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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pregnant: How to prepare for breastfeeding

Last month, I received this message on my Facebook page:
I am pregnant with my second baby and really want to successfully breastfeed him coz I failed the first time. Im still on my 17th week though but if I can do something as early as now to prepare myself for that, I'd gladly do so. What can you suggest?
I've been receiving similar concerns via email and private message so I decided to compile some tips which I hope will be useful not only to new moms, but also to moms new to breastfeeding.

Attend breastfeeding classes.  LATCH has classes every other month at The Medical City.  We will also be having classes in various locations on alternate months.  Be sure to watch our Facebook page for details.  St. Luke's also has classes through its Breastfeeding Working Group.  Contact them here for schedules. A word of advice - make sure you attend classes organized by groups or individuals with no conflicts of interests.  Do not attend events sponsored or organized by milk companies or bottle/teat manufacturers.  Not only are they violating the Milk Code, business interests will be prioritized over breastfeeding interests.

Read and research.  Subscribe to my blog :) and read relevant websites such as La Leche League, