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How To Prepare for Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Over the years, baby and parenting advice has changed quite a bit. For instance, a few decades ago, pregnant women were told that they should “toughen up” their nipples in order to prepare for breastfeeding. Not only was this not a helpful tip and made no difference once baby was born, but it also caused quite a few young moms some considerable pain.

Fast forward, and we now know much more about the process of breastfeeding and how to prepare for it. There are things you can do to get ready while you’re still pregnant, which will make things much easier once your little bundle of joy has arrived in the world.

Educate yourself

First and foremost, it’s important that expectant moms get as much information on breastfeeding as they can from reputable sources. Reading about the process, watching videos and even observing friends or family members during nursing can be incredibly helpful. The changes your body will undergo during milk production, the proper way to help baby latch, different breastfeeding positions you can use and how many times you can expect to feed each day are all good things to read up on.

In addition to doing your research and speaking with other nursing moms you know, BabyCenter noted that taking a breastfeeding class during your last trimester is definitely something you should consider. These classes are often hosted by local hospitals – check with the facility that you’ve chosen for birth to see what they might offer.

Close up of baby latched on to Mom, breastfeeding.
There are a few things expectant moms can do to prepare for breastfeeding before the baby comes.

Buy the necessary items

As an expectant mom, chances are good that you’ve seen all kinds of parenting gadgets to help you after baby is born. Unsurprisingly, there are a few items that can make breastfeeding much smoother and easier and help you bond with your little one during feeding time. Go on a little shopping trip, or order these things online ahead of time so you’ll be ready and familiar with everything you need before baby’s birth.

A few items to consider include:

  • Nursing bras: These comfortable support garments include little flap closures so you don’t have to remove clothing before feeding time. As BabyCenter noted, expectant moms should wait until the last few weeks of their pregnancy before shopping for nursing bras, as this is when your chest will be closest to its postpartum size. It might also be helpful to buy at least a size up – your breasts will grow during milk production and you don’t want an uncomfortable bra that’s too tight.
  • Breast pump: You’ll definitely want to have this device, even if you don’t plan on pumping regularly. It’s even possible to get a breast pump with the help of your insurance.
  • Breast pads: These helpful items ensure that a little leaking doesn’t ruin your day – or your favorite shirt. There are both disposable and washable/reusable varieties available.

Make sure you have support

Especially during the first few weeks after birth, much of a new mom’s day consists of breastfeeding, resting and bonding with baby. This leaves little time for necessary household chores, so it’s good to have a system set up beforehand – tapping friends and family for assistance can be a blessing during baby’s first few days and weeks.

As Today’s Parent contributor Teresa Pitman noted, the same goes for nursing help: Looking up available resources ahead of time will make things much less stressful should a problem come up. Edwina Hoffman, a new mom from the U.K. who had just moved to Canada found help with La Leche League, an organization with local groups all over the world.

Breastfeeding is an important time for mom and baby, and being prepared ahead of baby’s birth can make the process much easier. Check out our tips to learn even more about how you can get ready for breastfeeding your baby.

About the author

Witty Mom

The Witty Mom is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and mama. When not running around with her five-year old boy -- or preparing for the birth of his little brother -- she writes about parenting, natural beauty, wellness and green living for publications like Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, or collaborates on books like Josh Dorfman's The Lazy Environmentalist.

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