Learn to Breastfeed When You’re Pregnant
The big “B” word… breastfeeding. If you are preparing to breastfeed while pregnant you may find that you’re not sure what to do.
It is something so natural and beneficial to you and baby, of course, you want to try to do it right. But breastfeeding DOES NOT come naturally.
With these 13 tips you can increase your chances for breastfeeding while pregnant because you will be better prepared.
Which is why learning and educating yourself about breastfeeding is one the best things you can do to learn to breastfeed!
Are you ready to learn how to breastfeed while pregnant?
13 Tips To Learn Breastfeeding While Expecting
1. Take A Breastfeeding Course
You can sign up to take The Ultimate Breastfeeding Course and thank me later!
Educating yourself is about the best thing you can do when it comes to breastfeeding.
Learning how to latch baby on, helping increase your breast milk supply and even troubleshooting common breastfeeding problems.
This is exactly what The Ultimate Breastfeeding Course helps you with.
This is the best antenatal preparation for breastfeeding you can do hands down!
2. Know Your Breast Pump
Getting a breast pump has now become one of the easiest things expecting moms can do.
You can apply to get a FREE breast pump that your insurance pays for all from your phone. It takes about 3 minutes to fill out the application and you’re all set.
Fill out the application and get your breast pump in the mail. You get to choose which breast pump you get (some even come with tote bags and extra pumping accessories)
After you receive your breast pump you’ll want to go through the manual and see how everything works.
Here are a few things to do before you use the breast pump
- Check if the breast shields fit your breast (expect your breast to increase in size after baby is born)
- Check if the suction works on the pump
- Verify if you need batteries for any part
- Clean and wash your pump before first use
- Watch a video on how to pump using your specific breast pump (you’ll learn a few tricks)
3. Join Breastfeeding Groups
You can easily search the web for a local breastfeeding friendly group or ask your OB/ Midwife for any recomendations around the area.
But my favorite way to learn from experienced moms (some who breastfeed for 3 years, did tandem breastfeeding or breastfeed through physical illness) is by actually talking to them.
These are some amazing groups you can request to join to get actual advice from women who have been in your shoes before!
- Exclusively Breastfeeding Mommies
- Milky Mama’s Breastfeeding Support
- The Breastfeeding Support Group
I think having access to these 3 Facebook Groups is going to help you start preparing to breastfeed before baby arrives.
You can also grab our free copy of the Pre-Baby Breastfeeding Checklist.
4. Be Healthy During Pregnancy
It may come as no surprise but the healthier you are during pregnancy can reduce the risk of having your baby premature or other health related issues. This is just an overall great breastfeeding tip.
Having a baby in the NICU (due to being premature, or any other issue) makes it harder to breastfeed from the start.
By having really good prenatal care you are increasing your chances of breastfeeding right from day one.
This is also a great time to find the perfect Pregnancy Essentials to take care of yourself each trimester
Try doing some of these things in order to reduce stress and keep your body and mind healthy during pregnancy.
- Visit the Dentist (prenatal dental care is super important)
- Schedule a Self Care Day (your mind is just as important as your body)
- Have a Date Night
- Increase your water intake
- Eat iron rich foods (to help with the extra blood your body has now)
5. Create & Share Your Birth Plan
Creating a birth plan is a great way to let your partner and your doctor know that you plan on breastfeeding after giving birth.
I want you to remember that giving birth is a one or two day event as where breastfeeding can be for years. So making a plan to stick to breastfeeding is just as important.
Why it’s important to let your birth provider know you are planning to breastfeed after birth.
- You’re more likely to do skin to skin sooner
- They will wait to do other tests while you try to breastfeed
- Nurses will help you establish a latch
- A lactation consultant can visit you while you’re in the hospital
- If baby goes to the NICU – you can pump and tell them not to give formula or sugar-water
6. Learn Breastfeeding Holding Techniques
Imagine, when you give birth. You are at the hospital and your nurse helps you latch baby on.
She may something like “why not try the football hold” instead of saying ‘what the hell is the football hold?’ You can easily position baby!
