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Getting ready to welcome a new life earthside is a very exciting time. You’ll be busy with all sorts of preparations from buying new baby clothes and new furniture to writing up your birth plan or making that all-important list of who does what while you’re enjoying your babymoon. 

In amongst all of this, it’s worth spending some time preparing for what is often the most enjoyable part of new motherhood – breastfeeding. In this short guide, we offer up some breastfeeding tips to help you prepare for this wonderful part of your parenting experience.

Breastfeeding tipsBeautiful photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash 

 

Read, read and then read some more

The best preparation always starts with research. And when it comes to breastfeeding tips and information, you can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer amount on offer. To help you out, here are a few essential areas to cover in your research:

 

  • Breastmilk properties: just what is this liquid gold made of? What are foremilk and hindmilk? What happens to your breasts as they begin to produce milk?
  • Positioning: what’s the best position when you’re just starting out? Or if you’ve had a c-section?
  • Painful breastfeeding: why does breastfeeding hurt? And should you seek help if it does?
  • Busting the myths: should you stop breastfeeding when your baby is sick? Do bigger boobs really mean more milk?

 

Realise that for most people, breastfeeding does not come naturally

Contrary to popular belief, for the vast majority of women breastfeeding does not come naturally. Just like any important skill, you need to learn how to do it properly. It takes time, perseverance, tenacity and most importantly, practice.

 

Don’t feel bad if you or your baby don’t take to breastfeeding straight away. Banish the image of a mother magically attaching her child to her breast for the first time as angels flutter around her and a beautiful musical crescendo plays in the background. In reality, it is hard going and at the start it can be painful. But you will get there if you are committed to breastfeeding and persevere. In this case, practice really does make perfect and most of the time, it does get easier and faster!

 

Consider an ABA breastfeeding education class or support group

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a gold mine of information and support. They are often the first port of call for a struggling breastfeeding mummy and rightly so. Consider enrolling in one of their breastfeeding education classes run by trained experts in breastfeeding and pre-natal care to get you started on the right foot.

 

Another good idea is to connect with other breastfeeding mothers or those expecting a new baby just like you. Again, the ABA have support groups or you can contact your local council or child health and maternity centre for more information.

 

Note: try to find a group that shares your commitment to breastfeeding. It can be really horrible to suddenly find yourself in a room full of women telling you bottle feeding is best when you don’t believe that. It’s counter-productive to your journey and can only seek to erode your self-esteem and self-belief.

 

Get your partner on board

This may be the most important step in helping you establish and continue your breastfeeding journey. The first, and most vital, person you need to support you is your partner. They should share your commitment to breastfeeding and understand how important it is for your baby. If you’re not sure about how they feel, talk to them about the important role they can play. If you don’t have a partner, choose someone who is closest to you (perhaps your mum or a good friend) and explain how you’d love their support when you’re breastfeeding.

 

Safety while breastfeeding and keeping yourself well

There are only a few things you can’t do while breastfeeding. You probably know not to drink alcohol but what about taking cold medicine or antibiotics? Our post ‘Is it safe to do these things while breastfeeding?’ will help you out here.

 

The other thing you should know is how to nurture yourself for the best breastfeeding experience possible. Address the fundamentals (eating well, lots of water, exercise and rest) but go consider going deeper too.

 

Going beyond 12 months

Now we know you haven’t even had your baby yet, so trying to imagine them running around as a toddler might be a little hard! But breastfeeding doesn’t have to end at 12 months – in fact, there are multiple benefits for both you and baby by breastfeeding beyond this time. Check out our two posts – ‘The benefits of breastfeeding beyond 12 months’ and ‘How to breastfeed an older baby’ – for the lowdown.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our breastfeeding tips and they help you as you prepare for the amazing breastfeeding journey you are about to embark upon when your little one arrives.

 

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