Breastfeeding your child is a personal matter that you will need to think about and come to a decision about before your baby is born. Your baby is unique, and the decision is up to you. Getting good advice while you’re pregnant can help you to feel more confident about starting breastfeeding  It’s also one that’s likely to draw strong opinions from friends and family.

Many experts advise to exclusively breastfeed your child for six months. This is because breast milk has everything your baby needs in order to develop into a strong and healthy toddler; it has the ideal mix of protein, vitamins, and fat.

Your first milk is liquid gold. Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, their immune system is strengthened, enabling it to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea amongst other infections.

Here are some ways to prepare:

Take A Class: Many hospitals and birthing clinics have breastfeeding 101 classes. You will be able to learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding, including hygiene and the different positions you can try to help your baby latch on quickly. Not just that, but you will meet other expectant mothers there that you can probably relate with and will be able to share the ups and downs of the adventure with.

Massage Your Breasts: This is how you prepare breasts for breastfeeding during pregnancy. You may be concerned about how big or small your nipples are, this really has nothing to do with breastfeeding. What you do need to do is to have your nipples checked to see if they are flat or inverted. During the last six weeks of your pregnancy, massage your breasts in order to clear your milk ducts. Keep your breasts well moisturized to prevent any cracking from taking place later on. Breast shells can be used to bring the nipple out in case you have flat or inverted nipples.

Steps you can do right after: You will need nursing bras, pads, ointment for sore nipples and comfortable clothes to nurse in. These are the bare necessities of breastfeeding. You should also consider investing in a good nursing pillow, as it can greatly ease the physical pain mothers experience while breastfeeding, and open up more breastfeeding positions for you to try

Family and Friends: You will want to know who to call should you have a problem. Go to a woman that you trust.  it could be a member of the family, like your mother or aunt or even a close friend who has breastfed before. Most older women are delighted to help the younger generation learn, especially about motherhood. A lot of women face certain difficulties during breastfeeding, and they will be able to shed some light on the area for you and give you tips on how to cope. As they are also already experienced, they will be able to give good support to you if you feel like you need any help or even just for someone to talk to.

Discuss it With Your Doctor: If you are concerned about anything related to breastfeeding, such as if any of the supplements that you take will affect your baby during the nursing period, you can always consult your doctor.  Your doctor will be able to advise you on what you can take that will ensure that your child does not suffer any side effects. Some women may have breast implants or may have undergone breast surgery. In cases like these, you should always ask for your doctor’s advice on whether or not they will have an impact on breastfeeding. If you have had the surgery and don’t remember what type of procedure was done, you can request a copy of your medical records. Your doctor or midwife can help you sort through the records and figure out your best course of action. 

Remember, Babies who are born naturally and with as little medical intervention as possible are more likely to breastfeed well, and those who were born with more medical assistance have lower rates of successful breastfeeding. While there are many exceptions to this, natural births do increase the chances of success during breastfeeding.

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