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If you’re about to have a baby, you’re probably nervous about your first time breastfeeding. That’s completely normal! Lots of moms feel that way. You can alleviate some of that anxiety by making sure you’re properly prepared. Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for breastfeeding.
1. Accept that you won’t be a pro right away
Like anything else, breastfeeding is a learned skill. Don’t expect to be a master on day one. It will take some time for you and your little one to figure things out. You will spend some time uncomfortable until you find the right latch and right positions. You will, at some point, frantically Google a question or call your mom at 3 AM. You may even consult with a lactation consultant. All of these things are normal.
2. Take a breastfeeding class
These are more common than you think. If you register with your hospital before your baby is born, they often offer regular classes for new parents. These classes cover topics like basic baby care (diapering, holding, washing, etc.) and breastfeeding. They are typically run by a nurse/lactation consultant.
3. Practice your positions
A lot of moms don’t think positioning will be a big deal, but they find out soon enough that it definitely is. You won’t be able to hold your baby up through every nursing session (maybe veteran breastfeeders can, but you won’t be able to right away). Use a doll or folded pillow to simulate a baby and practice different positions in different places so this is one less thing you have to worry about on day one.
4. Don’t keep formula around
It’s tempting for a lot of moms to keep a jar of formula in the cabinet “just in case.” Don’t do this. During your first few days, you are going to be concerned that your baby isn’t receiving enough milk. That’s normal. Your body won’t be producing much, but your baby doesn’t need much either. If you get nervous and turn to formula, you’ll spoil your baby (bottle nipples are easy) and hinder your own milk production (because you won’t be stimulating your breasts enough).
5. Know how to work your pump
You may find it helpful to pump after your baby has finished feeding. This will drain your breasts and encourage your body to produce more milk faster. To do this, you need to know how to work and clean your pump.
6. Have someone around to help
During the first few days, it’s really important that you focus solely on breastfeeding. Don’t worry about the laundry or dinner or that client or your boss. You’ll be feeding every couple hours and likely more. Have someone around for the first week who can handle everything else while you and your baby learn.
7. Maintain a healthy diet
You don’t need to eat any special foods, but it’s important to keep a healthy diet. Remember: everything you eat will pass to your baby as well. In general, you only need about 300 more calories per day to provide everything your baby needs (those tummies don’t hold much!). Most importantly, drink plenty of water. I recommend downing an eight ounce glass every time you nurse to make sure you’re getting enough. This is the number one most effective thing you can do to promote milk production.
How did you prepare yourself for your first time breastfeeding?
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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