Breastfeeding is natural, do I really need to take a breastfeeding class?
Yes, breastfeeding is definitely natural, but there is a learning curve to the whole thing. You see in the past we had lots of examples from the women in our lives showing us how to breastfeed. If we needed help, women were around to help us new moms out with all of our questions. Fast forward to today we just don’t have this community support. We don’t see breastfeeding that often. A breastfeeding class will help you understand how breasts make milk, how breastfeeding works, and how your baby helps breastfeeding work. You’ll also learn how to position and latch your baby, learn about the different items you may or may not need for breastfeeding, and several tips and tricks to help nursing along in those early weeks.
I would suggest you look for a breastfeeding class taught by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who has many years of helping mom’s and babies breastfeed. That way you’ll get a breastfeeding class with the latest up-to-date information and lots of practical suggestions to help with initiating breastfeeding.
What do I need to buy to get ready for breastfeeding?
There are a few items that are nice to have when breastfeeding but not always a necessity. You are really all that your baby needs especially in the beginning.
Nursing bra— these can be pricey and remember your size will change quite a bit. Be sure to stay away from underwire nursing bras as they may put too much pressure on the breasts.
Nursing shirts—not really necessary in fact I found for myself that a lot of them were more work than they were worth. Sometimes the nursing shirts were too bulky or hard to separate. With that said, I did find a couple of nursing shirts that I ended up loving; I just had to go through a few to get to them. Use what works easiest for you. A lot of mom’s like to use a nursing tank top and just have a regular shirt over the top. This is nice if you don’t like to have the sides of your abdomen showing.
Breast pads— not all moms leak breastmilk and if you don’t leak, no worries it is in no way an indication of how much milk your making. If you are a mom that leaks, breast pads can be helpful. Whether to use reusable or disposable pads is really a personal preference.
Pure Lanolin— this is helpful to apply in those early days when you are getting used to your baby latching on and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding pillow— this is definitely helpful in getting your baby positioned at the breast easier. These types of pillows can help save your back from strain because it allows your baby to be up a little higher.
A good breastfeeding book— Look for a comprehensive breastfeeding book that covers information around the last trimester of pregnancy all the way to weaning. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” is an excellent choice.
Phone number of a Lactation Consultant— catching breastfeeding issues and getting support early makes everything easier. Be sure to have a Lactation Consultants number handy just in case. I’m always happy to support you with breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to give me a call!
I keep hearing horror stories that breastfeeding is going to hurt and be really hard to do.
Unfortunately this is common for new mom’s to hear. In all honesty breastfeeding can be difficult if you don’t have good information, support, and you let those stories get to you. People can’t help themselves, they love to share what happened to them thinking it’s going to help you out by “warning” you. In reality they should be encouraging you, cheering you on for wanting to provide the best food nature can provide for your baby and it all comes from you!
So here’s how you handle it:
- Let those stories go in one ear and out the other.
- Go to a few breastfeeding support meetings (YES! Even while you’re pregnant!) in your area and listen to all kinds of mom’s talk about how breastfeeding is so important to them and watch them happily nurse their baby’s.
- Get yourself informed! Buy a comprehensive Breastfeeding book like “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” which talks about breastfeeding from beginning to weaning and all the things in between. Go to my website, read my EBook and articles. Learn what does and does not help breastfeeding.
- If you need help call me! I would love to support you in happy breastfeeding!
Trust that your amazing body is meant to breastfeed. Trust that your amazing baby is born to breastfeed. Trust that you and your baby are meant to nourish and be nourished from your body, there is no other perfect food for your baby than your breastmilk. Keep telling yourself these very words the next time you hear negativity around breastfeeding. You can totally do this!
What should I do to get my nipples ready for breastfeeding?
Well actually absolutely nothing. Your body has it all covered! There are many myths out there… “You need to toughen up your nipples”, “expose your nipples to the sun everyday”, “rub your nipples with a towel to toughen them up.” (OUCH!!), “wash your nipples everyday with soap and water to keep them clean”. All of these myths will just hurt your nipples by causing them to dry out and possibly crack. Your nipples have special glands that release a tiny amount of oil which has anti-bacterial properties to keep your nipples naturally clean and soft. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If you are experiencing nipple pain, be sure to call an IBCLC to help give you suggestions on healing. Most of the time nipple pain is because the baby is not positioned or latching on correctly. An IBCLC can help you make adjustments and get you back to happy breastfeeding.
My nipples are flat/inverted can I still breastfeed?
Nipples come in all shapes and sizes and most of the time babies are able to latch on with no problems, even onto nipples that are flat or inverted. It all depends on your nipples ability to become “out” or erect enough for your baby to latch onto. The other part to this is that your nipple is able to stretch out and be flexible enough when your baby latches on so there is no nipple pain or damage.
The best way to tell exactly how your nipples are going to respond to breastfeeding is to breastfeed. Your baby will be the best indicator of how your nipples will be when nursing. It can though, be very helpful to have a pre-natal consultation with me, I can help you determine if you have flat or inverted nipples. If you do have flat/inverted nipples I can suggest different ways to help bring them out while you’re pregnant and help with positioning and latching suggestions after your baby is born. Just keep in mind there are many options, suggestions, and techniques to help with all kinds of latching issues. Be sure to get support early on if you have flat or inverted nipples.