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Preparing for Breastfeeding

Updated: Oct 23, 2023



Breastfeeding is a unique experience for you and your baby, as many mothers face challenges when they begin breastfeeding for the first time. The good news is that with time and practice, preparing for and planning this special journey will make things easier for both you and your baby. Preparing for breastfeeding before birth



Preparing for breastfeeding before birth:

The pregnant body prepares for breastfeeding without awareness. One reason for significant breast growth during pregnancy is the expansion of milk ducts and milk-producing cells, accompanied by increased blood flow to the breasts. Speaking to breastfeeding consultants, taking breastfeeding classes, reading books, talking to breastfeeding mothers, and learning everything about breastfeeding will make the process easier. The more you know about how to initiate breastfeeding and its benefits, the higher the likelihood of success.

Additionally, there are breastfeeding products you can purchase before birth to make the breastfeeding journey more comfortable and practical, such as special breastfeeding bras, nursing shirts, nursing pads, and breast pumps.

According to a study in Singapore in 1996 (1), mothers who received simple instructions before birth, including a short individual counseling session and educational materials, were twice as likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months after birth compared to mothers who did not receive formal instructions before birth.


Here are essential tips for preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy:

  • Breast Examination During Pregnancy:

    • Breast examination during pregnancy is essential to monitor any changes that may occur.

  • Learn Comfortable Positions for You and Your Baby:

    • Learning comfortable positions for breastfeeding improves the experience for both the mother and the baby. Choosing the right position reduces tension, increases comfort during breastfeeding, and ensures proper latch.

  • Make Use of the Golden Hour:

    • Utilizing the golden hour is uniquely important, not only for enhancing the emotional bond between the mother and the baby but also for playing a crucial role in strengthening the baby's immune system. Physical contact moments in the first hour after birth release oxytocin, which not only enhances the emotional bond but also contributes to improving the baby's health.

  • Follow a balanced diet program that meets your needs.

    • During pregnancy, mothers need additional calories and nutrients to meet their requirements, support fetal growth, and prepare for breastfeeding. It is advised to follow a balanced diet program while considering the mother's health.

  • Prepare special clothes for breastfeeding:

    • Using specialized breastfeeding clothes contributes to making the process easier and more convenient. These clothes should allow easy access and provide sufficient coverage, making the breastfeeding experience more comfortable and suitable.

    • You can also prepare a breastfeeding cover to enable feeding in public without any embarrassment.

  • Seek help from a breastfeeding consultant:

    • Getting support from a qualified breastfeeding consultant can be a wise decision. These consultants have the expertise to provide personalized advice and effective support for mothers, helping them overcome potential challenges and achieve greater success during the breastfeeding period.

For more information, you can schedule a consultation appointment here.

Education about breastfeeding after birth:

Babies may start searching for the breast shortly after birth, so you should initiate breastfeeding shortly after your baby is born. According to studies(2), mothers should encourage breastfeeding when the baby indicates hunger.

Hospitals, birthing centers, and healthcare professionals should promote early and exclusive breastfeeding. After birth, there are crucial points to discuss with mothers to ensure they receive proper education about breastfeeding:

Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth until the end of the first breastfeeding session has numerous benefits. It regulates the baby's body temperature, provides a sense of security, and, according to studies(3), increases the chances of exclusive breastfeeding.

Starting breastfeeding with the assistance of healthcare staff encourages mothers to continue breastfeeding with greater confidence.

Mothers can hold their babies in positions that are comfortable for them during breastfeeding.

There is no single correct position for the infant or the mother. The best position is the one that is comfortable for the mother and encourages the baby to breastfeed correctly. In any position the mother uses, the baby should not have to move its head to breastfeed, so the baby's nose should be in line with the mother's nipple in all positions.

Avoid giving your baby pacifiers, sugar-sweetened water, or formula unless medically necessary.

Allow your baby to spend the entire day and night in your hospital room so that you can practice regular breastfeeding.

Breast Bras and Their Impact on Milk Flow:

Breast bras play a vital role in supporting the breasts during breastfeeding. They are worn to provide necessary support and reduce pressure on the soft tissues. Proper use of breast bras helps maintain breast shape and reduces tissue stretch, contributing to milk production and the mother's comfort.

Use of Breast Pumps:

Breast pumps are an essential tool for mothers who need to store or provide milk regularly. They stimulate milk production and provide a solution for mothers facing challenges with breastfeeding. Using them correctly ensures the effectiveness of the process and the mother's comfort.

