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Fresh Baby
Raising Healthier Eaters

StorkNet.com > Columns > Fresh Baby

Preparing to Breastfeed
by Cheryl Tallman, www.freshbaby.com

Breastfeeding is a special time in you and your baby's life. During pregnancy your body has been getting you ready to breastfeed your newborn baby. While your body is getting you physically ready, you may want to do some preparation in your last trimester to ensure breastfeeding is an enjoyable success.

Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding.
Talking to other nursing moms is a great place to start learning. You can also read books or jump online to find articles that will introduce you to breastfeeding. Consider taking a breastfeeding class (offered by most hospitals) sometime in your last trimester.

Arrange a support group (or person) to help get you started.
It is nice to know you have someone to call if you are having trouble. You may have a mom, sister or friend who has successfully breastfed. Ask this person if you can reach out if you need help. You can also ask your healthcare provider for a name and phone number for a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. Don't be afraid to call and ask questions. These professionals can be very supportive and very helpful.

Communicate your plan to breastfeed.
Let your hospital delivery staff and your health care provider know you plan to breastfeed. You will want to begin breastfeeding your newborn within the first hour after birth. Make sure your baby will not receive pacifiers, bottles and supplements of formula, unless needed for medical reasons.

Stock up on supplies.
While you technically were born with all the equipment you need to breastfeed, there are some supplies you can purchase that may ease your path to success. Since you may not have a lot of time to go shopping after your baby is born, you might consider purchasing the following items before the big day:

  • Nursing Bras or camisoles have special flaps that make nursing more convenient
  • Lanolin can soothe sore nipples and is safe for your baby
  • Nursing Pads slip inside your bra to absorb excess milk and reduce spotting on your clothing
  • Breast pump may come in handy in your first few days to help your milk production. Some insurance plans will pay for a breast pump, so check with yours.

Breastfeeding Preparation Tips for the Third Trimester

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Get fitted for a nursing bra
  • Become familiar with using a breast pump
  • Review all medications that you take with your doctor. Some medications end up in breast milk.
  • Attend a support group for expecting mothers. Bring your partner so they learn helpful tips to and can be your supporter.
  • Breastfeeding will take practice and time until you are fully comfortable, and having that support system ready will help ease your nerves and stress level.

About the author:
Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (www.FreshBaby.com).

Read more of Fresh Baby's columns on StorkNet

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