Okay, let’s learn these newborn holds for breastfeeding.
You’ll want to position baby’s head so it lays on your elbow’s bend. With that same hand you’ll support the rest of babies body.
With the free arm you’ll want to grab your breast. Placing your thumb above the nipple (this is where baby’s nose will be). and your index finger will be underneath the nipple.
It will make your breast into a sandwich so you can easily place and latch babies mouth.
This is especially helpful if you
- Have large breast
- Had a c-section
- Expecting Twins
- Have a small or premature baby
Position baby’s head at your breast with the feet towards your back. Baby will be on your side.
Like the name suggest you’ll hold them like a football. The hand that you will use to support baby’s head will be the one the same side you are nursing.
With the other hand, cup your breast and position your nipple in baby’s mouth.
I have to repeat this because it is important: this position is great to breastfeed after having a c-section.
In both the illustrations above, the breastfeeding person is using a breastfeeding pillow. Use code: solutionsmommy to get it for free. Just pay shipping.
LaidBack Position Hold
This is my favorite hold because you are reclining in a slanted position.
You’ll want to be leaning and be supported be either pillows or a reclineable chair.
Then you’ll place baby on your body. You will be tummy to tummy with baby. The baby’s feet should be going down your stomach
Your baby will naturally find your nipple, but you can help by position their head right below the breast.
This is very similar to the cradle hold. But instead of using the arm to support and the other arm to cup your breast you will use the opposite arm to hold baby.
Creating a criss-cross with your arms.
This particular hold is great during night time feedings.
You’ll be laying on your side, and so will baby.
Baby’s head will be on the bed or on the inner of your arm. Make sure both of you are tummy to tummy side laying.
You’ll also want to make sure not to have any extra blankets or items if you fall asleep in this position around baby.
7. Understand Your Breast Milk Supply
In your breastfeeding journey you are going to constantly worry about your milk supply. Is it enough milk, do you have an over-supply, did the food you eat cause baby to get colic.
Your mom brain will be wired to worry about these things (which is normal – but here is how you can worry less about your milk supply)
If you are worried that your milk supply is low – look for these signs:
- Baby is not gaining weight
- Baby has less wet diapers than before
- Your breast always feel full
- Your baby is dehydrated
Chances are your milk supply is actually perfect for the amount of milk your baby needs.
Here is how to tell your baby is getting enough milk when feeding:
- Your breast feel emptied after each feeding
- Your baby is gaining weight normally
- Baby has wet diapers through out the day
- Short nursing sessions
- Long nursing sessions
- Cluster feedings
- You constantly latch baby on to your breast
- Baby is milk drunk (sleepy, smiling at breast)
Remember your breastmilk is on a demand and supply work rotation.
If your baby demands to eat, your body works on making breast milk.
The more you latch baby on and let them feed for as long as they want. The more your breast will work to provide breast milk when baby latches on.
You can actually learn more about breastfeeding by taking this breastfeeding course.
8. The Breastfeeding / Sleep Schedule
Your newborn will be breastfeeding every 2-3 hours. That means about 12 breastfeeding sessions per day.
You’ll be sleep deprived, and unless your partner is also producing breast milk you’ll be the one waking up every few hours to do the feedings at night.
Knowing this now, you should be mentally prepared for it.
Babies normally don’t sleep through the night well into 6-10 months some can be great sleepers but the majority will continue waking for night feedings for months to come.
It is very normal for your newborn to wake up 2-3 times a night to eat and cuddle.
9. Use Nursing Pillows
These things are specifically made to help breastfeeding moms nurse their baby’s. They also help to do other things like tummy time, teaching baby how to sit, and giving you back support.
You can see our favorite one right here.
10. Establish A Perfect Latch
Breastfeeding should not be painful. The first time (yeah it happens), it is different and your breast feel raw from milk production, hormones and stretching.
When your baby latches on to your breast it should not be painful.
