies to lose a percentage of their birth weight in the first few days. Your pediatrician will tell you if your baby’s weight loss is concerning or outside of normal.
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand; you produce as much milk as your baby demands. Your brain sends a signal to your body early on that it must supply a sufficient amount of milk for your baby's needs. After delivery, your nurse and pediatrician will instruct you on how to monitor your baby’s wet and dirty diapers to ensure that your baby is eating enough.
Some Pain is Normal
But too much pain is not. Breasts are not accustomed to repeated tugging, sucking, and chafing, so some discomfort is to be expected. Your body will adjust as you perfect the latch on with your baby. Remember, you're both new to this! Use a nipple cream, support your back and arms, and give it your all to perfect the latch.
If you feel the pain is persisting, then contact your OBGYN or certified lactation consultant. It can sometimes be a minor issue with the baby's tongue and lip, which a small procedure can correct.
Buy at least 2 good supportive nursing bras, nursing pads, and pajamas with easy access for nursing (these don't need to be expensive nursing pajamas, button-up or pull up tops will do!).
This is only the bare minimum equipment; some moms find it helpful to have a rocker, a sling, a pump, breastmilk storage bottles or bags, a nursing pillow, and other items. But prioritize what you personally need, there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to additional equipment.
Breastfeeding Basics Class
At Voyage Healthcare, we offer Breastfeeding Basics, a free one-evening class at our Center for Women’s Health. It's currently taught by Voyage Healthcare’s OB/GYN Certified Lactation Counselor Cristen Singer, APRN, CNP, CLC. You’ll gain information, skills, and confidence to help you enjoy the rewards of breastfeeding your baby. Expectant mothers and their support person(s) are welcome. You do not have to be a Voyage Healthcare OB patient to attend. We kindly request an RSVP to the Center for Women’s Health receptionist at (763) 587-7263.
Topics and demonstrations covered in the Breastfeeding Basics class include:
- Breastfeeding basics
- Benefits of breastfeeding
- Latching and positioning your baby
- Baby cues
- And much more!
Interested in attending Breastfeeding Basics? Choose from one of these convenient dates:
- Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm
- Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm
- Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm
Breastfeeding may seem like a daunting aspect of motherhood—we want it to go perfectly and want our child to latch on and feed the first time. But remember that this isn't easy, and many new mothers go through some struggles. If you have more concerns, doubts, or just want to talk to a medical professional about breastfeeding, you can book an appointment with our OBGYN specialists here.