To learn all the basics of pumping and storing milk, you can reserve your seat now in the workshop: Breast Milk Pumping and Storage Guide.

Sterilizing Tools

Sterilizing the tools used in the breastfeeding process plays a crucial role in the baby's health and preventing infections. It is recommended to clean and sterilize bottles and pumps regularly using special sanitizing agents. This reduces the transfer of germs and ensures a clean environment for breastfeeding.

When Do I Feel at Risk?

Mothers should be cautious and attentive to signs of danger during the breastfeeding period. If there are any noticeable changes in the mother's or baby's health, such as a decrease in milk production or the appearance of illness symptoms, the mother should consult a doctor immediately for an assessment and necessary support.

For more information, you can schedule a consultation appointment here


Breastfeeding at Home and the Role of Family Members

Breastfeeding your baby is a collective effort and may take time, practice, patience, and teamwork. Therefore, your family, especially your partner, plays a crucial role in supporting you in achieving your breastfeeding goals. Discuss with your partner and other family members how they can assist you in breastfeeding, whether they are capable of:

  • Helping you at home.

  • Assisting you in finding the most comfortable position during breastfeeding.

  • Being good listeners when it's time to talk.

  • Sharing responsibilities by taking care of the baby (diaper changes, cuddling, showing some love).

  • Preparing a nutritious and gas-free meal for the baby.

  • Expressing appreciation, love, and kindness during the breastfeeding journey.

  • Allowing some time for rest and sleep.


Educational Home Visit after 3 Days of Birth

Most breastfeeding mothers need support after returning home, and follow-up allows mothers to have more time to seek support and gain the knowledge they need.

According to a study conducted in Aydın, Turkey (4), education/support related to breastfeeding provided during the home visit on the third day after birth was associated with a significant increase in the percentage of infants exclusively breastfeeding at both two weeks and six weeks and at six months. It was also accompanied by a morale increase in exclusive breastfeeding and the overall duration of breastfeeding. Additionally, an increase in breastfeeding knowledge was observed in the intervention group after two weeks and six weeks compared to the control group.

The results showed that education about breastfeeding provided at home on the third day after birth was effective in increasing the duration of breastfeeding and breastfeeding knowledge.

For more information, you can schedule a consultation appointment here.


When Should I Consult the Doctor?

Mothers should consult the doctor in several cases, such as experiencing severe pain during breastfeeding or having signs of inflammation in the breasts. If the baby shows signs of not breastfeeding well or if there are any noticeable changes in overall health, such as an elevated temperature, visiting the doctor immediately is necessary for an accurate assessment and necessary care.


How Do I Know My Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk?

Mothers can determine if their baby is getting enough breast milk by monitoring several signs, such as appropriate weight gain, sufficient urination and bowel movements according to age, and the baby relaxing or sleeping after breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should be pain-free, and there should be signs of good breastfeeding, confirming that the baby's needs are being met.


Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

To ensure the success of breastfeeding, mothers should follow some important tips. This includes providing a quiet and comfortable environment for breastfeeding, responding to the baby's hunger cues in a timely manner, and ensuring the correct breastfeeding position. Good nutrition for the mother and maintaining a healthy routine also contribute to promoting successful breastfeeding.


Medications Harmful to Breastfeeding

Mothers should be cautious about taking medications during the breastfeeding period, as some drugs can affect the quality of milk or transfer to the baby through breastfeeding. It is advisable to consult with the doctor and a breastfeeding consultant before taking any medication to ensure its safety for breastfeeding and its impact on the baby.

Mothers should adhere to these tips to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment for breastfeeding. In case of doubt or necessity, they should consult the doctor for advice and necessary support.

For more information, you can schedule a consultation appointment here.

References:

  1. Matter, Mary How-Jing FRCOG, M. et. Al. (2007) Simple Antenatal Preparation to Improve Breastfeeding Practice, Obstetrics & Gynecology.

  2. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/breastfeeding-when-to-start

  3. Lea selim, (2018) Breastfeeding from the first hour of birth: What works and what hurts.

  4. Hilmiye Aksu, Mert Kucuk (2010) The effect of postnatal breastfeeding education/support offered at home 3 days after delivery on breastfeeding duration and knowledge: a randomized trial, National Center for Biotechnology information

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