4 Best Ways To Prepare For Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
It may surprise you to hear that one of the best times to learn about breastfeeding, is actually while you are pregnant. The fact is, after the birth, your brain is swimming with powerful hormones that make concentration and learning new information very challenging (there is a good biological reason why new mums are like this, but more on that later.)
Most women experience some of this forgetfulness during pregnancy, the so-called 'pregnancy brain' but actually 'baby brain' is even more pronounced. Research scientists have labelled this phenomenon a 'temporary cognitive deficit', meaning that new mums find it hard to learn new information.
There is actually a lot to learn with breastfeeding; and once baby has arrived it is pretty much all systems go – you have your new baby in your arms, and you will want to be sure you are doing it right! That is a lot of pressure, and if you don’t know the basics, then breastfeeding can become overwhelming quite quickly; and in some cases, this is the time when mums start giving up breastfeeding (yes, in the first few days.)
So the smart money is on learning the breastfeeding basics while you are pregnant so you stack the odds of success in your favour.
Here are my 4 suggestions to help you learn all you need before baby arrives:
1. Take a Preparing for Breastfeeding Class
Between weeks 32 and 36 of your pregnancy, this is absolutely essential. Not all breastfeeding classes are created equal, so you want to ensure that the class you take provides you with all the info you need. Make sure that the class is taught by a Lactation Consultant; and that the class covers all the important information such as latching, feeding frequencies, normal feeding patterns, ensuring baby is getting enough, and what to do if you are having problems.
The class should include a practical component of practicing latching; and your partner should be welcome to attend the class (this is very important). You should also make sure you get written material to take into the hospital with you (to compensate for the baby brain!) The class I teach and offer in Cork, Dublin and Limerick does all of this and for information go to my website: breastfeedingconsultant.ie.
2. Talk to other women who have breastfed
Other breastfeeding mums will have a wealth of knowledge to impart. Seek out women who have had successful breastfeeding experiences; because they will be able to tell you what helped them. Be sure to ask them what breastfeeding was like for them in the first few weeks, and what worked/what didn’t.
3. Connect with breastfeeding support groups
There are some great breastfeeding support groups; and they will provide you with accurate breastfeeding information, as well as a network of other breastfeeding women. They have meetings but also some great facebook pages: Making the connection while you are still pregnant, will make it easier to do after the baby is born.
Here are some great ones!
4. Get A Good Book
It may seem a bit outdated to have a book when you have Google, but there is a lot of inaccurate information on the internet, so it is great to have a reliable resource written by the experts to hand.
Here are my two favourites:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Morbacher