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How-To-Prepare-For-Breastfeeding-Success

How To Prepare For Breastfeeding Success

If you are planning to breastfeed, preparation is so important. In not so recent times, mothers used to be advised to scrub their nipples in the shower to ‘toughen them up’ for breastfeeding. Thankfully that kind of ‘preparation’ is no longer advised as it can damage your nipples as well as being torture when your nipples are already sensitive due to pregnancy hormones.

When your baby is latched properly, breastfeeding isn’t painful. Although breastfeeding is instinctual for babies - all mammals know where and how to get their food source to survive.

Irish breastfeeding rates are some of the lowest in the world, and it’s not because our breasts are different to those in e.g. Norway, where more than 95% of women breastfeed. Our problem in Ireland has a lot more to do with our brains, than our boobs – your mindset and expectations about breastfeeding.

So here’s a few factors to consider to help you prepare for a positive breastfeeding journey:

  • Babies are not born hungry – they’re born ‘skin hungry’. This is why skin-to-skin time with baby is so important after birth.

  • Your newborn baby’s tummy is about the size of a cherry: All it can take is about a teaspoon of colostrum on the first day or so.

  • Get along to a breastfeeding support group before your baby arrives (go tomorrow!) Go to La Leche League or Cuidiu website for more information.

  • Call Friends of Breastfeeding and organise a breastfeeding ‘buddy’ for around your EDD (Estimated Delivery Date) so you have informational support on hand immediately.

  • Take a breastfeeding class - with your partner. 

  • The 2nd night can be hard when your newborn wants lots of skin to skin, and seems to feed all the time - this is totally normal (he’ll do it around day 10 too, when your baby has a growth spurt.)

  • Hire a postnatal doula to come and look after you for a few hours the first week you are home, and to help you with breastfeeding.

  • Breastfeeding should not be painful (it may feel a bit strange at first.) If it is, ask for help early and often. Consider getting a Lactation Consultant for a visit the day you get home.

  • Watch lots of online videos on biological nurturing or ‘laid back breastfeeding’.

  • Stay in bed for the first week [where possible,] until you and baby get the hang of things; and restrict visitors. I know this is not easy with little ones at home, which is all the more reason to enlist the help of friends, family or a postnatal doula. 

  • If it’s painful - ask for help immediately

  • If it’s painful - ask for help immediately (seeing a theme?)

A couple of great books to read in pregnancy are Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Morbacher, Sweet Sleep by La Leche League, and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League.

Read Next: How To Get Started With Breastfeeding, and have a look at our Breastfeeding section. 


About the Author

I’m Tracy Donegan, registered midwife and mum to 2 gorgeous boys. I’ve been working in Irish maternity services since 2005 and really enjoy helping Irish families have the best experiences possible. You may be familiar with my books – The Irish Better Birth Book and The Irish Caesarean and VBAC Guide, as well as the very popular GentleBirth Positive Birth app.

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