Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, so a little prepping can go a long way.
You’ve been waiting almost nine months, and thankfully, you’re almost at the finish line. You’ve prepped the nursery, stocked up on diapers and are now ready for your baby to make his or her debut.
As a mom-to-be, especially a new mom wanting to breastfeed, you can do certain things to make it go just a little smoother. Years ago, your obstetrician might have suggested to “toughen up” your nipples in preparation. However, this grin-and-bear-it approach usually only caused excessive chafing, not to mention pain, when trying to breastfeed.
Since breastfeeding is supposed to be time to bond with your newborn, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do in your last trimester to prepare.
Your third trimester is the perfect time to learn everything you need to know. There is a slew of websites that will answer any questions you have. You can also research La Leche League and attend a meeting, where you can meet other new moms who are learning the process and address any concerns you have with one of their supportive teachers.
If your birth center or hospital offers free classes, sign up! Most likely, you’ll meet a lactation consultant who will also be able to help after delivery.
Stock Up on Essentials
Your third trimester is the perfect time to stock up everything you’ll need to start breastfeeding. While you only need yourself and baby to breastfeed, there are some other things that are nice to have. To make the experience as pleasant as possible, consider purchasing the following items:
- Nursing bras: These types of bras are comfortable and provide the additional support your larger-than-normal breasts need. They also come with flaps, which you can easily unfasten at feeding time. It’s best to wait until the last weeks of your third trimester to shop for nursing bras since your breasts will be close to their postpartum size. Once your milk comes in, your breasts will be even larger, so it’s important to buy bras that fit well.
- Nursing Tops: These tops and camisoles have convenient flaps that allow for easy access discreetly. Some of the camisoles also function as a bra and top in one.
- Nursing Pillows: These pillows are designed to support the baby and prevent mom from developing shoulder and neck strain while nursing.
- Breast Pads: Once your milk comes in, breast pads will keep your clothes from getting stained. You can choose from disposable or reusable, washable ones.
Even if you don’t plan on pumping regularly, you should also consider purchasing a breast pump to prevent breast engorgement. In addition, you should stock up on hot and cold packs you can apply in case your nipples are sore.
Free Up Time
In addition to recovering from childbirth, you should give yourself at least two weeks to devote to learning how to breastfeed. Especially if you’re a new mom, getting the hang of it is sometimes tricky, so instead of trying to do it all, spend this time to learn which way works best for you and your baby.
After giving birth, life can feel pretty hectic, even overwhelming at times. If you make the decision to breastfeed, give yourself enough time to get used to the process without being too hard on yourself. Soon enough, it will feel like second nature.