Our bodies are magically designed to produce milk and regardless of how you prepare or don’t prepare to breastfeed, your breasts will start to produce small amounts of colostrum – a creamy milk that will ooze in drops from your breasts from between 27 weeks gestation to the end of pregnancy.
- The best way to prepare to breastfeed is to talk to a lactation consultant as they are experts. Another way is to watch another woman feed and get tips on how to hold and latch your baby.
- No preparation of your nipples is required to successfully breastfeed – don’t try and “toughen up” your nipples, as you are more likely to damage them.
- If you have had breast surgery and would like to breastfeed it is helpful to see a lactation consultant before the birth, so that she can assess your chances of breastfeeding, and be on standby as you are more likely to need help in the first week.
- For all moms who are battling to feed on the first few days, it is advisable to see a lactation consultant by day 4 so that she can advise on latching especially if your milk isn’t coming in adequately.
Get the equipment
- You are going to spend many hours in the early months feeding. Make sure you have a comfortable chair from which you can feed. Place a little table next to the chair for your phone, a glass of water and your Kindle or a good book. If you have a toddler, a couch may work better so your older child can cuddle next to you and have a book read to him during feed times.
- Breast pumps range from basic hand pumps to hospital grade double electric pumps, from a few hundred to a few thousand rand.
- A hand pump will do only for occasional pumping; it’s not appropriate for top up or exclusive pumping.
- If possible, buy an affordable single or double electric pump. Reviews and opinions of friends or clinic sisters are helpful for decision-making. If you are pumping at work or pumping more than once or twice a day do get a double pump, as it empties both breasts at once, halving the expressing time to 10 to 15 minutes, compared to 20 to 30 minutes.