Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed your newborn. However, it often does not come naturally to new mothers.
A lot of women struggle with breastfeeding in the initial few hours of childbirth and even beyond that.
If you are an expecting mother and plan on breastfeeding your baby, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself beforehand. This can help you start breastfeeding on a positive note and give your baby the best nutrition.
Why should I prepare for breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for both the baby and the mum. Preparing ahead helps you ensure that you and your baby get the benefits of breastfeeding, minus the stress.
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding include:
- It provides the perfect balance of nutrients for the baby.
- The antibodies in breastmilk can boost the baby's immune system.
- Breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health problems in both the mother and the baby, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Source
- It can help with bonding and attachment between the mother and the baby.
- Exclusive breastfeeding can save money on formula, bottles, and other feeding equipment.
Preparing for breastfeeding also helps in ensuring that you don’t miss the “golden hour”.
Not sure what the golden hour is? Read on.
What is the “golden hour” in breastfeeding?
The "golden hour" refers to the first hour after a baby is born. It is advised that you establish breastfeeding during this time.
This is because the first milk, known as colostrum, is produced during this time. Colostrum is a thick, yellowish liquid that is rich in nutrients and antibodies, and it is important for the newborn's health and development.
During the golden hour, it is recommended that the baby be placed skin-to-skin on your chest. This helps the baby to regulate her body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Skin-to-skin contact also helps to stimulate milk production in the mother.
How should I prepare for breastfeeding?
Here are some tips for preparing for breastfeeding before your baby arrives:
1. Educate yourself
It's important to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when the time comes. There are many resources available such as books, websites, and breastfeeding classes that you can learn from.
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2. Practice good nutrition
Proper nutrition is essential for breastfeeding mothers. It's important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Getting into the habit of eating right will make it easier for you when you start breastfeeding.
3. Speak to a lactation consultant or doctor
You can get the right advice even before the baby is born. Your doctor or a lactation consultant can advise you on the steps to take to help you ease into breastfeeding.
4. Prepare your space
It's a good idea to set up a comfortable and convenient place to breastfeed your baby. It could be a comfortable chair near the baby’s bed. Make sure you have everything you need within reach, such as a water bottle, snacks, and a burp cloth.
5. Get your breastfeeding gear ready
Get yourself a few nursing bras, some comfortable nursing tops and nursing sleepwear. The right kind of maternity clothes will help you comfortably breastfeed even at odd times. You can also get accessories such as a nursing pillow.
6. Ask for help
Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your partner, family members, or friends can offer support and assistance during the breastfeeding process. You can also reach out to a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group if you have questions or need additional support.
By taking the time to prepare for breastfeeding, you can set yourself up for success and make the experience as enjoyable and rewarding as possible for both you and your baby.
Every mother and baby is different, and what is best for one may not be best for another. It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance and support with breastfeeding.
If you are choosing to breastfeed, you are already on the right path.
With the above tips, we hope your breastfeeding journey is comfortable and fulfilling.
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