Breastfeeding is not easy for everyone and it does not come as naturally as most people think. Most mothers find breastfeeding quite hard and for others, downright painful. Doctors advise that a mother should breastfeed for at least six months exclusively to ensure that the baby gets all the nutritional benefits that come with breastfeeding. This can, however, be rather hard for some women and most of them give up before they even reach the one month mark.
Breastfeeding, if done exclusively has been proven to improve the immunity of a child while taking care of all of his nutritional needs. Babies who have been exclusively breastfed have also been found to have a higher IQ, something that most mothers want for their children. The trick with breastfeeding is to ensure that it is not supplemented. If the mother chooses to breastfeed, she should do it exclusively for as long as she can take.
For something that is so beneficial to a newborn and that most think is ingrained in every woman’s DNA, breastfeeding can be quite frustrating. But there are some steps that an expectant mother can take to ensure that when the time comes, she is able to breastfeed like a pro and that her baby gets to enjoy all the benefits that come with breastfeeding.
20 Take a Class
Some people give mothers who attend birth and breastfeeding classes grief, saying it is something that comes naturally and therefore requires no lessons. This is as far from the truth as any rhetoric may go. Breastfeeding is much more than just placing the baby at the boob and expecting him to suckle and be nourished. A breastfeeding class will offer the mother support and knowledge on what to do when the baby is born.
It is in that birth class that the mother will learn how to properly latch the baby and how to hold the baby while he feeds, something that will come in handy when the baby comes.
19 Know Your system
The biggest mistake women make is assuming that breastfeeding is something they are meant to ace and that when the baby comes everything will fall into place. Any mother who plans to breastfeed should bear in mind the fact that breastfeeding requires a lot more in terms of emotional and physical energy and that the body may just not be up to the task.
It is imperative that a mother discovers the intricacies of her own body and together with her physician, decide whether or not she can handle breastfeeding or she is one of the people who should go the formula way.
18 Set Up Support
Babies are a lot of work, especially during their first days in the world. Breastfeeding requires preparation and it requires a lot of positive reinforcement to work. A breastfeeding mother should set up support for those difficult first weeks. Choosing to breastfeed means that even the diet has to change. With a new baby and wounds to heal, a mother does not have the time or the energy to make a proper meal.
This is where those mothers-in-law we would rather not see come in. As much as we would like to be alone to bond with the baby, having someone to lean on can be the difference between a failed breastfeeding plan and a successful one.
17 Free Up Time
Breastfeeding takes time. Babies do not just latch on and off in minutes. A successful breastfeeding session takes thirty to forty-five minutes and this happens every two hours, something that cannot only be tedious but time-consuming.
A mother who expects to breastfeed should be ready to free up this time in order to completely nourish the baby. Breastfeeding can never be hurried as doing this may lead to starvation of the baby, a risk that is quite real. As time goes by, breastfeeding becomes much more effortless and mom realizes that she can handle the task quite easily.
16 Chest Preparation
Breastfeeding is something a woman should be able to do but sometimes, this task can be truly difficult. This is because some women are born with inverted tips and this can be rather difficult for the baby to latch on to.
According to Breastfeeding-problems, “During the last six weeks of pregnancy, you can start massaging your [chest] to clear the ducts. Also, use [shells] to draw out your [tips], if your [tips] are flat or inverted.” Properly moisturize them and this should help make sure breastfeeding will be less traumatic and that the mother and child enjoy the process.
15 Make it a Family Decision
Deciding to breastfeed will get a lot easier with the support of the family. When an expectant mother decides to breastfeed, it would be nice if she could bring her partner onboard as doing this will eliminate any feeling of resentment that tends to build up when a woman has a baby.
Relationships can get a lot complicated, especially if mom gets possessive of the new member and devotes all the time to him, forgetting the other members of the family. It is imperative that mom has the support of everyone and that she remembers to set time aside for everyone, be it her partner or any other children she may have.
14 Get Info
There is a lot of information out there on how to breastfeed and what to expect when breastfeeding. As in any other endeavor, information is power and getting the most about breastfeeding will empower the mother-to-be with the knowledge she needs to be able to breastfeed successfully.
Breastfeeding comes with a lot of challenges and knowing how to handle them and knowing that they exist will make the journey smoother for the mother. information on how to help the baby latch well and how to treat any engorgement will help alleviate the problem much faster and she will know how to prevent it.
13 Prepare Yourself Mentally
Mental preparation is something that most women do not think matters when it comes to caring for a child. Most of us think that when the baby comes all it will take is for us to hold the baby to the chest and breastfeed.
This, however, is not true and lack of preparation can lead to depression, especially if the process does not work as well as expected. Mothers should be ready to go through some breastfeeding challenges, such as trouble latching the baby, not to mention leaky chest, as well as engorgement, which can be too painful to handle.
12 Plan the Details
Where do you plan to breastfeed? Do you have a comfortable chair in a quiet room where you can breastfeed in peace without any distractions, either from the TV or the phone? Breastfeeding takes up to an hour on the higher side and this is a long time to sit in an uncomfortable place.
Get the right setup that puts you and the baby at ease in a comfortable place and position. Ensures that the place is away from the noise and other distractions and is ideal for you and the baby to bond. The setup does not need to be expensive, but it should be ideal for mother and child.
