Pregnant? Top tips to prepare for your breastfeeding journey.

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breastfeeding journey
 

Breast Milk is the gold standard nutrition for your child. The right time to prepare for breastfeeding your baby is while you are pregnant. Let’s quickly run you through all the physical changes you need to prepare for, foods you needs to consume, what you need to expect as you feed and what you need to buy before feeding your baby.

The physical changes you need to prepare for:

  1. You need to prepare for the increase in size of your breasts, which occurs due to the development of milk ducts and milk producing cells during this phase. During the final trimester, you can buy a few supportive nursing bras that would make you feel comfortable.
  2. Right during your pregnancy, examine your nipples and check if your nipples are flat or inverted. In both cases you can feed the baby normally if you learn how to latch the baby well. A flattened nipple might not protrude like usual but you can still feed your baby During the third trimester, request your gynaecologist to examine your breasts to check for flat/inverted nipples. You can also get the advice of a lactation consultant to stay prepared.

Foods to consume and refrain from:

  1. A pregnant mom is expected to eat a well balanced diet. Calorie wise, a feeding mother would need an extra of 500 calories to be able to produce milk.
  2. 70% of breast milk is water. Hence it is important to drink a lot of water to be able to lactate well.
  3. The best foods that increases milk supply are fish, milk ,oatmeal, garlic, fenugreek, spinach and green leafy vegetables such as moringa leaves.
  4. Importantly, mother’s milk is a rich source of an essential nutrient called Omega-3 DHA, that helps in the development of brain and vision of a baby. Sometimes nursing mothers can be deficient of this nutrient, due to their dietary habits, gut health, longstanding feeding of elder children etc. So, it is best to check the level of Omega-3 DHA in the pregnant mother’s blood.If there is a deficiency, the diet can be moderated to include foods rich in this nutrient.
  5. The foods a feeding mother should refrain from are caffeine, chocolates, mangoes, jackfruit. Foods with preservatives and colouring are also a strict no. Foods not cooked at home and spicy pickled food can also cause discomfort to the baby. So a mother’s nutrition should comprise of simple, nutritious home cooked food, if she intends to feed her baby with sufficient nutrition rich breast milk.

What to expect as you feed:

  1. If you have undergone a C-section, you may not be able to feed the baby immediately after birth, as it would take a couple of days for the supply to get established. Do not give up. With intake of nutritious food post the surgery, the supply gets established and you can slowly begin to feed your baby. A bit of patience is required, as you establish a right feeding pattern for your baby after a C-section.
  2. Breastfeeding is an art that is learned over time. Whether normal or C-section delivery, breastfeeding a baby can be very demanding for the mother, due to odd hours of feed, challenges such as sore nipples, dip in supply, oversupply and so on. As a mother, first you need to understand that your intention of feeding your baby is one of the noblest moves in life. So, though the journey is rough, it is worth every small effort that you take as it can confer lifetime health benefits in your baby. Make a list of lactation specialists in your city. Follow them on social networks and make the best use of the online resources such as videos or blogs that they may have published.
  3. Just as you would be new to the experience of breastfeeding, so would be your little one. Some babies are born suckers. However, some babies need some help to achieve the perfect latch. Until the perfect nipple latch is achieved, you may experience some difficulties such as sore, bleeding nipples. Accessories such as nipple shields, lanolin creams can help you.
  4. To cope with the excess pressure, a nursing mother would need tremendous support and encouragement from her family. Don’t go by the whims and fancies of ill-informed relatives asking you not to feed your baby or to start your baby on formula, as they did so with their babies. Breastfeeding creates a unique bond between a mom and baby and has host of other benefits. It therefore becomes important for you to persevere to make this journey successful.

Breastfeeding Accessories To Buy
Now let’s get to the list of things that you need to buy before you start to nurse your baby.

  1. As we mentioned earlier, buy good quality nursing bras. These bras provide extra support and comfort. They come with easy to undo flaps that can make your feeding experience much comfortable. Make sure you buy your nursing bra close to your due date, as the size of your breast keeps growing as you gain weight during pregnancy.
  2. A good, stylish nursing stole and nursing pillow is also a good investment, as this can make your feeding sessions convenient
  3. Loose-fitting nighties, camisole or a nursing top is also a good choice to buy, as these nursing wear are customized to be feeding-friendly with flaps and provide enough support to your breast.Must buy things for every nursing mother are breast pads and breast pumps. These are very essential especially for working mothers. Mothers can do away with the dribbling of excess of milk by placing a pad within their bras. Excess milk can be expressed using a breast pump when the mother is expected to travel or when she is off to work. The expressed milk can be stored in a refrigerator to feed the baby when the mother is out. Breast pump is a magical tool for mothers as this also prevents engorgement.
  4. To get relief from sore nipples, purchasing nipple shields, pure lanolin creams and hot and cold packs can come handy to soothe the pain.

Making such exclusive preparations can make your experience of feeding your baby tad easier. Do remember that it takes a lot of patience and determination to be successful in the journey of breastfeeding.

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