Thinking of breastfeeding? What to know before birth

Are you thinking of breastfeeding your baby? Breastfeeding is really pushed on pregnant women, but I found the information I was given didn’t really let me know what to expect (to be fair, my hospital did do a breastfeeding session, I just didn’t get round to going!). I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and luckily did a bit of my own research. Here are the things I think its important to know before the baby is born.

Things to know about breastfeeding

Know where to get help

Knowing where you can get help if you are having problems is invaluable. I strongly advise you to look into this before the birth, because the last thing you need is to be hunting for information in those early days. My health visitor gave me a leaflet on my local Baby Cafe at my antenatal home visit. Baby Cafe offers free breastfeeding support to women. My local cafe had a drop in session, where you could get help with any breastfeeding issues from a breastfeeding councillor.  I ended up needing help, and it was amazing. I cannot recommend them highly enough. It’s unlikely I would be breastfeeding now without that support. They gave me free cake too!

I’d also found a local private breastfeeding advisor, who I planned to contact if things got really tough. They offer help at home, for a fee of course. I just Googled to find one in my area. Luckily, I didn’t actually need to use them.

There are a few breastfeeding helplines it’s worth noting down:

  • National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212
  • Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – 0300 330 5453
  • La Leche League – 0345 120 2918
  • National Childbirth Trust (NCT) – 0300 330 0700

Your midwife or health visitor may also be able to provide advice if you need it. In my experience, they weren’t that helpful. No one seemed that keen to help me with my latch—I think they were just too busy.

Don’t waste money on expensive breastfeeding clothes

Special breastfeeding-friendly clothes are expensive. I didn’t have the money to spare and luckily I’ve found that the best way to feed is using the two-top method. I wear a vest top that I can pull down, with another top over it that I can pull up. This means you can expose minimal skin, which is useful for modesty and warmth! It gets a bit chilly breastfeeding in winter!

Get some box sets lined up

You’ll spend a lot of time trapped on the sofa feeding your baby, so line up some box sets. I have a Netflix subscription, which has been great. Don’t feel guilty about how much TV you watch—now Jacob’s crawling I get no chance to watch anything!

I really like The Crown, How to Get Away With Murder and House of Cards.

Do a little bit of research

If you are thinking of breastfeeding, it’s really useful to do a bit of research so you know what to expect. I recommend the KellyMom website, which has loads of evidence-based information on breastfeeding. It’s worth learning about cluster feeding (where babies feed frequently, or sometimes continuously, for a few hours, often in the evenings) in advance—otherwise you’ll think something is wrong. The supply and demand component of breastfeeding is also worth reading about.

I found I had a lot of anxiety at first about whether I was making enough milk and whether the baby was getting enough. Doing a bit of reading can help allay those fears.

Buy some nipple cream and decent breast pads

Nipple cream and breast pads are pretty much the only things you need for breastfeeding. I had bought a breast pump, but I didn’t use it for the first couple of weeks, so it’s not an essential purchase at first.

Breast pads are really important—unless you don’t mind being soaked in milk. You’ll also soon realise that it’s worth spending a little more to get ones that stay in place. My favourite are the Lansinoh ones.

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream is also really good. I used the cream religiously for the first few weeks and it really helped with my damaged nipples.

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13 Comments

  1. March 25, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    This is a really helpful post. When I was pregnant with my first it was just assumed that I would breastfeed, but there wasn’t a lot of information given to me so I could prepare. In the end it wasn’t possible for me, but I would have loved a bit more support in the first place. Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

  2. March 25, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    Very useful information! I think the most difficult thing for new mums is knowing when to persevere and when it’s time to admit defeat. I think a lot of Mums don’t realise how hard it is going to be and then give up too easily and others feel so guilty about not breastfeeding that they keep going when in actual fact it would be better for all concerned to move on. #blogstravaganza

  3. March 25, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Some great tips and things I wish I had known before I had my first. #blogstravaganza

  4. March 26, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    I never really did any research and managed fine, however, I think you’ve got some great tips here. I didn’t know about Lansinoh beforehand and it was days before I discovered it online (thank goodness). Such a special time and second the TV watching! I only watch TV while I work for 1-2 hours some evenings now when my daughter is asleep and my husband is at work.

  5. March 27, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Lovely, helpful post. Boxsets are a must. You really have to just surrender yourself to the whole business, expecially in the early weeks. I love that though. Nature’s way of making a new mum slow down. #bigpinklink

  6. March 29, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    I never realised you could put the cream on pre feed until my second. That was a game changer! Thanks for joining us this week! #bigpinklink

  7. March 30, 2017 / 3:19 pm

    Some very handy tips here – especially the boxsets! You really have you give yourself over to the whole business in the early weeks, don’t you? #kcacols

  8. aimz18
    March 31, 2017 / 6:10 am

    Some very good information! Thanks #kcacols

  9. March 31, 2017 / 6:43 am

    Some great tips. I don’t think any amount of research can prepare you for what it’s truly like and I liver he most important tip here is to make sure you know where your support is!

    #KCACOLS

  10. March 31, 2017 / 7:36 am

    It took me ages to discover the one up, one down clothing advice. I was living in the exact same (hideous) breastfeeding tops until that point so it was a huge revelation to me and a big step on the journey to feeling more like my old self again! Great tips, especially the box set one!! #kcacols

  11. March 31, 2017 / 8:50 am

    Good tips which I wish I’d know before having my 3 babies – it was assumed we’d all be able to breast feed no problem and left to get on with it. #kcacols

  12. March 31, 2017 / 11:39 am

    I didn’t do much research at all beforehand as I just assumed it would happen. Unfortunately I really struggled with getting baby to latch on and in hindsight I think tips like this would have really helped!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

  13. March 31, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    Great tips, I love all of the Lansinoh range and have also spent a lot of time in the Kelly mom website. I think mums to be will find this really useful xx #kcacols

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