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.
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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The Tale of Mummyhood