How to Prepare for Breastfeeding - What You Need to Know

Your body will do most of the work in preparation for breastfeeding; your nipples increase in size, your milk ducts increase in number and become mature during pregnancy.

pregnant photography, holding pregnant belly
Father and mother holding the mother's pregnant belly. 

How to Prepare for Breastfeeding While Pregnant

Your body will do most of the work in preparation for breastfeeding; your nipples increase in size, and your milk ducts grow in number and mature during pregnancy.

YOU can also do a few things to prepare for a great breastfeeding relationship...

Many breastfeeding problems can be avoided with just a bit of extra info…

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Things That You Can Do to Prepare for Breastfeeding

1. Visualize yourself breastfeeding your baby. Believe in yourself! You were perfectly made for this.

2. Have a natural birth; medical interventions can cause breastfeeding problems. Most Doulas and Midwives are breastfeeding-friendly. My VBACK natural birth story here.

Women who have had c-section births are less likely to breastfeed their babies. The drugs used during a c-section can take a toll on breastfeeding.

If you do find yourself having a c-section.

3. Try to breastfeed immediately or at least 2 hours after birth. Let the doctors and nurses know about your plans beforehand.

Mother and father hold their baby - Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Save this crib note to your PC and print it to place on your baby's crib in the hospital...

breastfeeding crib note, breastfeeding note for nurses
crib note

4. Find as much info on breastfeeding as possible. The more you know, the more confident you will be.

5. If you are going into the hospital, request in writing that you don’t want your baby given any formula or supplements. Download the crib note above.

6. During the last six weeks of pregnancy, you can start massaging your breasts to clear the ducts. Also, use the breast shells (mentioned below) to draw out your nipples if your nipples are flat or inverted.

7. The best way to prepare for breastfeeding is to attend a breastfeeding class; ask at your hospital.

Things You Might Need When You Prepare for Breastfeeding

1. A good breast pump: This is for mothers who will need to increase their milk supply or store breast milk for later.

2. A comfortable nursing bra for convenience and support. (Buy your bras after 36 weeks of pregnancy so that you don’t get one that's going to be too small)

3. Get a proper breastfeeding pillow for support and comfort.

4. Get breast shells if you have inverted or flat nipples, which can be used from five months of pregnancy to draw out your nipple in preparation for breastfeeding.

5. Set up a nursing station in a quiet room with a comfortable chair and plenty of pillows for support.

6. A sling can help keep you on the move while you breastfeed on demand. This promotes bonding, skin-to-skin contact, and increased breast milk production.

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Things That You Should Not Do When Preparing for Breastfeeding

1. Do not toughen your nipples. Your nipples need to be supple for breastfeeding; toughening them will cause them to crack. Wash your nipples with water alone. No soap is necessary.

2. Don’t listen to just anyone's opinion on what you should do. Uncover the infamous breastfeeding myths.

3. Do not keep formula nearby. Your breasts need stimulation and giving your baby a bottle will cause you to produce less milk.

Is Breastfeeding Important?


Breast Leaking While Pregnant
by Angel

I'm a month away from having my third child. I've breastfed the first two. I'm a working mom, so I also pumped.

I had pain in my right breast and couldn't figure it out. I told my husband about it. The best way to describe it was when I'd get a clog when I nursed. It hurt, it was kind of hard, and nothing was making it better. So he said try pumping.

Thinking nothing would happen, I tried. I got over an ounce of milk. Very yellowy milk. But milk. And I haven't had a baby yet. Everything I'm finding says you can't have milk before baby, but I do. Have you ever heard of it before? Can I save it and store it for when the baby arrives?

Milk before baby
by: Katelin Granados

I always leaked breast milk with both of my children when I was pregnant. It started around 6-7 months along. I would say it's fine to store for your baby; it sounds like a very early form of colostrum.

by: Tracy

Yes, this is normal. Many moms start leaking before giving birth; some breastfeed right through their pregnancies.

There is nothing wrong with expressing breast milk while you are pregnant.

Some believe that if you have a risky pregnancy with the possibility of a miscarriage, nipple stimulation might be a bad idea. Still, if you have a healthy pregnancy, you don't need to worry about that.