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Breastfeeding Tips: Preparing for Breastfeeding

Woman breastfeeding her child

Pregnancy isn’t the only time your body provides for your baby. After giving birth to your newborn, it’s time to decide what methods you will try for feeding your child. If you decide to breastfeed, it’s important to make sure that you are taking all the right steps to prepare for this next stage of motherhood. Breastfeeding is a choice that greatly benefits both you and your baby, but it also requires a lot of planning and self-care. Learn what goes into breastfeeding and how to take care of yourself during this process.

What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not only good for mom: it’s proven to be beneficial for baby as well. Because of the nutritional benefits of breastmilk, babies who are breastfed are less prone to illness and have fewer allergies.1 Breastfed babies are also less likely to experience ear infections, diarrhea and diabetes, and have a reduced risk of obesity and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1,2 Mothers who breastfeed save money by not having to buy formula and have a lesser chance of developing ovarian or breast cancer.1 Additionally, breastfeeding can help your uterus return to a normal size through the release of oxytocin while nursing.1,2

How to Get Ready for Breastfeeding

It might be helpful to learn a few things about breastfeeding before you give birth so that you are prepared for the real thing. First, make sure to talk to your doctor and ask them for resources to help you get started. Your hospital may provide you with care after birth and can even set you up with a lactation consultant.2 It may also be helpful to take breastfeeding classes or access online courses and resources to understand what is needed to best prepare for what’s ahead.2

Tips for Developing a Wellness Routine for Breastfeeding Moms

It’s recommended that you breastfeed your baby for at least six months before switching them to solid foods.2 Establishing a good wellness routine before and during this time will ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrients they need through your milk. Building healthy habits is important for both breastfeeding and supporting your postpartum body. Here are some things to consider when developing your wellness routine:

Eating the Right Foods

A good pregnancy diet can help support your growing child before and after they are born. When choosing what to eat, make sure you are looking into a variety of foods that contain minerals and vitamins that breastfeeding moms need. An essential mineral that breastfeeding moms need is calcium, which can be found in milk or dairy products.2 If you don’t eat dairy, you can find calcium in vegetables like broccoli and kale; and be sure to look for calcium-fortified foods as well.2 You should also aim to consume about 500 extra calories a day to help produce milk.2

If you are concerned you may not be getting enough necessary vitamins and minerals, ask your doctor about taking supplements along with your healthy diet. A supplement like Centrum Maternal Health PostNatal Multivitamin Gummies can help cover dietary gaps to support you during lactation.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Along with a healthy diet, drinking fluids and getting an ample amount of rest will help you maintain a good milk supply.3 You might find yourself getting thirstier when you are breastfeeding, and increasing your fluid intake will quench your thirst.3 Try to drink an 8-ounce glass of water or juice every time you breastfeed, and avoid alcohol and  caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soft drinks.3 If your morning cup of joe is an essential for you, try to have it at least two hours before breastfeeding.2

Make Sure You’re Staying Active

It’s recommended that postpartum women complete at least 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week.4 Doing moderate physical activity can not only help improve your mood, but it can also be a great way to keep yourself healthy. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the right exercise or activity regimen for you.

How to Set Up Your Breastfeeding Station

Having a breastfeeding station with everything you need will help you create a good routine. Make sure to arm yourself with a variety of nursing supplies including a breast pump, a nursing pillow and a rocker. If you need to breastfeed in public, make sure to pack a bag with a light blanket and other breastfeeding essentials so you’re extra prepared. It’s also helpful to have nutritious snacks available that are easy to eat with one hand. Having snacks ready will help to meet caloric intake requirements and to satiate hunger while maintaining your breast milk supply. Use the information provided by your doctor or lactation consultant on how to properly hold your baby and avoid unnecessary strain on your body. And remember—you’ve got this! Moms have been breastfeeding forever, so you’ll definitely get the hang of it too.

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