Dr Ng Ying Woo, Consultant from NUH Women’s Centre answers your pregnancy related questions.
WORDS DR NG YING WOO
How can I prepare for breastfeeding my baby after delivery?
In general, try to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding even before your baby is born, especially if this is your first baby. Seek advice from other nursing mums, read books or magazines to familiarise with the techniques, or spend some time to attend hospital breastfeeding classes. The more you learn about the skills of breastfeeding and its benefits, the more likely that you are going to succeed in it.
Your body is already preparing itself for breastfeeding
Without you knowing, your pregnant body starts the preparation right from the beginning of the pregnancy. For example, in the early part of the journey, you may feel tingling nipples or breast tenderness. Gradually, your breasts will get bigger with increasing blood supply and development of the milk ducts.
What else can I do to help things along?
1. Stock up on some products that may make breastfeeding more comfortable and convenient.
Examples: Nursing bras, nursing tops and camisoles, breast pads, breast pumps, lanolin ointment, a sling or nursing pillow etc
2. Discuss your decision with your partner. A supportive partner is the key to successful breastfeeding. Try to get your partner on board too.
3. Get information on the available resources. Ask for information from your obstetrician. Find out who you can call, such as a lactation consultant if you encounter difficulties, check out the hospital breastfeeding policy.
Immediately after delivery
Breastfeed you baby as soon as possible. We know that mothers who breastfeed their babies early tend to have a better breastfeeding experience and outcome.
Have plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible after the delivery. This helps babies to get breastfeeding started and increases the length of breastfeeding time. Even if you have had a caesarean section birth, you can still hold your baby against your skin soon after birth.
Sleep together with your baby
Rooming in with your baby helps to ensure that you can breastfeed frequently as the baby is always by your side.
Get expert help
If this is your first time trying out breastfeeding, ask for help. A lactation consultant should be able to assist you in getting it right from the start. These experts can help you get into a comfortable position for breastfeeding and assist you to encourage your baby to latch on to your breasts.
Some accessories can be useful
Lanolin ointment can help if you have sore nipples. Nipple shells shield your sore nipples from contact with fabric. Nursing pillows are specially designed to support your baby while you are nursing, so as to avoid shoulder and neck strain during the feeding sessions. A breast pump is useful to relieve breast engorgement. Lastly, disposable breast pads will help to keep you and your shirt nice and dry.
Breastfeeding helps you create this special bond with your baby. Certainly, it promotes good health for your baby. Breastfeeding is good for you too, in terms of losing weight and protection against cancers.
Good luck, and enjoy your breastfeeding!