Breastfeeding can be rewarding, but also challenging. So it's helpful to prepare ahead of time so that you can be as prepared as possible. Here are five ways to prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant, in no particular order.
1. Talk to your friends who have nursed.
Select some women in your inner circle whose opinions you value, and ask them about breastfeeding. Ask about what gear to buy, and what tricks to try. While breastfeeding is different for everyone, it's nice to create a support group of women who have been there, who can encourage you.
2. Invest in the gear.
After you've talked to the ladies you trust, invest in some breastfeeding essentials. Get a high-quality nursing bra (and nursing friendly tops), nursing pads (these disposable ones
are my fave), nipple cream and a good pump. Poll your friends to see what they thought was essential and what they thought was superfluous. (You can always do the opposite if you need to.)
3. Consult your local La Leche League chapter.
If you're unsure of where to get the support you need, get in touch with your local chapter of the La Leche League
. This group can help point you in the direction of a lactation specialist, and also provide you with information and resources regarding breastfeeding.
4. Read up.
Check in with your nursing support group to see if they recommend any specific books about breastfeeding. Reading up on the topic will help educate and empower you. Here's a great list
of breastfeeding books for you to consult.
5. Know your body.
Sometimes physical or medical factors might create breastfeeding challenges, so discuss anything you think is pertinent with your doctor or midwife. If you've had breast augmentation/reduction surgery, hormonal imbalances, PCOS, thyroid issues or diabetes, you should definitely consult an expert and develop a plan in case breastfeeding becomes difficult.
Mamas who have breastfed: what tips would you add to our list?