Breastfeeding is something that I spent approximately 2.2 seconds thinking about when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was so focused on planning and preparing for my natural birth that I didn’t spend much time thinking about nursing. I just assumed that if I could get through a drug-free labor then breastfeeding would be a piece of cake and anything that I didn’t know would get figured out along the way.
I was right about one thing…I did figure it out along the way, but it was through the school of hard knocks and there were plenty of tears shed over this little thing called breastfeeding that was supposed to come oh-so-naturally. I am not in any way saying this to scare anyone who is a first time mama-to-be and has never nursed a baby before. Scaring people away from nursing is the last thing I want to do. What I would like to do is give you some simple ways to prepare yourself for this journey ahead of time.
It is my hope that breastfeeding is a breeze and that you won’t have any issues, but it’s better to prepare yourself a bit just in case and I would like to help you do that. Here’s to hoping that you can avoid some of the challenges that I experienced myself.
5 Ways To Get Ready For Breastfeeding
1. Talk about your commitment
Even though you’re still pregnant, it doesn’t hurt to start talking about breastfeeding and the commitment you’ve made to nurse your baby. Talk to your partner about it and talk to other mamas who’ve been through it. Just sharing your commitment out loud can be a big help.
2. Take a class
Before I had a baby of my own to nurse, I remember thinking that breastfeeding seemed like a pretty straightforward concept. Pull out a boob, pop your baby on there and then just hang out until they’ve had their fill…right? Well, technically yes, but there’s actually a lot more to it than just that. Taking a class can be a really helpful way to prepare yourself for breastfeeding.
3. Read books and personal stories
I read so many books about birth, but ZERO about breastfeeding and I wished I had. I was totally clueless and figured it would just come naturally, but it didn’t. There are many great books out there and I’m sure your OB or midwife would have great recommendations. I’ve also had a lot of my mama friends recommend The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.
4. Find a mentor
Get yourself a breastfeeding mentor. It can be a friend, a mother, a grandmother…anyone who can support you and advise you in your journey. Since going through my own breastfeeding struggles and emerging on the other side, I’ve served as a mentor to a few different friends. Sometimes mentoring can mean something as simple as having someone to text when you’re feeling discouraged, but you will so appreciate it if the need arises.
5. Invest in a pump
Using a breast pump during the early days of breastfeeding can help build up milk supply for women who need a little bit of an extra boost. I used mine religiously during the first few weeks of breastfeeding and I would definitely recommend a hands-free set-up to make life easier. If you can’t afford an electric pump, there are also rental options available.
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