Preparing to Breastfeed: 5 Crucial Steps to Take

6 Postpartum Self-Care Tips | Baby Chick

Preparing to Breastfeed: 5 Crucial Steps to Take

When I was pregnant with my first, I spent A LOT of time reading. Now, this was 15 years ago back in the cave men days before Facebook, before the glossy breastfeeding photos on Instagram…and yes. Twitter didn’t even exist. #yupimveryold

So yes, this meant I read books, magazines, and grilled my mother with questions. However, one thing I didn’t spend a lot of time on was preparing to breastfeed. I was so obsessed with figuring out how I could grow my baby without accidentally poisoning him with listeria, excess sugar, or environmental pollution, that breastfeeding was the last thing on my mind. But there are a few important things to think about in regards to breastfeeding, prior to your baby’s birth. Here are just a few of them . . .

1. Read information and seek information from lactation professionals…not just any ‘ol medical professional.

Unfortunately everyone has an opinion on if, when and how to breastfeed…even if they have little understanding or knowledge on breastfeeding! You’d be amazed (and shocked) at the things women are told. Maybe you’ve been told some of this yourself. The best people to seek help from are those who specialize in breastfeeding. These include International Board Certified Lactation Consultants or volunteer breastfeeding counselors who offer mother to mother support from women who have breastfed their own children.

2. Get to know your breasts!

Pregnancy is a great time to go over any concerns you have about your breasts. We want to make sure you have breast growth and changes during pregnancy. You do not have to grow 3 cup sizes, but some growth during pregnancy is a good sign that your body is doing exactly what it needs to do in preparation for lactation. Also have a look at your nipples. Do you have inverted nipples or “flat” nipples and are concerned your baby might have a hard time latching on? This is a great conversation to have with an IBCLC before your baby arrives. You can talk about the different options you have if your baby struggles to latch on.

READ MORE
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3. Understand what is normal with pain.

There is a lot of confusion over painful breastfeeding and whether or not it is normal. In the early days you might feel some pain. HOWEVER, the pain should just be a bit “ouchy”, not toe curling pain, and should subside 10-20 seconds after your baby latches. You might feel this for the first week or two. If the pain lasts the whole feed though and is more then just a mild “ouchy” pain it is crucial to seek help from a volunteer breastfeeding counselor or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to get to the bottom of why you are feeling pain (or have damage).

It is NOT NORMAL to have ongoing pain and/or damage. The earlier you can get help the better. In the vast majority of cases it will just be a case of getting the latch worked out (remember breastfeeding is a learning process for both baby and mother)!

4. Just like birth, prepare for EVERYTHING.

If you want to exclusively breastfeed make sure to feed on demand (when baby asks for it) and hang out with your baby skin-to-skin in the early months, as this will help encourage your baby to breastfeed frequently. Also, make sure you know the signs that your baby is getting enough before you give birth. This way you will not be stressing! It comes down to a few simple things…

  • Baby does not lose more than 7-10% of their birth weight.
  • Baby is generally content after most feeds.
  • After your milk comes in, baby has 2-3 poops and at least 5 very wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
READ MORE
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5. Make sure you have an understanding of what is normal with breastfed babies.

If you know what is normal behavior then you will have realistic expectations! Here are some of the most important to mention:

  • Your baby will not want to be put down.
  • Your baby will want to sleep with a cuddle and your nipple in their mouth!
  • Your baby will be happiest when sleeping near or with you.
  • Your baby will not breastfeed on a schedule.
  • Your baby will probably not sleep through the night for a long time.
  • You will sometimes love . . . and sometimes hate breastfeeding.

Human babies are born very immaturely compared to many other mammals and have a very long stage of infancy. Our babies don’t even walk unassisted until they are about one year old! They rely heavily on us for everything and the frequent cuddles and breastfeed they ask for are what helps them grow and develop. Just hang out with your baby as much as possible in the early months. It sounds simple but is the most important thing you can do to help establish breastfeeding.

About the Author /

Meg works with women to help them reach their breastfeeding goals! Her background is in counseling and sexual health. She was also a La Leche League Leader (breastfeeding counsellor) for seven years before becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Needless to say, she is passionate about helping women reach their breastfeeding goals.

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Instagram post 17852873872664390 Harvesting colostrum . . . look at all of that liquid gold!⁠ 😍 If your baby comes early or you are already lactating before baby arrives, it’s great to hand express into a teaspoon and gather what you’ve collected into a syringe. #breastfeedingtip
📷: @boo.b.ltd
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Becoming a new mother, whether it be your first baby or your sixth, is filled with so many emotions. 🎢 Figuring out your new normal can take a minute as you recover from giving birth and get to know your new baby. People will be at your doorstep in no time wanting to congratulate you and meet your baby, but sometimes people aren't necessarily thinking about what they can do for YOU to be helpful. If you know someone who has recently had a baby or if you are currently expecting, today’s podcast episode is for you! ❤️ {Link in bio!}⁠
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This episode is brought to you by @skylightframe. It's a digital picture frame that has a touch-screen display that documents all of your family’s special moments—a great gift for yourself or for an expecting or new mom. If you want to bring a nice gift when visiting a new mom, be sure to check out Skylight Frame and use our discount code BABYCHICK for $10 off your order! #ad #skylightframe⁠
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Going to keep it real here, your fitness game is going to change after having kids. If you were crushing it before having babies, you're going to find that the free time for working out isn't what is used to be.⁠
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Regardless of where you were at, there are things you can do to make your heath a priority and be a good example to your little ones.⁠
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1. Don't rush back. There's no gold star here. Take your time, get the clearance from your OB/midwife and start when you're ready.⁠
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2. Schedule your workouts. Like most things in life now, you're on a schedule. Create time in your new life for you -- you'll thank yourself later.⁠
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3. Ask for Help. Chances are high that the Mom down the street is looking for some kid free time as well. You take an hour, she takes an hour and we're all better off for it.⁠
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4.  Embrace the little things. Your day will present opportunities to get your butt moving. Find them.⁠
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5. Get a new outfit. Because, duh.⁠
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6. Join a fitness community. It's scientifically proven that external motivators work when it comes to starting and sticking with a fitness routine. Utilize your community for support and motivation.⁠
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When you meet your baby(ies) and your whole world changes. 💕
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Speak your partner's love language in postpartum. Send this resource to your loved one so that they can make you feel loved and supported in a meaningful way.⁠
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Instagram post 17934950050319412 EXACTLY! 🙌 I wish more moms knew this and didn't feel pressured to say yes automatically to guests--of course, unless they want to! 😊 But you can always say no and not right now. Take your time to bond with your new baby. If you want people to come over, great! But don't feel bad if you don't and want more time alone with your family. People who love you should understand. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17857907638591275 Dinner time with toddlers can oftentimes be hectic and stressful. Sometimes they’ll eat what you’ve made them and other times they won’t. 😒 We’ve been there! This is why we are sharing two yummy dinner recipes that have been toddler approved that the whole family can enjoy—Taco Pizza and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! 😋
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We substituted sour cream in these recipes with @stonyfield YoBaby yogurt because it provides not only the calcium they need, but also probiotics, protein and vitamin D! 👍 (Our pediatrician says our little guy needs 2-4 servings of dairy per day!) The yogurt still has that tangy flavor that you’re looking for but with even more benefits! Cheers to full tummies and happy families! 🙌 #ad #stonyfield
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