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Preparing to Breastfeed

February 20, 2010

While newborn babies can nurse instinctively, it often takes new moms longer to get the hang of breastfeeding. Most lactation experts agree that attitude, planning, and technique are crucial to breastfeeding. They are key to overcoming breastfeeding difficulties and discouragement.

Learning how to breastfeed properly is something that requires patience and practice from both mother and infant. In order to have the best breastfeeding experience possible, it’s important that you:

1. Make the decision to breastfeed even before you give birth. For many women and families, preparing for the coming of a new baby means picking a name, setting up the baby’s room, buying clothes and beddings, and purchasing equipment and tools like a car seat, stroller, monitor, and bouncer. The coming of a new baby also means making another important decision that most people forget to plan for – choosing how to feed the baby. The choice of feeding is crucial to the long-term health of your baby. As studies and researches show, breastfeeding is the best. Knowing the superior benefits of breastfeeding allows you to have the “I can do it” attitude to start and sustain breastfeeding.

2. Learn beforehand a little about how breastfeeding works – how often you should feed your baby and what to expect in the first few days or weeks. Health professionals and lactation consultants can provide information on the how tos of breastfeeding discuss with other related health concerns. Breastfeeding books, materials, and classes will also allow you to recognize and overcome breastfeeding problems.

3. Learn the proper ways to hold your baby (these are called “breastfeeding positions”) and how to determine whether your baby is attached to your breast and suckling properly (the “latch”). Breastfeeding requires practice and patience for you and your baby. Apart from books and manuals, most new moms usually seek the help of family or friends who have breastfed and even breastfeeding support groups to get them started and continue breastfeeding.

4. Have your breasts and nipples checked during pregnancy so that any problems can be addressed early on. Most women are capable of breastfeeding. Even those with inverted nipples and implants are able to breastfeed successfully. The size of your breasts does not matter also.

Preparing to breastfeed is also required of your partner, family, caregiver, and even employer.

Apart from letting them appreciate the superior health benefits that breastfeeding and breast milk provides, there are other benefits specific to them that they will be able to enjoy:

* Fathers enjoy a healthy baby and wife with fewer health care costs.

* Breastfeeding promotes bonding among family members.

* Caregivers have more time for other things since breastfeeding is convenient and there is no need for washing, sterilizing, and preparing.

* Employers also benefit since a healthy baby and mother means fewer sick leaves and improved productivity.

With correct and accurate information and support of loved ones around her, studies show that women have better success rates in breastfeeding practice.

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