How Do I Prepare my Breasts for Breastfeeding?

How Do I Prepare my Breasts for Breastfeeding?

There are many old wives’ tales and other myths related to breastfeeding that still persist today. One of the topics that come up often in these false beliefs is that you need to prepare the breast during pregnancy to achieve successful breastfeeding. Ideas given to mothers to “prepare” their breasts are very varied and range from rubbing or pulling the nipples, to using specific products on them or any other similar techniques.

As you may have already guessed, it is absolutely not necessary to do anything to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. Just as you don’t have to do anything to prepare your kidney to work or your ears to hear. Your body prepares itself naturally and does so throughout your entire life and especially during pregnancy. In fact, not only are none of these actions necessary, but they can be disruptive to your breastfeeding journey, as they can give you a bad experience related to breastfeeding even before it actually begins.

The functioning of your breasts is perfectly planned by nature. Among many other things, your areolas will get darker in colour and will take on an odour similar to amniotic fluid, so that your baby can find it more easily in the first hours and days after birth. They hydrate and cleanses and, of course, your breasts produce the optimal nourishment for your baby.

So why do we feel like preparing our breasts? In reality, what you really need to prepare for, is to get informed about your breastfeeding journey in advance. Babies know how to feed at the breast instinctively, but mothers need to learn how to do so. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that breastfeeding starts after your birth, in the postpartum period, which so often can be a very overwhelming time, where so many things change in your life.

Therefore, it is not so much a matter of preparing your breasts, but ideally, you start to prepare yourself. A good way to do so is by trying to be with and see other women breastfeeding, so it can be a very good idea to visit local breastfeeding support groups in your area. There, not only can you observe how other mothers breastfeed for real, but you can also be with other women who are going through a very similar moment in life to yours, and this can help you by making you feel that you are not alone in the process. If you don’t have a support group nearby or online, try to reach out to friends or family members who are breastfeeding or have been breastfeeding recently, with whom you feel comfortable.

Another way to prepare can be by reading. There are many recommended books to prepare you for your breastfeeding journey, for example by Amy Brown (from Pinter & Martin publishers) which can help you to feel more informed and to face this new stage with positivity and preparation.

It is important that you get yourself informed about the normality of breastfeeding and your postpartum body, because this will make you more confident in yourself and in your body, and you will know when and where to go when something is not going right.

If you would like to find out more about any other questions coming up during your breastfeeding journey, download the LactApp app for Android or iPhone to get your personalized answers. You can also access our consultation channel with our experts within the app.

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