As a first time mom, do you know that your breasts prepare for breastfeeding right from the time of conception? Yes, from the time of conception – interesting, isn’t it?
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The two signs to prove this are tenderness and tingling of your breast at early pregnancy and your breasts becoming bigger. So, your body naturally prepares your breasts for breastfeeding without you having to do much.
Breast milk is arguably the best source of nutrition that your baby can get, with the right proportion of minerals needed to supply energy, and antibodies to fight diseases and infections.
However, the need to breastfeed your baby these days cannot be overemphasized because of the many health benefits to both the mother and the baby. It has however been discovered that many mothers find it hard to breastfeed as a result of not being adequately prepared for it.
Therefore, this review will help you focus on the important things that you are expected to do as you prepare for breastfeeding your little bundle of joy.
How To Prepare Your Nipples For Breastfeeding
As a mom-to-be, you do not need to bother about how to get your nipples ready for breastfeeding because your body is already working on that.
Nipples are of different shapes and sizes – they could either be flat, inverted, or fall in-between being flat or inverted. Therefore, if your nipple doesn’t stand erect – you might have a challenge with inverted or flat nipples.
So, you need not worry because it won’t affect your chances of breastfeeding your baby. Let your midwife or caregiver help you screen your breast at your next prenatal visit.
During pregnancy, the shape of your nipples might experience some change and this could be as a result of the following factors;
- The fat deposit in your breasts
- The length of your milk ducts
- The connective tissues under your nipples
How To Prepare Your Body For Breastfeeding
As you plan to welcome your baby – there is a need to get your body ready for breastfeeding to have a smooth journey in raising your child. So, part of the ways in preparing your body for breastfeeding include;
- Drinking enough water at all times
- Sleep well
- Avoid smoking because it increases the risk of SIDS
- Ensure you eat healthily; the classes of foods to focus on include; bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, milk and its products, eggs, legumes, nuts, chicken, lean meat, seafood, and other seeds.
- Besides, you could find support groups or people who have themselves breastfed or are advocates of breastfeeding. While doing this, ask relevant questions and seek advice on how to best prepare your body for breastfeeding.
- Also, in preparing your body for breastfeeding, you need to regularly attend breastfeeding classes, parenting education classes, childbirth, and antenatal lectures.
How To Prepare For Breastfeeding After Childbirth
The following steps will get you off to a great breastfeeding journey after childbirth;
- Immediately after birth, mother and child must cuddle skin-to-skin – this will help to create some sort of bonding between the two. However, this case is only possible if both mother and child are healthy.
- Breastfeeding should commence as soon as possible
- You should inform the midwife or other hospital staff not to administer formula, sugar water, or pacifiers to your baby except it is recommended for medical reasons.
- Also, make sure that your baby stays in the same room with you so that you can breastfeed from time to time.
- You could ask for the help of a lactation consultant if you are not clear about certain things on how to prepare for breastfeeding after birth.
- Artificial nipples or pacifiers should not be introduced not until the baby can latch on your breasts – this is usually between the 3rd to 4th weeks after birth.
How To Prepare For Going Back To Work While Breastfeeding
The end of your maternity does not signal the end of breastfeeding for your little one. So, there is a need for flexible and working plans so that your baby can continue to nutritionally benefit from your breast milk.
However, it can be challenging going back to work while breastfeeding – you find yourself caught up-between going to work to build your career and leaving your baby.
So, as a breastfeeding mom planning to resume back to work, your concern will be more on how much milk to pump, how to store the breast milk, and many other relevant questions.
The following tips will help you prepare for going back to work while breastfeeding;
- Create an early pumping routine – It is recommended to start pumping 2 to 3 weeks before resumption as this will help you to adjust to the pumping routine and your getting familiar with the bottle. This also will give you time to rest while someone else takes care of the feeding.
- Begin the storage of your breast milk – As your maternity leave winds down, you can increase your pumping session to enable you to have enough breast milk in storage. However, you do not necessarily need to fill your freezer with breast milk; just ensure you have enough for each passing day.
- Let your employer know what you want as a breastfeeding mom – You may have a boss who is experienced with breastfeeding or a boss who is not experienced. So, it’s important to let them know what you will need as you resume back to work. These needs might include; a clean and comfortable place to pump, time to pump. Employers are required by law to provide these things.
- Your baby’s feeding schedule should be considered in creating your pumping schedule – If you have good production, you might need to pump every 3 hours or even just do it twice daily. So, your pumping routine will be determined by your baby’s needs and work schedule.
- Know the storage guidelines for storing milk – So, breast milk can be stored under the following conditions.
The breast milk can stay at room temperature for between 6 to 8 hours
It can be stored in an insulated bag with ice for up to 24 hours
Be kept in the refrigerator at 40C for up to 5 days
The breast milk can be stored in the freezer for 6 to 12 months
- You need to know how to hand express – This is important if you find yourself in an area without electricity or you forgot your pump. This means you will still be able to get the job done.
- You must adjust to your new lifestyle – It is often a tedious task combining working with breastfeeding, especially when you have to leave your baby. So, you must relax and always have a feeling of your baby around you even while in the office.
- Do daily checklists – Check for pump packs, bottles, freezer bags, and other things needed before stepping out of the house daily. This will save you stress and anxiety.
How Often Should I Pump If I’m Breastfeeding To Prepare For Going Back To Work?
So, it is recommended that you express your breast milk at least three times for an 8 to 10 hours shift. This will help you to have an adequate supply of breast milk for the period you are separated from your baby.
However, as your baby becomes introduced to other foods, the pumping sessions will reduce daily till you wean your baby off breast milk.
How To Prepare Fenugreek Seeds For Breastfeeding
Fenugreek is an Asian and Middle Eastern seed that can be used to boost your milk production. Fenugreek can be obtained as a supplement or in bulk at a health food store within the US. Besides, it is used as ingredients in foods and drinks taken to boost lactation and breast milk production.
However, if you are allergic to peanuts, or diabetes medication, or other forms of medications – check with your health caregiver before using it.
Follow the steps below to make a fenugreek tea;
- Rinse the seeds in a strainer
- Boil water in a pot
- Pour the seeds into the boiling water
- Allow the seeds to steam for about 3 minutes
- Sieve the liquid into a container
Take a glass daily (hot or cold depending on your choice). Also, it can be flavored with lemon, sugar, or honey. You can also add water to lighten it – the more concentrated it is, the more bitter it will taste.
So, it takes between 24 to 72 hours for it to start producing results – and once the breast milk has increased, you should discontinue its consumption.
How To Prepare Bottles For Breastfeeding Milk
It is important to adequately clean all the feeding equipment before making it available for the child. The immune systems of the newborn are not strong enough to fight any infection that might attack the body – so there is a need for adequate cleaning.
- Dismantle every part of the bottle from the teats, to the screw caps, and other parts.
- Wash in hot water and dishwasher detergent
- Use a bottle brush to wash the bottle and the threading on the screw caps
- Pass hot water throw the teat hole and also rise with clean water
- Use clean water to rinse the bottle
In knowing how to prepare for breastfeeding, you must also include your partner in your plans. Moms must seek their partner’s understanding and support – this will help you to get the breastfeeding process to a good start.
So, if you are a first-time mom – you must get your nipples ready for breastfeeding; get your body ready for breastfeeding, know how to breastfeed after childbirth, know how to prepare to get back to work while breastfeeding, in the event of low milk production – use fenugreek seeds to boost breast milk production, know the number of times to pump, and how to get the bottles ready for breastfeeding.
Therefore, get ready for an adventurous breastfeeding journey!!!