How do I prepare for breastfeeding?
- There is really no physical preparation that is necessary for breastfeeding. Education about the benefits and practice of breastfeeding is the best preparation. Contrary to some popular beliefs, it is not necessary to "toughen up" or prepare the nipples in advance for breastfeeding. Some techniques of stimulating the nipples may actually be harmful.
- Sometimes women prepare for breastfeeding by exposing the nipples to air for a certain amount of time each day; while this has not been shown to be medically useful, it is likely not harmful either.
- Take a breastfeeding class. Your hospital may offer breastfeeding classes as part of the childbirth class. These classes can put you in touch with a lactation specialist who may later be your personal breastfeeding consultant.
- Join your local La Leche League or other breastfeeding support group. Call 800-LA LECHE to find your local leader.
- Talk with supportive friends who encourage your feeding choices.
- Learn proper positioning and latch-on techniques.
- During pregnancy, establish good vitamin D stores for both you and the baby. A mother with adequate nutrition gives her infant two months' worth of vitamin D after delivery.
- Take your prenatal vitamin. However, since prenatal vitamins have only 400 IU of vitamin D, try to do some of the following things:
- Drink milk or eat other sources of dairy: three to four servings per day during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester.
- Spend at least 15-20 minutes per day outside with arms and legs exposed to the sunlight without sunscreen (we activate our stored vitamin D through the sun).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2016
Allahyar Jazayeri, MD, PhD
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