Talk to mothers who have successfully breastfed. You may even want to take a breastfeeding class.
Human milk is recognized as the optimal feeding for all infants, although preterm infants often require nutritional supplementation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and breastmilk plus complementary foods for at least 12 months and as long as mutually desired thereafter.
Known benefits to the baby include improved nutrition, gastrointestinal function, immuno defense, and psychological well-being. Breastfeeding is also associated with many long-term benefits to the baby, both short and long-term benefits to the mother, and economic benefits for the family and society.
Will I Be Able to Breastfeed?
Preparing for breastfeeding - by learning everything you possibly can about it - is the first step to success.
Knowledge is power.
Believe in yourself. Convince yourself that you will be successful and create a self fulfilling prophecy.
In the early days of learning to breastfeed, you may be tempted to believe those advisers around you who suggest that formula and bottle feeding are much easier choices.
Deciding to breastfeed your baby is the most important brain, body, and soul building gift you can give to the future generation!
Your Body is Preparing for Breastfeeding
When pregnancy first begins, the breasts begin to develop to a functioning state.
At 0-3 months, hormone levels cause the duct system to multiply. Some changes in appearance may occur.
In months 4-6 the duct system continues to develop and some women have an increase in breast-weight of up to 1 to 1.5 pounds. If the baby were to be born prematurely, the mother would be able to lactate at this stage.
General breast development continues throughout the third trimester as breasts continue preparing for breastfeeding.
Breasts begin producing colostrum (the first milk before mature milk comes in) in the fourth month of pregnancy. Some women find that their breasts leak colostrum during the later months of pregnancy.
There are abundant reasons that mothers refer to for bringing the breastfeeding relationship to an end. In a modern society that often doesn’t embrace the natural and superior way to feed infants and toddlers many women feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public. Preparing yourself for this reality can make breastfeeding easier when the time comes.
There will be times when you feel like giving up. Many people believe that bottles of formula is almost as good as breastmilk. It isn't.
Common Concerns About Preparing for Breastfeeding
People you know who "couldn't breastfeed"
Just because your friend, your neighbor, or even your own mother "could not breastfeed" doesn't mean that she was physically or biologically unable to breastfeed.
Many mothers simply did not have the information, support, and encouragement that they needed to succeed. The information and knowledge that you acquire before baby arrives is a great part of preparing for breastfeeding.
It is rare that a woman is biologically or physically unable to breastfeed and provide good healthy milk for her baby.
The true miracle - carrying and nurturing your baby through pregnancy and childbirth - is already behind you. Do you think that it could all possibly stop there?
A woman's body was made to create life AND sustain it. Aren't women amazing?
Breast size has nothing to do with how much milk you will be able to produce. The fatty tissue is what makes breasts larger not milk-producing tissue.
Even a woman with very small breasts will experience breast changes and growth during pregnancy and the birth as her body is preparing for breastfeeding.
During the first weeks following childbirth many women notice an increase in 1-2 cup sizes!
Women with larger breasts tend to have greater milk storage capacity while women with smaller breasts may have less milk storage. Mothers and babies adjust to smaller storage capacity by nursing more frequently.
Flat or Inverted Nipples
Babies feed from the breast not from the nipples - that's why it's called BREASTfeeding and not nipple-feeding.
The baby will draw your nipple far back into his mouth in order to suck effectively.
Many babies prefer one breast over the other. Your baby may prefer being held on one particular side. If one breast has a flat or inverted nipple it could lead to preference to the other breast.
Flat nipples are fairly common while truly inverted nipples are rare. Even if you do have flat or inverted nipples. There are ways to flat or inverted nipples while you are preparing for breastfeeding and succeed at breastfeeding.
Stretch Marks on Breasts
While it's almost certain that your breasts will change after child birth, it is the hormones during pregnancy that cause your breasts to change NOT breastfeeding.
Hormones produced by your body allow your breasts to grow and the skin to stretch.
A woman's breasts will change throughout her lifetime. Much of the changes will depend on genes and heredity. Most women are not Barbie and will not be born with Society's version of "ideal" breasts but then again I don't think Barbie ever gave birth or breastfed!
Many women find that their breast shape actually improves after childbirth and breastfeeding.
Becoming a mother means that your breasts will change and not necessarily for the worse so embrace motherhood and your baby you will make a great breastfeeding team!
Whether you choose to co-sleep with your baby or build a cozy nursery, Creative Baby Nursery Rooms offers information to help you create a beautiful baby room for you and your baby to add to the pleasure of breastfeeding your baby.