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BreastFeeding Preparation

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#1 Barosc

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:39 PM


I am new to this forum and am currently 33 weeks pregnant. I just wanted to know if there was any boob/nipple preparation I can do to help me breast feed?

#2 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:49 PM

Hi.. I was told not to bother with any preparation. the only advice I can offer is once you are breastfeding, if any issues develop act on them quickly. If you have nipple problems (sore, split etc) nipple shields saved me. for anything more serious - lumps and the like get to a GP, lactation consultant quick. Hope you have a great breastfeeding experience - one of the best things I have ever done (and I was only half sold on the idea while pregnant).

#3 Mung bean

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:56 PM

The best things I can recommend.

1) ABA subscription, having the support of women who are feeding too is a huge help.
2) a good pump like a medela swing.
3) Support and self belief, doubting yourself and your milk can make you wonder, should I just bottle feed? Anyway, nothing wrong with that, I bottle feed my DS after 9 weeks due to health issues but support, education and perseverance defiantly!

#4 deejie

Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

I don't think there is much you can do in actual physical "preparation" as such. I personally think one of the keys to successful breastfeeding is to educate yourself. Join the Australian Breastfeeding Association and attend some of their antenatal education classes. You will not only learn the mechanics of feeding, but also understand the wide spectrum of normal infant feeding behaviour, something that I think is truly invaluable in having the confidence in your body to breastfeed.

If you have any problems, get on to them quickly. Research your options before you give birth-- the ABA free helpline, local breastfeeding clinics, hospital breastfeeding clinics, private lactation consultants.

You will most likely have access to a local ABA group as well who hold meetings weekly/fortnightly depending on the area. They are run by volunteers and are full of local breastfeeding women who will be a wealth of emotional support for you if you need it-- well worth investigating! I have made some lovely friendships through my local ABA group.

#5 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

As someone who is getting ready to BF for a second baby next year, this time I'm going to go to ABA classes/ group in my last few weeks. That's the only thing I didn't try last time that might have made a difference to how long I could BF.

#6 WinterIsComing

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

Get the best breastfeeding pillow you can afford. A life saver.

#7 Libertine

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

Breast feeding is a wonderful, beautiful thing BUT it can be hard to get started. This is my experience and anecdotally seems to be the same for many first time mums.

There is nothing you can really do to prepare except get yourself informed. Read up on correct attachment etc. The ABA has some great info and I've had some great advice on here too.

The main thing I think you need to concentrate on in the early days is attachment, attachment, attachment! It shouldn't hurt, if it hurts take the baby off and try again. You may have to do this A LOT to start with. The baby is learning too. Don't 'accept'  a little bit of pain through relief at getting them feeding - pain can mean you are being damaged.

Expect a bit of damage. Get some lansinoh, nipple shields (for emergency) and I found the hydrogel breast discs to be lifesavers!

Feed on demand. This helps establish your supply and minimizes enforcement issues. Prepare to feed A LOT in the first few weeks.

Best of Luck OP - breastfeeding is one if those things that can be harder than you thought at the start but very rewarding if you can stick with it!

#8 Libertine

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:09 PM

QUOTE (WinterIsComing @ 13/12/2012, 03:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Get the best breastfeeding pillow you can afford. A life saver.

I disagree! I tried a breastfeeding pillow with DD1 and found it awkward and uncomfortable. Didn't bother with DD2.

I don't think it's an essential....

#9 Mrs Bunny

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

I went to an ABA class before I had my baby and I didn't feel that it helped one jot. What I found was helpful was having a brilliant Lactation Consultant at the beginning (mine happened to be on night shift my first night in hospital) and using nipple shields to get you through the tough times in the first couple of weeks. Buy a set ahead of labour. Buy a microwave steriliser (my first pair got melted in the pot when I sterilised and forgot them blush.gif ). Nothing much can prepare you for the real thing that is breast feeding - I don't mean that in a negative way, it's just like labour - you can't describe it. It's not scary or terrible, just its own experience.

Good luck!

#10 Caseymay

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

I wasn't a fan of breastfeeding pillows either so maybe wait until bub is here to decide if you need one or not?

Get an ABA subscription and go to a breastfeeding class
Have some Lansinoh cream on hand

Don't scrub your nipples with a nail brush to harden them up or sun bake. Both of these were recommended to me and now I know that hard nipples will crack and what you really want is nice supple skin. Lansinoh after each feed will help with this. You could probably use it beforehand too.

#11 MintyBiscuit

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

No physical preparation is required as PPs have mentioned. If I had my time again I would join the ABA, and if I have a second bub I will do so, as I found I was the only person I knew breastfeeding. I'm still breastfeeding DS at almost 14 months and the only other person I know BFing has a seven week old. I would've really like the support at various points, and as invaluable as EB has been for me at times, being able to talk to people about the various experiences would have helped.

