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Are you determined to breastfeed, but you’re worried that you won’t be able to?
It seems like every time any of my friends bring the subject up, it’s to share reasons why it wan’t possible for her, even though she really wanted it.
So I worried too.
But as I spoke with women who did successfully nurse their babies, and after nursing my first child, I noticed a pattern.
The women who nursed for the length of time that they wanted to all had one thing in common.
They took steps to prepare for breastfeeding before their babies even entered the world.
I’ve already shared five ways to prepare to breastfeed successfully. Now here are five more.
1. Stockpile Snacks To Prepare For Breastfeeding Hunger
As a first-time mom, nothing had prepared me for my level of hunger once the food I ate was being split between two bellies.
Prepare in advance by stocking up on plenty of healthful snacks that require little or no prep work.
This will help make sure you won’t have to choose between eating and sleeping, or, for those mamas who want to really go for gold, showering!
My staples are string cheese, frozen yogurt bars, hummus with pretzels, bars, apple sauce pouches, nuts, popcorn, and frozen burritos.
If you have access to a water cooler that dispenses hot water instantly, I also recommend prepackaged cups of instant oatmeal and soups.
2. Assemble Your Nursing Wardrobe
While some mamas are able to skip maternity clothing, a nursing wardrobe is a different story.
At a minimum, you will want to invest in two or three of each of the following: nursing bras, nursing nightgowns, nursing dresses, nursing t-shirts and nursing camisoles (Wear these under any other top, or even just a cardigan or hoodie for instant boobie access when you need it.).
Women who plan to return to work while breastfeeding, or who will be attending formal events soon after baby arrives, will probably require a more extensive nursing wardrobe.
3. Have Patience With Your Milk
Both of my children were born in the hospital.
For the most part, I was happy with the care that I received.
But I didn’t appreciate the emphasis that my nurses placed on my milk supply.
The nurses even going so far as bringing a giant hospital-grade breast pump to my room the very same day that my first child was born.
No one had told me that it is absolutely normal for milk to come in after you take your baby home!
Mommy milk takes time to come in!
Check with your medical professional if your milk isn’t in full swing four days after birth just to be safe, but more likely than not your supply is just taking its time.
After waiting nearly a week for my milk to come in, I went on to nurse for over three years!
4. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
I won’t lie, mama.
The first few weeks with the first kid can be, um, rough.
On your nipples, your sleep schedule, your marriage.
Your boobs will hurt, leak and maybe even bleed a little bit during those early days.
You will want to run out and buy nipple shields.
Breast cream made out of angel tears and puppy smiles.
But mama, just when you think you can’t take anymore, when your hand rests on the container of formula ready to spring into action at the next hint of hunger from your little one…
That, mama, is when, for most of us, the tide turns.
Chapped breasts begin to heal, milk flows out with abandon, sore milk ducts seem to loosen.
And once you get past this hurdle it’s likely that there’s relatively smooth sailing ahead for the rest of your breastfeeding career.
5. Toss Your Crutches
Advice will abound on what magical accessories you need to make breastfeeding work.
Whether it’s a breast pump to jump-start your milk supply, nipple shields to protect those sensitive suckers from your little sucker or formula to supplement your supply, the chances are that you and your baby will be just fine, thank you, without any of the extras.
In fact, by learning to depend on only the tools God gave you, you will probably have nothing to lose and everything to gain (namely, confidence in yourself and your body’s ability to provide what your baby needs).
And so, unless the advice of your medical professional is otherwise, it may be good policy to pack away anything that you may be tempted to use as a crutch until after you and your little one have established a string breastfeeding relationship.
How To Nurse Your Baby As Long As You Want To
When you listen to other women’s stories about the struggles they had breastfeeding, it is tempting to resign yourself to giving up before you have even started.
But mama, when you prepare in advance for the huge job it is to breastfeed your baby, your chances of success are high!
Snuggle up with a cup of something yummy, and order the most comfortable nursing wardrobe you can find.
Choose things that will make you feel good to wear them.
While you’re online, add some healthful high protein snacks to your shopping cart.
And you will already be well ahead of the game. It takes some foresight now.
But mama, when your little one arrives you will be more confident than ever.
And the odds will be in favor of a wonderful breastfeeding experience.