How to Prepare For Breastfeeding
Every mother wants to know what items they need to buy in preparation for the arrival of their newborn baby, and breastfeeding requirements should be included in this list! With so many items for sale on the market and never having any previous experience, where does an expectant mum start? These are some of the
Every mother wants to know what items they need to buy in preparation for the arrival of their newborn baby, and breastfeeding requirements should be included in this list!
With so many items for sale on the market and never having any previous experience, where does an expectant mum start? These are some of the areas that need to be considered: –
1) A BREASTFEEDING VIDEO, DVD, OR BOOK. This should provide adequate educational advice and information to make a pregnant mother feel equipped to breastfeed. It should be comprehensive and include all aspects of lactation, benefits of breastfeeding, risks of not breastfeeding, breastfeeding techniques such as correct positioning, latch on, suckling reflex, and let-down technique. Explanations about how long to feed, how often, having enough milk, fore milk and hind milk, pumping, storage of breast milk,returning to work, breastfeeding multiples, special needs, and premature babies, and safe medications. There are a wide range of these on the market and they all vary in the length, depth of teaching and content, so look for one that meets your requirements. They can be found on the internet.
2) SEVERAL GOOD BREASTFEEDING BRAS. These can be purchased at a good mother and baby store or online. Make sure you are measured and have the correct size. It is important to put the bra on and then lay down to adjust the straps. This gives the correct ‘lift’ to the breasts and helps to prevent engorgement. If the breasts are allowed to sag, gravity takes its course and the breast milk does not distribute evenly. The milk tends to collect underneath and causes pain and engorgement which could in turn lead to mastitis.
3) BREASTFEEDING COVER (also called Nursing cover). These provide freedom to feed in privacy outside the home without the worry of having to find somewhere discreet to breastfeed. They simply hook over the mother’s head and cover her front completely. A curved wired border at the top, provides space for the baby to feed easily and gives eye-to-eye contact between mother and baby. They come in a wide choice of attractive designs and can be purchased online. Failing this a shawl or pashmino scarf could be draped over the baby and mother’s shoulder to provide privacy.
4) BREAST PADS. These provide protection from any leakage on your clothes. They are available as disposable pads or washable/re-usable pads. They can be purchased at a pharmacy, supermarket or online.
5) NIPPLE SHIELD. These are useful when the mother has sore, sensitive, or cracked nipples, to allow the nipples time to heal. They are shaped like a teat, and are made of ultra-thin flexible silicone. They are positioned over the nipple for baby to suck on. Make a note of a shop that stocks these in case you need to purchase a pack at short notice!
6) BREAST SHELLS. These are helpful if you have flat or inverted nipples. They are worn in the bra before and after birth to help nipples become more erect and prominent. This prepares the nipples and makes it easier for the baby to latch on. They can also serve to collect any excess leakage of breast milk.
7) THERMAL GEL BREAST PACKS. These are useful for 2 purposes. If they are used as a cold pack, they can relieve painful breasts such as in mastitis. If they are warmed, they help with blocked milk ducts and engorged breasts by improving the flow of milk and congestion. If they are difficult to obtain, a cold or warm flannel can be applied to the breast to offer some relief, but the temperature will obviously change a lot quicker.
8) BREAST PUMP. This is a useful aid if you wish to express milk. If you plan to return to work or need your baby to be bottle fed breast milk in your absence. It is recommended that this is preferably commenced after the baby is 6 weeks old to allow your milk supply to be well established. There are manual or electric pumps on the market at various prices to suit most budgets. Alternatively you can learn to express by hand.
9) NIPPLE CREAM. This keeps the nipples supple and helps the healing process when they are sore or cracked. Special creams are now on the market that are not harmful to the baby.
10) BREASTFEEDING PILLOW. There are many of these on the market that either strap around the mother or rest on her lap. It is crucial that the breastfeeding mother has good posture and she needs to sit in a comfortable low chair, or in bed with her back well supported by pillows. A comfortable pillow positioned on her lap for the baby to lie on , bridges the gap between lap and breast to stop her ‘hunching up’ and getting backache. In my opinion an ordinary pillow is adequate, so this does not need to be prioritised. It is essential to be relaxed and comfortable when breastfeeding.
By Rosemary Buchan