11 Eat Right
What a mother takes in is what goes into breastmilk. This thought should be kept in mind long before the baby comes. This is the habit that the new mother is expected to take with her into her breastfeeding journey. Meals determine how calm or fussy the baby will be as there are some meals that make the baby gassy.
Mothers should also eat right to ensure that even before the baby comes, they are healthy and strong enough to be able to produce enough milk to sustain the baby and go for the six months without getting tired.
10 Get a Pump
Just because one is planning to breastfeed does not mean that this should be done from breastfeeding alone. Pumping helps increase breastmilk, something that is a nightmare for most mothers. According to Healthfully, “Your [chest] will likely produce less than 1 oz. of colostrum during the first day of pumping.” This may be distressing, but it gets better.
According to Milkful, “You don’t need to feel pressure to pump right away. In fact, many lactation consultants recommend holding off on pumping until a breastfeeding routine is established. But we recommend having your pumping gear ready so that you can easily transition to this next stage of breastfeeding.”
9 Talk to Other Women Who are Breastfeeding, or Have Done it Before
The world is interconnected these days and one can join a WhatsApp group or a Facebook page that will help her in her breastfeeding journey. The best advice that a breastfeeding mother or a mother who expects to breastfeed can get is from other mothers who have done it.
Any issues that can crop up when breastfeeding has been experienced by someone and others will have a sure remedy of how to handle it. Make friends with these mothers and get as much information as you can. All an expectant mother needs to do is to filter the information and go with what has been tried and tested, as some of this information is not correct.
8 Make a Plan for the First Two Weeks after Baby’s Birth
The hardest time for a new mother is the first two weeks. This is both for the mother who is breastfeeding as well as the mother who is using formula. That newborn can be a bit much and for the mother who is still healing her battle wounds and can probably not latch well, this can be quite traumatizing.
New mothers have been known to go into depression because they are surprised by the responsibility that comes with being a mother. For the mother to be able to nurse the baby without any stress, having a plan to take care of any shortfall should be a priority.
7 Learn About Normal Newborn Feeding Behavior
Newborns seemingly feed nonstop at intervals to change the diaper or nap. We tend to think that the small tummy cannot take a lot, but it is quite a shock for the new mother to discover that half the time the baby is awake and nursing.
Learning more about the baby's needs will ensure that the mother protects the baby from starvation and does not fall into the trap of scheduled feeding. As much as this is hyped as the way to go, new mothers have learned over the years that feeding on demand is better for the baby, as well as the mother.
6 Have a Birth Plan
A birth plan is not a complex thing but it is a necessary one if a mother wants a smooth birth that goes according to her wish. Even though it is not easy to predict what the body will do from one minute to the next and labor and birth can be quite complicated, a mother can still pen down her wishes to ensure that what she plans to do after birth is not curtailed.
According to Belly Belly, “What many women don’t realize when planning for their birth is that many common childbirth interventions can have an impact beyond labor. Interventions that seem benign — maybe even helpful — in the birthing room can have effects that lead to a more difficult start to breastfeeding.
It is important to understand where milk comes from and the process involved in making that milk. Understanding this will help the mother to be best prepare for the time when she has to make milk for the baby. Milk production is a matter of caloric intake, hydration, and mental preparation.
Once the mother has taken in the right amounts of calories, it is time to hydrate. Staying hydrated has never been easy for anyone and it takes a lot of practice to be able to drink the recommended amounts of water to keep well hydrated and even be able to produce enough milk for the baby.
4 Get the right products
A breastfeeding mother requires a lot more than a formula in terms of breastfeeding products. The products range from crazy herbs and drinks to lactation cookies and comfortable nursing bras. For the first few weeks, mom will be leaking before the body settles down into the routine of demand and supply.
Once the body knows the baby’s requirements, it tones down and produces enough to provide for the child’s needs. This is why it is advisable for the new mom to invest in absorbent nursing pads. Most mothers also find a nursing pillow quite useful during breastfeeding. Moms are advised to buy a pillow at 36 weeks and beyond to ensure it is the right fit.
3 Make Cream Your Friend
Most people do not know this and they are often caught unawares. Cracked tips are a real pain to contend with and they can make a woman give up on her desire to breastfeed. Not only are they painful even before the baby comes, but they can also be excruciating if one tries to latch the baby on.
According to ITS PREGNANCY, “Normally, the [tips] peel during the last stages of the pregnancy cycle, but some happen at the very beginning. If you do nothing and simply endure, cracked [tips] may appear and may cause severe soreness. Peeling, dryness and cracked [tips] during pregnancy are not an unsolvable issue.”
2 Put it in Writing
All the plans are in place and it is time to go to the hospital to have the baby. Your decision to breastfeed should be documented and by this we mean, put it down on pen and paper that your baby should not be formula fed or given supplements. Doing this will derail the breastfeeding journey something you want to avoid.
Doctors tend to ignore patient demands and this can be quite frustrating for the mother. It is imperative that the mother puts her foot down and makes the doctors stick to her plan. Having it down in writing will make sure that they do.
1 Check What the Local Breastfeeding Support Organizations Offer
Doctors have been running a campaign to appeal to women to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months in order to ensure that the baby gets all the benefits that come with breastfeeding. They are aware of the fact that this can be quite daunting for most mothers and that the task does not come as natural as most people think.
In light of this, there are some organizations that offer support to breastfeeding mothers, and more so those who decide to breastfeed. These organizations sometimes run drop-in sessions for pregnant mothers. If one plans to breastfeed, it may be a great idea to seek them out.