Doing the research and preparing your mind and body is a great way to help you get ready for your breastfeeding journey. Since every mom’s experience is different, it sure is helpful to learn from each unique experience before deciding what to try and discovering which works best for you and your baby. While waiting for your baby’s arrival, you can start familiarizing yourself with the process of milk production, what to expect when you start nursing, and what to do in case you encounter common difficulties. Nursing is not always going to be easy, so do remember to be patient with yourself as you begin this new chapter in your life. To help you in your preparations during pregnancy, we gathered five simple steps you can do now to make the journey a little smoother later. We also talked to Dr. Marie Cruz-Javier, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, to give you a few expert tips. Keep reading to know more!
1. Learn as Much as You Can about Breastfeeding
It would be great to arm yourself with the basic information about breastfeeding. Understand the milk production process of supply and demand, where the more you express milk, the more your body will produce. You can also start researching about different latching positions you can try. Apart from doing your homework, it’s also important to consult your doctor or a lactation expert about the essentials of breastfeeding, including how to properly care for your nipples and other health concerns you may have. “See if your hospital has a lactation consultant to help new moms learn about breastfeeding. Many hospitals offer this service for free,” says Dr. Cruz-Javier.
2. Invest in Breastfeeding Supplies
Start shopping for breastfeeding supplies like nipple cream, in case you experience sore nipples, breast pads, which are handy to avoid leaking through your clothes, and tops or comfy shirts that will make feeding more accessible for you. You can also stock up on Natalac, a clinically-proven effective lactation enhancer containing young malunggay leaves, for maximum milk production. If you are planning to use a breast pump, scan reviews for manual and electric pumps to help you choose the best fit, and make sure to also purchase storage bags to safely store your breast milk. “Intake of supplements for breastfeeding made from malunggay leaves is also beneficial even before delivery,” shares Dr. Cruz-Javier.
3. Prepare Your Space
To help make you and your baby more comfortable, you can set up an area in your nursery or bedroom as the designated breastfeeding space. It can simply be a corner with a chair and pillows where you’ll be able to sit for an hour or more. You can add a small side table for water and snacks while feeding, since it’s also important to keep yourself hydrated and nourished! Gather everything you need in this common area to help you stay comfortable and relaxed.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A well-balanced and nutritious diet is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. This means including leafy green vegetables and an assortment of fruits in your meals as well as avoiding processed fat and added sugar. You will need to increase your calorie intake when you’re pregnant so that you and your baby will receive enough nutrients, but this doesn’t necessarily mean eating two portions of your regular food intake. Contrary to popular belief, eating for two while pregnant is not recommended by most doctors! “Hydration is important especially for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.” adds Dr. Cruz-Javier.
5. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Even before your baby arrives, it would be good to manage your expectations because it’s true that breastfeeding can be quite a challenge. Latching and feeding schedules might not run smoothly the first couple of days and weeks, but with time and practice, you and your baby will fall into your own rhythm! Celebrate the small wins and be patient with yourself as you settle into your new role and routine. “Having mental preparation is the most important thing for successful breastfeeding. Lessen stressors as much as possible. Ask for help from your family whenever you need it. You can also practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing,” says Dr. Cruz-Javier.
If you’re looking for more resources, you can browse the Breastfeeding articles on our website. Make sure to always consult your doctor first before making any changes to your lifestyle. It’s definitely okay to ask for help when you need it and to express your many questions and concerns beforehand. Don’t forget that you also have your hubby and family there to support you and give you the love and encouragement you need. You’ve got this, Mom!
Gates, Marcella. Preparing to Breastfeed. 7 October 2020.
Gates, Marcella. Breastfeeding: Getting Started. 28 October 2020.
Kuczynskl, Sheryl. 5 Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding While Pregnant. 24 April 2018.
Lyford, Eva. Information is your ally in preparing to breastfeed. 17 February 2018.