As an expecting mother, you may be wondering how to prepare your body and mind for breastfeeding and ensure a healthy milk supply once your little one arrives. While breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful process, there are several steps you can take during pregnancy to enhance your breastfeeding journey.
In this blog post, we will share with you some insightful tips to increase your breast milk before your baby is born. Believe us when we tell you these tips will absolutely make your life easier when you start to breastfeed!
Preparing For Breastfeeding: Start by Preparing Your Body and Mind
Preparing yourself physically and mentally is crucial for successful breastfeeding. The period right before birth and the first days are critical because that’s when colostrum is at its peak.
Although women know about the benefits of breastfeeding, when they are asked about why they stop breastfeeding, the following reasons are often cited: fatigue, inconvenience, concerns about milk supply, painful nipples or poor guidance from health care professionals (Amir, 2021).
Fortunately, all of this can be avoided by following the next tips.
Eat a Nutrient-rich Diet.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a well-balanced diet that includes adequate protein, vitamins, and minerals is important for breastfeeding mothers. Aim for a minimum of 1800-2000 calories per day. If you don’t know what the best foods for milk supply are, you can start by adding foods rich in galactagogues, zinc and protein such as oatmeal, almonds and nuts to your diet. Our mummy granola can be a great option for you to start preparing for breastfeed.
Establish a Support System.
Having a support system in place can greatly impact breastfeeding success. Studies have shown that social support, especially from partners and close family members, positively influences breastfeeding initiation and duration. You can seek breastfeeding counseling and groups that will answer any questions you might have.
Learn about Breastfeeding.
Seeking prenatal groups or classes, reading about breastfeed or consulting a doctor can significantly increase your knowledge and confidence. A study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal found that mothers who attended breastfeeding classes were more likely to exclusively breastfeed for six months.
Ways to Increase Milk Supply Before and After The Baby Is Born.
Increasing your milk supply before your baby’s arrival can help ensure a smooth breastfeeding experience. Here are a few techniques to boost milk production during pregnancy.
- Breast Preparation: Throughout your pregnancy, your breasts were naturally preparing for breastfeeding. Once your baby is born, the more your baby nurses, the more milk your breasts will make. Be patient since it can take some time for your body to find its own breastfeeding rhythm. While pregnant, you will need a supportive cotton bra in a larger size for your breasts to comfortably expand. Gently massaging your breasts or using a breast pump for a few minutes each day can stimulate milk production.
- Herbal Supplements: Herbal supplements like fenugreek and blessed thistle are believed to promote milk production in some women. However, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. You can read this blog about nutrition during pregnancy to learn more.
- Expressing Colostrum: Expressing colostrum during pregnancy has benefits for both mother and baby. Expressing colostrum can lead to higher breastfeeding rates and reduced formula supplementation in the early days after birth. When milk supply first begins, expressing should occur between 8 and 12 times in a 24-hour period, including one or two expressions during night. It is extremely advised to use the frequency, especially during the first two weeks after breast milk expression.
The confinement stage is critical to boost milk. In the Asian culture, the confinement period is crucial for the mother’s health and correct nutrition and proper rest play a huge role during this time. In Singapore, the confinement period is usually 4 weeks; this is the perfect time for mothers to strengthen the bond with their babies and achieve breastfeeding success.
Prepare Your House and Environment for Breastfeeding.
Creating a supportive environment in your home can greatly contribute to your breastfeeding success. Consider the following:
a) Comfortable Nursing Area: Set up a cozy and comfortable space in your home where you can comfortably nurse your baby. Arrange pillows or a nursing chair to support your back and arms during feedings.
b) Breastfeeding-friendly Clothing: Invest in comfortable and nursing-friendly clothing that allows easy access to your breasts, such as nursing bras and tops.
What Tools to Buy to Help You with Breastfeeding.
Certain tools can make breastfeeding easier and more convenient. Here are a few essentials to consider:
- Breast Pump: A good-quality breast pump allows you to express milk when needed and maintain your milk supply. Choose a pump that suits your needs, whether it’s a manual or electric one.
- Nursing Pads: Disposable or reusable nursing pads can be used to absorb leaking breast milk, keeping you comfortable and preventing embarrassing situations.
- Nursing Pillow: A nursing pillow provides support for both you and your baby during breastfeeding sessions, helping to achieve a proper latch and reducing strain on your back and arms.
Remember that all mothers experienced the same “fear” or had the same doubts as you in regards to breastfeeding. However, you can always prepare your body and environment for the ultimate breastfeeding success. Nevertheless, you have to trust the process and enjoy it as well, as this is a critical moment for mothers and their babies to create a stronger bond.
Preparing your body, mind, and environment during pregnancy for breastfeeding sets the stage for a successful breastfeeding journey. By following the tips mentioned above, such as consuming a nutritious diet, stimulating your breasts, and creating a supportive breastfeeding environment, you can increase your milk supply before your baby is born.
Remember, each woman’s breastfeeding experience is unique, so be patient, seek support when needed, and consult with healthcare professionals or lactation specialists for personalized guidance. Your commitment to breastfeeding will undoubtedly benefit both you and your baby, fostering a strong bond and providing essential nutrients for their healthy growth and development.