Your precious baby is on the way and you are all set for your hospital visit! But there are still so many questions weighing on your mind with labour right around the corner. Is breastfeeding for me? Will baby latch correctly? Will I have enough milk?
Are some of these questions keeping you up at night? —if they are, then you are not alone. Breastfeeding may be one of the most wonderful and rewarding journeys with plenty of benefits for both mom and baby —but, not without its challenges. So, it isn’t a surprise that most first-time mothers struggle with feeding choices especially with their baby’s due date coming up fast. But, if breastfeeding is something you have opted for and are looking to establish it quickly and effectively post-partum, we are here to make that transition a little easier for you. Read on for a quick guide to help you kick start your breastfeeding journey!
Join an Antenatal Class
Antenatal classes offer a buffet of crucial information ranging from breastfeeding tips, new-born care as well as what to expect during labour and childbirth. These classes have gained popularity over the years and available slots fill up fast. If you are approaching your 24th week, it would be wise to ask your gynaecologist to recommend a good antenatal class for you to join. The class is an excellent opportunity for you to get answers to all the questions that are keeping you up at night.
Social media – (if you know where to look) can be an invaluable source of information. Spend some time researching a good and resourceful breastfeeding group and join it. The women in these groups share important tips on how to tackle breastfeeding, caring for new-borns and just about any other pregnancy and childbirth related questions you may have. We all huddle in times of need mommas so there is no shortage of help there!
Make Breast Massage during Pregnancy a habit
Massaging the breasts regularly is probably one of the most underutilised techniques in aiding breastfeeding. Why is breast massage so important? It helps to remove uncomfortable lumps and relieve discomfort from blocked milk ducts, thus reducing the incidence of mastitis. If done correctly, the massage itself gets the blood flowing and improves circulation ensuring that the milk ducts that are filling up, are not getting blocked in the process. Sign up for some good relaxing prenatal massage– there are plenty in the market, or simply google some quick simple tips on how you can do your own breast massage while you are pregnant. The idea is to make breast massage a regular habit so that this same habit carries on even after baby is born. As always, check with your gynaecologist before attempting any sort of massage. Overstimulating the nipple can stimulate labour in some women.
Invest in a Good Breast Pump
What makes a good breast pump? The answer to this depends on what you plan to use it for. For instance, if you are pumping occasionally then a manual pump would work just fine. But if you are looking to return to work especially while baby is under 6 months old, then a good electric pump would be more convenient and could save you a lot of time. A good electric pump helps to ensure that the breasts and milk ducts are properly and adequately drained to 1) stimulate the ‘let down’ reflex and get the milk flowing and 2) maintain a good flow by simulating a baby’s suction motion. Some babies are born expert latches and some need a little bit of help to get them going but for everyone, there is a learning curve. As your little baby becomes more adept at latching each day, a good breast pump helps to ensure proper stimulation of the breasts and maintain your milk supply.
So, if breastfeeding is in your birth plan, be sure to add a breast pump to your list. And if you are looking out for a competent pump to get you started, the Medela Swing Maxi Flex™ 2-Phase double electric breast pump is a good product to consider that is easy on the wallet too. For working moms heading back to work, the maxi’s compact & lightweight motor fits snugly into a tote bag without much fuss. Its easy-to-use vacuum controls lets you choose your most comfortable pump setting, double pumping delivers you more milk in less time. Rest assured, all of the Swing Maxi Flex™ parts that come into contact with breast milk are made BPA-free, so its certifiably safe for baby’s use.
Now you are all set to start your breastfeeding journey!