Something that really helped me in those early days was reminding myself that both DS and I were learning - yes, it's natural, but that doesn't mean it's not a learned skill. I know of a lot of people who just expected to know what to do, and when things didn't go smoothly within a day or two they thought they'd failed and stopped BFing.

A PP mentioned that it shouldn't hurt, and as far as nipples go that's right - if the latch is correct, it shouldn't hurt. But for me, and a lot of other people I've read, letdown hurt like hell for a few weeks. Like, toe curling pain. It settled for me around 5/6 weeks, but until then it was really tough. Feeding also encourages your uterus to contract in the early days, so you'll get some cramping pains while you're feeding.

Have you asked at the hospital you're booked into what they offer in the way of BF support? I was very fortunate that my hospital had two lactation consultants on staff and ran breastfeeding classes for new mums, so there was a lot of support there, and when I ran into problems there were people there to help.

#12 Tall Poppy

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

I agree with PP who mentioned the ABA subscription & finding out about 'normal' newborn behavior. Most people don't know & think there's a problem when in fact all is going as it should.

Ive a dodgy neck & back and I'm very tall so I found a feeding pillow essential to bring the baby up to the right level rather than me needing to hunch over.

#13 axiomae

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

Research, read, educate yourself. I wish I had done that with DD. Also, feed on demand. I ended up with supply issues because I thought the DD couldn't possibly be hungry only an hour after feeding so I would try settle her in other ways. In those early days, if the baby is fussy, pop them on the boob! Will help your supply and be great bonding original.gif

#14 WaitForIt

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:49 PM

If you can't get into an aba class, your hospital might run one, but either way do try and get to a class.

When in the hospital, ask the midwives what they think of your latch, and get them to show you how to feed lying down as well as other holds.

If you feel any pain, tell the midwives, ask if there is an LC available, or a bf clinic. If not, bring it up with the mchn when you get home.

I think the most important thing to do is nip all problems in the bud. If it hurts a little, it will hurt a lot in a couple of days.

#15 Leafprincess

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

I'm a fan of the breast feeding pillow.

A good friend lent me hers and its been a life saver, as Sabre has mild reflux.

I wear the pillow on the side allowing for a slightly raised angle for baby to feed from.
It prevents him from throwing up.

I would invest in some good nursing bras and get fitted AFTER your milk has come in.
I went up another cup size  ohmy.gif after my milk came in.

Mentally, be prepared that sometimes your milk will take a few days to come in (this happened to me as baby was an emergency c-section and born pre-term), be patient and kind to yourself during this time. Express after each feeding and don't be afraid to comp feed until your supply gets going. Nothing worse than a screaming hungry baby.

Good luck and all the best with the rest of your pregnancy and birth of your baby.

#16 ez21

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:05 PM

Hi OP!

I did not apply or do anything to my nipples prior to the birth of my children.

The best preparation for your nipples is to learn as much about breast feeding as possible.  Learning about correct latch and also the mechanics of breastfeeding (how milk is produced, how your baby removes milk from the breast and also how your baby regulates your supply) would be really beneficial.  Arming yourself with this info should reduce the risk of nipple damage and also give you the tools to problem solve.  The ABA is a great source of information, there is a free booklet provided on their website and also in the new mother bags - this will give you a good base to start from. If you can join a local ABA group that would be really great.  Also, most hospital parenting classes include a section on breastfeeding but sometimes these are not always very good (they can sometimes spend all the time convincing parents that breast is best without providing the practical information).

In the first couple of weeks after birth, I applied nipple cream (Lansinoh) before and after every feed.  Nurses told me that the only thing you need to put on your nipples is a bit of breastmilk after a feed and let them air dry however, this was not enough for me.  I just think about it as a dry nipple is more likely to crack and keeping them moisturised is important.  That being said, you need to allow nipples to dry properly before applying the cream, otherwise your nipples stay too moist and you could get nipple thrush.

If things go wrong and you have nipple damage and pain, seek help straight away either from a Lactation Consultant, Early Childhood Nurse, or the ABA on the free call number.

Sorry, I think I have just repeated everything PPs have said!  Best wishes for your breast feeding journey!

#17 longluncher

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

Be prepared to be super teary/emotional as your milk comes in!!

I'm another supporter of massaging your nipple with milk after each feed.. If had no issues so far!

