To achieve successful beginnings of breastfeeding, you will need self-confidence, patience, support from the loved ones and getting acquainted with a handful of tips that will allay fears and doubts. We can also advise on how to prepare your breasts for feeding.
It is a good idea to take care of your breasts during pregnancy to minimize the risk of soreness that can be painful and discourage you from breastfeeding.
When breastfeeding beginnings are difficult
Do not be afraid of breastfeeding, ask the hospital staff or a lactation specialist for help. After leaving the hospital, you can use the support of a breastfeeding clinic. Information about the clinics, phone number and address, should be available in every maternity ward. Remember that breastfeeding your baby is important and beneficial, but do not feel guilty if things do not go smoothly.
Successful breastfeeding highly depends on your attitude. Fear of failure, uncertainty and lack of self-confidence can make the beginning of effective breastfeeding difficult and even delay lactation. You can put this fear aside by choosing the breastfeeding clinic that could support you in case of any problems.
Tell your loved ones that you are going to breastfeed and ask for their support. Explain to them how important it is to you. Discuss with your partner the type of support you would like him to provide after birth and during lactation.
Choosing the hospital
Find out if the staff in the hospital where you plan to give birth is supportive towards breastfeeding. Learn your rights before labour and insist on respecting them during your stay in the hospital.
Consultation with a midwife
At admission to the hospital tell your midwife that you really want to breastfeed. You can ask her to arrange a meeting with a lactation consultant right after delivery, as this is usually the person supporting the breastfeeding mothers.
Preparing your breasts for breastfeeding
Your breasts change during pregnancy, the nipple and the areola enlarge and darken. The breasts are larger, you can see the veins under the skin and stretch marks can appear. Here are a few tips that will help you harden your breasts for breastfeeding:
Do not use any creams nourishing and moisturizing the nipple and areola during pregnancy. There is no need to do that. Montgomery's sebaceous glands located within the areola produce a substance nourishing and moisturizing the nipple, protecting it from irritation during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you experience breast skin dryness or notice stretch marks, use a cream, but avoid the areola and nipple area.
Do not wash your breasts with nipple drying soap and do not harden the nipple and areola by scrubbing with a sponge or rubbing with alcohol. Just sprinkle the breast with water while bathing. Rubbing the nipples does not prevents irritation and cracking (what is mainly a result of improper latch on), but it can lead to nipple injury.
What accessories should you purchase before delivery?
Breast pads protect your bra from getting soiled before and after delivery. They are especially recommended during high milk supply.
Nursing bra, preferably cotton and soft, as improperly suited underwire can constrict milk ducts.
Breast pump is very helpful in high milk supply or its deficit.
Wear properly suited bra. It should not pinch and flatten the breasts. If you are in the last months of pregnancy, and there are milk droplets coming from your breasts, start using breast pads.
Check if your nipples are well developed, being not flat or inverted. Squeeze the areola and see if the nipple does not flatten or retract. If yes, nipple correction is necessary, supervised by a lactation consultant.