Tips to Prepare for Breastfeeding and Selecting a Pump

Breastfeeding is the most important thing that you will do for your newborn baby. It provides protection, nourishment and a special form of bonding. In fact, breastfeeding has numerous benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • Defense against illness
  • Lower risk of SIDS
  • Long term health protection
  • Increased immune system
  • Intelligence boosts
  • Increased bonding

During pregnancy, one of the things that mothers look forward to is breastfeeding. It is exciting, but also be a little nerve-wracking. That’s why a lot of mothers-to-be ask what they should do to prepare for the big moment.

Look no further. We’ve put together a few of our best tips to prepare for breastfeeding.

1. Educate Yourself

One of the best things to do with anything regarding pregnancy and post-delivery is to educate yourself. When you know what to expect, and how to handle it, things run smoothly and give you a chance to focus on what really matters.

One thing to do to get educated is to take a breastfeeding class. These classes help you learn proper latching techniques along with positions that will result in more successful feedings. They also allow you and your partner to ask questions before your baby’s arrival1.

Another option is to attend a La Leche class. These classes double as a support group and are run on a monthly schedule. You can even bring your newborn once they arrive.

In addition read books, talk to other moms who have breastfeed and ask advice from friends or family. However, it is important to remember that every mother is different, so don’t rely too much on other’s personal experience.

2. Make a Plan

The next thing you need to do is to make sure that you have a plan in place. You’ll want to talk to your doctor about what you want and don’t want so that there are no issues once the baby comes.

Specifically, you should make sure and clarify that you don’t want your baby given any artificial nipples, pacifiers, sugar water or formula – unless, of course, it is absolutely medically necessary2. This is important because it helps avoid nipple confusion and makes breastfeeding much easier. Consider making a sign for your baby’s bassinet so that there is no confusion with the hospital staff.

You’ll also want to work out a birthing plan. This is important because naturally birthed babies tend to breastfeed more easily than those who delivered through medicated labors2.

If you want to talk to a lactation consultant prior to birth, ask your doctor for any recommendations or if there is one that is staffed at your birthing hospital.

Finally, talk to your doctor about any supplements, medicines or birth control you are taking (or plan to take) as these can sometimes interfere with breastfeeding1.

As with anything pregnancy related, include your partner in all of this! They want to be included and doing so allows them to understand everything, and help you when you need it.

3. Physical Preparation

In terms of physical preparation, there isn’t all too much to worry about. Your body’s natural hormonal changes begin right at the start of your pregnancy3.

Think back to the tenderness and tingling sensation of your nipples paired with the increase in size. Both of these are indications that the blood supply to your breasts is increasing, your milk ducts are developing and your milk-producing cells are multiplying4.

One thing to keep in mind is that the size of your breasts does not indicate your milk supply! You will be able to produce all of the milk that your baby needs, regardless of breast size.

If you are one of the many women who have inverted nipples, don’t worry. You are still able to breastfeed. Some women are able to breastfeed normally, without the help of any devices or techniques, and some need a little extra help. Take a look at a few available options5:

  • Breast shells – devices to press on your breasts to make the nipple pop out
  • Hoffman Technique – helps stretch your nipple to make them easier to pop out
  • Breast pumps
  • Evert-It Nipple Enhancers
  • Stimulation

Prenatal care is an important factor of pregnancy in every aspect. Making sure to keep your body healthy supports your growing baby and creates a nourishing environment. When you have good prenatal care, you lesson the chances of giving birth to a premature baby. This is important in regards of breastfeeding because premature babies tend to have more problems with breastfeeding than full-term babies1.

Finally, don’t worry about toughening your nipples. Your hormonal changes will adapt your body perfectly to prepare for pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.

4. Rest Up

One of the most difficult things that pregnant women go through is getting enough sleep every night. In fact, 78% of women experienced interrupted sleep throughout pregnancy. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, there can be some complications. That’s why it is crucial to get a good nights rest.