Best of luck with your delivery original.gif

#18 spear_maiden

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:35 PM

I read a great little book whilst preg with DS called "Breastfeeding with Confidence".  If you look back thru my posts, you'll see how much I recommend it lol.  Easy to read, practical tips, short but helpful information contained.  
The only physical prep I did when preg was practice how to hand express and understand how to massage a blocked duct.  In the end, these were invaluable for me as I ended up needing to hand express many times in the first few days due to early bub, and I did develop a blocked duct which I took care of easily.  
I did a fair bit of mental prep to normalise bfing in my mind as I hadn't really known anyone who BF'd, and I was unsure how I'd go.  Really glad that I did, and it was interesting to learn about how it all works.
One thing that has stuck in my mind is to not wash your nipples with soap in the first few months of Bfing to assist with avoiding cracked nipples (due to soap being drying).  Not sure if it's even true laughing2.gif but I followed it and never had a cracked nipple.
Like PPs said, a good Lactation Consultant and getting onto the ABA website for a read plus grab their hotline number and stick in on the fridge in case it's 3am, bub is 6 wks old, you're dog-tired and just can't get it to work.  It's nice to have someone to talk to in that moment.  And if you don't ever need it -awesome.


#19 RogzCilla

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

There isn't much preparation that you can do beforehand... well none that I did. I just went in knowing I wanted to at least attempt to BF, persevered through the tough times with support, cherished the good times and eventually laughed at our mishaps (obviously after the tears!). AND I still BF my 19 MO!

A friend of mine was told at her antenatal classes this year that breast massage in the shower after 37 weeks is good for colostrum/milk stimulation. I'm not sure about this one but I am a big believer in breast massage to prevent mastitis once you start BF.

A big lesson I learnt in hospital too was NOT to have a hot shower to ease the ache in your breasts when your milk comes in!

Go with the flow - the more stressed you are about BF the harder it will be (but this is easier said than done).

I too like the pillow (any old pillow will do) but I LOVED my foot stool more to prevent my back from aching!

Listen to advice but always do only what you are comfortable with. And please do not beat yourself up if BF doesn't work for your situation or you cant BF for as long as you want to for whatever reason. Formula fed babies are just as healthy as BF babies at the end of day.

Good luck!  biggrin.gif

#20 cuddlebud

Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:44 PM

For me, I wish I'd been more mentally prepared. I never realized that I would be feeding every 2-3 hours for an hour each feed, luckily the Olympics were on - so maybe download a tv series.

Highly recommend joining the aba and going to a class. Also found a breastfeeding station (comfy chair, bottle of water, bibs and burp cloths) within easy reach. I found a pillow invaluable, wish I'd got one sooner rather than at 12 weeks because my wrists were aching.

Hassle the midwives on hospital to check your feed and attachment every feed - just be prepared for a flood of advice, but I picked up little nuggets of wisdom from most.

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help if it doesn't feel right, seeing a lactation consultant that several eb members recommended was the best money I've spent. Also setting myself little goals helped, eg 6 weeks, then 12 weeks now I feel like I could keep going as long as bubs wants.

#21 Born Slippy

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:00 PM

I think mental preparation is really important.

My one piece of advice is that you will often hear, that if BF is working well (baby latching correctly and milk is flowing) that it shouldn't hurt. While this is true, I found it felt uncomfortable, sometimes unpleasant and just strange in the beginning as your body adjusts, so perhaps keep that in mind and don't be disheartened, as it soon becomes second nature original.gif

Also, breast pads. I bought a few different types and quickly learned which ones I preferred. Some made me terribly itchy and smelt horrible after a short time. I was needing to wear breast pads until DD was 9/10 months, so it was important I liked them!

Also, if circumstances permit - I strongly encourage you to allow your baby to breast crawl.

#22 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

Bfg is so wonderful but can be very challenging. It is an acquired skill for both mum and bub. Ask for help whenever you need help.

I find bfg pillow essential for me...love the my brestfriend one...u can always buy a second hand one.

Get lansinoh for sore nippes and prepare nippe shields suitable for your nipple size just in case.

Good to get a good double pump but you can always hire fom hosp and then if needed buy one.

I faced supply issues so got ob to prescribe motilium from day 1 and standby fenugreek/blessed thistle during pregnancy.

Read up as much as you can abt bfg. You tube has good videos too.

#23 livvie7586

Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

OP, the only thing i would say that no one else has is try and get those around you (partner, parents, IL's) on board as much as possible.  it's easy enough to say that there are all these things that mum can do/read/learn, but if the people around you don't support your choice it makes it so much harder.

I've seen friends who have been fine breastfeeding, and from the pressure they got from surrounding family to give the 'odd' bottle has lead them to formula feed.

#24 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

Another thing you can do by way of preparation is to make sure you have a nice comfy spot to sit in at home in the daytime/evening as you will probably wind up doing a lot of feeding for the first few months until you fall into a routine and the feeds start spacing out.  

If your bub is anything like mine you will wind up with him sleeping on you too.

They can do this crazy cluster feeding in the evening (my son did 4 - 9) where they just snack, doze and fuss and you wind up stuck there for ages.

You will want a view of the TV, a fan/aircon, some back support like a cushion, (possibly) a footstool, and a tray where you can keep a jug of water, snacks, the remotes, your iPad and phone etc, paper and pen, and put your dinner on if you need to eat one-handed.

Nothing worse than getting all settled and attached and then desperately wanting something or having the phone ring.

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