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Breastfeeding Preparation

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

In this chapter, we explore what you can watch out for in preparing yourself well for a breastfeeding journey with your child, and what breastmilk really is all about.

Clookies advocates breastfeeding your baby, not just because it's part of a natural bonding process between mama and child, but also because of its highly nutritional benefits for the baby.


However, it's not always easy to master a new skill. Mama and baby are both learning at the same time.


In fact, many women require assistance in learning to breastfeed. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends that all doctors assist mothers in breastfeeding during pregnancy and after birth.


But why is breastfeeding so important?


Well, there exists many benefits for breastfeeding, some of which are:

  • Breast milk has the ideal nutritional balance for your baby.

  • Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest than commercial formula, hence better for their gut health

  • The antibodies in breast milk help your baby's immune system.

  • Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have allergies, asthma, and diabetes.

  • Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

If you decide to begin your breastfeeding journey, know that you will have a better chance of success with a bit of patience, some preparation, and a firm resolve.


Read on for some easy, tried-and-true breastfeeding tips!

Pre-Birth Breastfeeding Prep


Nursing preparation starts before the baby is even born!


To set a good foundation for the breastfeeding process, later on, consider these tips:

  • Prenatal care: Feed yourself well, as the nutrients that you consume translate into the breastmilk that baby will be taking in. Eat foods high in protein, fibre & vitamins, to ensure sufficient nutrients for you and your child to develop optimally.

  • Consult your physician: Make sure your doctor is aware of your intention to breastfeed. Then, they will be able to provide the appropriate medical advice. Also, inquire about the type of post-natal care provided by the hospital - some places have a lactation consultant or nursing specialist that can help you get started.

  • List the nursing items you need: Make a list of what you'll need and buy it ahead of time. A nursing pillow, nursing bra, and covers are examples of these items.

  • Prepare an area just for breastfeeding: Make a "nursing station" with a comfy chair, a breastfeeding pillow, and a side table for food, water, nursing pads, burp cloths, your phone, and a good book before your baby arrives. After all, that's where you'll be for quite some time!

Breast Milk: What to Expect

Did you know that your milk production changes to address your baby's specific needs at every stage?


There are three distinct phases that you can observe in your milk supply:


Colostrum


Colostrum is a yellowish substance that you produce initially. This pre-milk has a slower flow to help your baby learn to nurse


In the early days after birth, colostrum helps your baby get all the nutrition and antibodies they need to battle infections.


You may only produce a few drops of colostrum at first. However, you don't have to worry about not having enough milk!


A 1- or 2-day-old baby's stomach is only the size of a marble, thus requiring only a few teaspoons at a time.


Transitional milk


Transitional milk replaces colostrum three to five days after birth.


Transitional milk, which resembles a blend of orange juice and milk, is the stage between colostrum and mature breast milk, as the name implies.


Mature milk


Mature milk usually arrives between the tenth day and the second week. This is your 'real' breast milk and what your baby will hopefully subsist on for a few months.


It's white and thinner than transitional milk. It may resemble watery skim milk at first, and it may appear bluish.

Why should I breastfeed?

Breast milk is often considered the best source of nutrition for babies due to its composition, which is specifically tailored to meet the nutritional needs of infants. It contains a balanced blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with various vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antibodies that provide numerous health benefits.


The composition of breast milk changes over time to adapt to the growing needs of the baby. In the first few days after birth, a mother produces colostrum, a yellowish fluid rich in antibodies that help protect the baby's immune system. As days go by, the breast milk transitions into mature milk, which is thinner and whiter in appearance.

Breast milk has numerous advantages for both the baby and the mother. For the baby, it provides essential nutrients, promotes healthy growth and development, boosts the immune system, and reduces the risk of various health conditions such as allergies, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal problems. Breastfeeding also fosters a unique bond between mother and baby.


For the mother, breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes uterine contractions and helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding can also lower the risk of postpartum bleeding and reduce the chances of developing certain types of cancer, such as breast and ovarian cancer. It may also aid in postpartum weight loss.

It's important to note that while breast milk is highly beneficial, not all women are able to breastfeed or choose to do so.

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