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Preparing for Breastfeeding Before Baby Arrives

Preparing for breastfeeding before baby arrives will help enhance your breastfeeding success. These helpful suggestions below, are taken from the book Bon Appetit, Baby! Practical Breastfeeding Manual, by Elaine Moran.

  • Discuss breastfeeding with your health care provider.
    Talk to your health care provider about your desire to nurse your baby. Try to choose a hospital that allows you to room-in with your baby and has a lactation consultant on staff. In your birth plan, make sure that your desire to breastfeed your baby immediately after birth is included.

  • Have a prenatal breast exam.
    Have your health care provider examine your breasts and nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples ask your health care provider or lactation specialist for information and guidance, if necessary.

  • Prepare your breasts.
    Avoid washing your areola and nipples with soaps or shower gels, which will dry out the skin. Plain warm water rinses are all that is required. If you tend to have dry skin and your nipples feel dry and itchy, use a small application of 100% modified lanolin beginning in the last trimester to moisturize the nipples and help to keep them soft. (Lansinoh for Breastfeeing Mothers is a good choice. It is the purest form of lanolin available and is endorsed by La Leche League International.)

  • Educate yourself.
    Read books, pamphlets, magazine articles, StorkNet articles, check out our breastfeeding cubby and talk to other moms on our Breastfeeding Support forum. Obtain a free catalogue from La Leche League International.

  • Ask for support from family and friends.
    Enlist their support before your baby arrives. Arrange for family and friends to help with household responsibilities so you can devote your time and energy to caring for your newborn.

  • Pamper yourself!
    Indulge yourself with a haircut, manicure, facial or whatever makes you feel good. Purchase some nursing pads, a nursing bra, and a nursing shirt. Treat yourself to a few pairs of comfortable button-front or oversize pajamas, as you will be spending much of your time in them during the early days.

  • Prepare a list of breastfeeding resources
    Know where to turn for breastfeeding help. Prepare a list of telephone numbers of local resources (e.g., breastfeeding support people and organizations, certified lactation consultants, childbirth educators, physicians, midwives, doulas) while you are still pregnant, to avoid frantic searches after the baby is already here.

  • When not to breastfeed
    There are very few situations in which it is advisable for a mother not to nurse her baby, though in some cases, if the mother has a serious health problem or drug addiction breastfeeding may be contraindicated. If you have any doubts about your health or whether it is advisable for you to breastfeed, check with your health care provider or a lactation specialist who can answer specific questions regarding the appropriateness of breastfeeding under special, individualized circumstances.

*reprinted with permission from the author, Elaine Moran.

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