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Preparing for Breastfeeding
By Sherri Hedberg, IBCLC

You're pregnant and you've decided to breastfeed. Is there anything you should do before your baby is born to prepare? Absolutely.

Breastfeeding is a 'natural act', but it is also a 'learned art'. It is not a difficult skill to learn, but you will need to be prepared for what to expect when you nurse your baby for the first time - and during the weeks that follow. There are many ways to get this information. Attend a breastfeeding class and read a good book on breastfeeding (suggestions below). Also, attend a La Leche League meeting if there is one in your area. It will give you the opportunity to meet other mothers who are breastfeeding and will be an excellent source of information and support after your baby is born. Find out if there is a Lactation Consultant who practices in your area and get her phone number. LCs are not necessary in every situation, but if you have a difficulty, she can be a valuable resource.

Do you need to do anything to actually prepare your breasts for breastfeeding? No. It is not necessary to 'toughen' your nipples before delivery. You will need to have one or two nursing bras that fit well. You may want to purchase an inexpensive bra one cup size larger than you are wearing now to use in the days following delivery when your breasts will be a little engorged. You may also need breast pads to use for leaking - cloth or disposable. After the first week, you can purchase more nursing bras if you find you need them.

Excellent Resources: books - The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by La Leche League International - The Baby Book, by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN, IBCLC.

To find an LLL Leader/Group nearest you, call 1-800-LA-LECHE or visit their web site at: http://www.lalecheleague.org/

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