Getting Started With Breastfeeding


Preparation to breastfeed is paramount for getting off to a good start when baby arrives.  It is highly advisable to attend childbirth preparation classes which are offered to virtually every pregnant patient being followed medically for prenatal care.  Most classes are offered through local hospitals, state health departments and some medical providers. The instructors are usually certified to teach and also offer lactation classes as well. 

Breastfeeding A Lactation Consultant may be available after delivery to make bedside visits and home visits in some instances to ensure mother and newborn are breastfeeding without difficulties and off to a good start. 

It is important to decide in advance of childbirth when you plan to breastfeed for a smoother introduction to nursing your baby. For instance, to decrease nipple sensitivity and discomfort when beginning to breastfeed, it is advisable to prepare the nipples during pregnancy.  This is done by pulling out on each nipple to help break up connective tissue underneath and allow the nipples to protrude more and make it easier baby to latch on.  The newborn needs to be able to “latch on” with its tongue positioned under the nipple in order to suckle properly. Don’t overdo nipple stimulation if it causes uterine cramping or if you are at risk for prematurity. 

Also helpful can be cutting a hole in each nipple area of an old bra and wearing it under a sweatshirt.  The rubbing of the textured sweatshirt lining against the nipple will help desensitize them prior to baby nursing. A coarse washcloth and cold water can also be used during a shower or bath in circular motions to each nipple for the same effect.

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