Prenatal Education: 5 Ways to Prepare to Breastfeed

Planning to breastfeed or curious about breastfeeding? This blog post is for you! If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon, then learning about breastfeeding as early in the game as possible is going to be so important to your success. Not only will having a strong knowledge base make you more confident,  you will also have a basis of understanding once you deliver and are actually putting your precious baby to your breast! Breastfeeding can seem intimidating. It seems everyone tells you their horror stories when you say you want to breastfeed. Some people may even discourage you and say mean things. But trust me, breastfeeding is amazing, it may be tough when you first start off but it gets better. Some women fear that breastfeeding will destroy their breasts, it won’t! Some women think if they breastfeed their baby they will never wean, they will. And other women are afraid of what family and friends might say, it’s your baby not theirs! 

The benefits of breastmilk are so vast that formula companies are constantly researching breastmilk to try and copy it’s components, and even with their billions and billions of dollars they cannot replicate liquid gold! I am not anti-formula, but I am pro-breastfeeding. And above all else I’m pro-be-informed (is that a thing?!). Basically what I am saying is, do your research, ask questions, learn about your options. Don’t just bottle feed because your cousin or your sister or your neighbor did. And don’t just breastfeed because it’s trending on social media. Breastfeeding is about more than milk, it’s more than taking pictures with your baby latched in public, it’s deeper than the formula vs. breastmilk debate. Breastfeeding is foraging a bond between your little tiny human and their source of nourishment, love, security, confidence, and belonging. Breastfeeding is a beautiful things. And I am here to get you off to the breast start possible (hahaha) !!

 

                      Not sure about breastfeeding? 

 

If you are on the fence about breastfeeding. Trust me, it is worth at least exploring! I want every mama in the world to breastfeed! But not everyone will or can and that is perfectly fine! I just hate for a mama to miss out on an opportunity due to misinformation. 

Courtney and I at my Baby Shower! I we both planned on Breastfeeding! I asked her a ton of questions to prepare!

There is so much excitement in the prenatal period! But let’s be honest, between the doctors visits, baby showers, nursery decorating, birthing classes, body changes & restless nights things can get overwhelming! Well over the next few weeks I will hopefully easy a few of your worries when it comes to breastfeeding! This Summer I will walk you through how to prepare for breastfeeding when you are still pregnant, the importance of the “golden hour”, and how to leave the hospital feeling confident! This blog post will leave you with 5 ways you can be more confident about breastfeeding…..before your baby arrives!

I can remember being so worried about child birth and breastfeeding. I wanted everything to be perfect, when I found out that I needed to be induced for medical reasons I was crushed. I’d heard how tough being induced can be and the chances of an unmedicated induced birth was low due to the unnaturally strong contractions it can cause. What was worse is I understood the impact that epidurals can have on early breastfeeding. Well I learned as much as I could about breastfeeding before I delivered my son, plus it didn’t hurt that I had recently accepted a job in the maternal-child health division of the local health department. Between my research and everything I was learning at work I felt pretty confident that no matter what, I would breastfeed my son. I also spent a ton of time watching Youtube videos and learning about other mama’s journeys. (anyone else watch waaay too many mom vlogs?)

 

5 Ways To Prepare for Breastfeeding
In the Prenatal Stage

1 Become familiar with your body! There are so many changes that occur. Some to be expected but others may seem odd! One change you should expect: BIGGER BOOBS! Watch for changes such as increase in breast size, darkening of areola (skin around your nipple), nipple changes, breast tenderness. 

2 Start the conversation with your OB/GYN EARLY about breastfeeding. Don’t wait for your doctor to bring it up!  They may not ask you how you plan to feed your baby until the last few weeks of your pregnancy! If you have questions write them down and ask your OB/GYN or a lactation consultant. Knowledge creates confidence, so ask away! If your OB/GYN is not supportive of breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to seek out someone who supports your desires and understands the benefits of breastfeeding, not only for baby but for yourself, family, and community! 

3 Attend a breastfeeding/birthing class. Most likely the hospital where you are delivering offers a free birthing/breastfeeding class. There are also online classes where you can go at your own pace. Take your birthing partner and discuss your hopes and desires with breastfeeding. Taking a class can really decrease fears you may have and clear up any misinformation or confusion you may have regarding breastfeeding.  Learning the basics about breastfeeding will allow you to really own your breastfeeding experience because you will have a better understanding of all of the benefits. Ans when things get hard, you will use your knowledge to get you through and stay motivated to keep going! 

4 Talk with breastfeeding moms. Sometimes the best way to learn is by exposure! Get around breastfeeding moms and ask them questions. New and experienced moms have lots of little nuggets of information to share. Every mama needs a good group of friends. Talking about breastfeeding is a great way to get to know someone and bond with other mama’s! Find mama’s at church, the park, in your neighborhood, at work, and through social media!

5 Don’t listen to the HORROR stories! For some reason everyone wants to tell their birth or breastfeeding story in the most negative light! I get that it is tough, I get that you feel so overwhelmed it is hard to describe, but can we please, please be encouraging while telling the truth?! I am not saying to sugar coat things, but don’t just say” oh breastfeeding was awful it tore my nipples up” and then just leave it at that! Follow up with, then I found out I was latching my baby incorrectly and we went on to breastfeed for 16 months! (OK, I’m stepping off of my soapbox).

My point is this, if someone comes to you with a negative Nancy story, ask them, what went well with your breastfeeding journey, how did it make you feel, how did your baby enjoy it. What made you breastfeed and keep breastfeeding. Dig the positive message out of their story and cling to that! Because we’ve all had tough times with our breastfeeding journey but I bet if we tried hard enough, we could share the small moments of glory that cam out of the struggle! 

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

Well mama, I hope this information is helpful! If you are not pregnant please share this with a friend or family member who is! We love hearing from you! Leave us a comment or shoot us an email at mamahoodinanutshell@gmail.com we would love to chat! Thank you for reading and as always please like, share, comment, and subscribe! 

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