Here is how you can get the perfect latch:
- Position your breast close to baby’s mouth
- Tickle baby’s mouth with your breast (so they open up wide)
- Baby’s mouth should cover your nipple and areola
- Baby’s nose is against your breast (you can slightly press down to help baby’s nose)
Want to get the perfect latch each and every time? Read this post once you are done reading the current one.
11. Breastfeeding Diet
I know you can’t wait to stop being pregnant so you can go to town on sushi and all the soft cheese in the world (please avoid those things while prego).
But you should also know that the food you eat has an impact on your breast milk.
For example: oranges help when you have a c-section because they naturally have healing elements (vitamin c) but an organe can be very acidic for your newborns tummy.
This in turn can give your baby gas, colic and hiccups.
So do a little research on a breastfeeding diet before baby is latched on!
12. Support Your Breast With Nursing Bras
You’ll need good nursing bras and even nipple cream to have adequate breast support.
You can check out this post for the ‘Top Nursing Bra’s For Plus Size Moms‘ to see which ones will help you nurse easily.
13. Freeze Lactation Cookies
You should check out this recipe for lactation cookies and make yourself a whole batch.
You’ll want to save them in your freezer in a ziplock or air tight container. Then when you feel your breast milk needs a pick me up or you want to help establish your supply.
Eat 2 a day and you’ll help your supply.
That’s it 13 ways to help you prepare for breastfeeding right now that you are expecting. If you want a little more info, I’ve added the most asked questions under this post!
How Can I Increase My Breastmilk During Pregnancy
Your milk supply will be established when you actually start breastfeeding but here are a few things that can help you out while you are expecting.
- Drink lots of water
- Buy brewers yeast
- Use flax seed in foods
- Learn about fenugreek
- Eat oatmeal daily
How Soon Does Breastmilk Come In During Pregnancy?
It normally takes 2-3 days for your breastmilk to come in after giving birth.
Your breast are hard at work while you are pregnant, preparing themselves to create colostrum and breast milk.
Colostrum is ‘pre-milk’ that is yellow in color; it is the first thing your baby will drink when they latch on to your breast.
Normally while you are pregnant your body is making this breast milk but it isn’t until you give birth that you start to release breast milk.
Remember to keep latching your baby on even if you feel your breast milk hasn’t arrived.
The more you place baby to suck on your breast the faster your milk will come in.
Can Breastfeeding Cause Miscarriage In Early Pregnancy?
If you are breastfeeding your baby while pregnant with your next child you may be wondering if it is safe for you to keep breastfeeding while pregnant.
Breastfeeding causes mild uterine contractions because of this many women are afraid to do tandem breastfeeding (breastfeeding a baby while pregnant with another).
The truth is that the contractions are so mild that it rarely increases the chance of miscarriage. So keep on feeding your baby while you grow another!
What Does Breastfeeding Feel Like?
You may be wondering what it feels like to breastfeed for the first time. To be honest it is a little painful the very first time.
You’re breast are not used to the extraction of breastmilk, the full-ness that comes with making breastmilk and they are not used to being sucked on almost 24/7.
After getting an established latch breastfeeding is not painful.
In short, it feels like you are being squeezed and your stomach is being squeezed as well while liquid is coming out of your breast.
*Breast milk does not just come out of one little area. It can spray come out shooting, or be slow releasing.
How Soon Can I Start Breast Pumping After Giving Birth?
You can actually start right away (if your baby goes to the NICU, or has problems latching on); incorporating your breast pump is a great decision.
Don’t be embarrassed to breast pump either, being an exclusive pumper means you are still providing breast milk to your baby!
Even if you just use it a few times it will help you!
There you have it 13 ways for you to start preparing to breastfeed right now while you are expecting.
What are you going to start doing now that you know how to help your breastfeeding journey? Let me know in the comments below!
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Preparing To Breastfeed While Pregnant – 13 Tips To Successful Breastfeeding
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Rosaura is the mom blogger who helps first time pregnant and postpartum moms find the solutions to their everyday problems. From first finding out you’re pregnant to giving birth and baby care, she has you covered.