Causes of Disturbed Sleep

During pregnancy, your body changes astronomically. Some of these changes are uncomfortable and some are simply less than ideal side effects. Your sleep may be disturbed due to:

  • Increased breast and body tenderness
  • Morning sickness
  • Frequent urination
  • Heartburn
  • Congestion
  • Bad dreams
  • Back pain

Tips for a Good Nights Rest

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help get you through the night. These helpful sleeping tips also coincide with a healthy pregnancy, so doing them will benefit you in more ways than one!

  • Avoid caffeine and added sugar
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a small snack before bed
  • Try sleeping with the room a little cooler
  • Focus on relaxation exercises
  • Don’t take long naps during the day



Courtesy of Pregnancy Pillows

5. Get Everything Ready

In order to prepare for breastfeeding, you want to make sure that everything is in place and ready. Set up the nursery and buy anything that you think you might need. Some of these include:

  • Nursing bras
  • Breastfeeding pillow
  • Breast shells
  • Slings
  • A good breast pump

6. After Birth

After birth is a crucial time. It is a time when you need to be with your baby and start forming the magical bond that is mother and child. This is why you should have as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. This helps babies begin breastfeeding and also coincides with the length of time that moms tend to breastfeed for3.

In addition, you should try to breastfeed immediately after birth, or at the very least, 2 hours after birth6. It is shown that babies who breastfeed within this time frame tend to latch more successfully and have an overall easier time breastfeeding than those who don’t2.

It is recommended that you spend the night together so that you continue to breastfeed frequently2. Even though you will be tired, this pattern of breastfeeding helps to ensure that your baby only receives breast milk and avoids nipple confusion. Aim to feed your baby 8-12 times in a 24-hour period.

When you are feeding, try and look out for cues from your baby indicating that they are hungry. Some of these include1:

  • Becoming more alert or active
  • Bringing hands to mouth
  • Sucking motions
  • Turning the head (indicates searching for breast)
  • Crying

You’ll learn your baby’s specific cues, but doing so early on will make things easier in the long run.

Finally, sleep when your baby sleeps! You need your rest just as much as your baby does and it will help breastfeeding go much more smoothly.

Selecting a Pump

Like we mentioned, one thing you need to prepare for breastfeeding is selecting a good breast pump. This is important because it will allow your baby to receive breast milk when you are not around, or when you just need a break. It also helps to stimulate milk production and aids in breastfeeding for moms with inverted or flat nipples. Here are some things to consider when selecting a breast pump.

  1. If you plan on pumping more than once a day, opt for an electric personal-use pump. They are more convenient and take less time to operate7.
  2. Determine if you want a single breast pump or a double breast pump. Keep in mind that a double breast pump will be more complicated, but take less time once you get the hang of them.
  3. Read into the features that come with each pump. The most helpful feature is the let-down function, which makes the milk flow occur easier since it stimulates the breasts in the early days of pumping7.

Whichever pump you choose, remember that the Affordable Care Act allows new mothers to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider!

Conclusion

Breastfeeding is a magical time for both mother and baby. It is a time for bonding, nourishment and love. Remember to take these tips into consideration but always consult with a latching consultant or your primary doctor if you have any serious or concerning questions. Head on over to Byram Healthcare and look through our comprehensive selection of breast pumps to find the best one for you!

At the end of the day, breastfeeding is different for everyone. However, it always helps to have some advice and a solid support group. If you have any additional preparation tips to add make sure you comment on our Facebook page! Expecting mothers can use all the help they can get!

 

SOURCES:

1https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/learning-breastfeed/preparing-breastfeed
2https://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bf-prep/bf-preparation/
3https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a754/preparing-to-breastfeed
4https://www.babycenter.com/0_preparing-to-breastfeed_754.bc
5https://www.wikihow.com/Prepare-the-Breast-for-Breast-Feeding
6https://www.breastfeeding-problems.com/prepare-for-breastfeeding.html
7https://insurancecoveredbreastpumps.com/choosing-the-right-breast-pump/

The post Preparing for Breastfeeding and Selecting a Pump appeared first on Breast Pump Blog | Breastfeeding Blog.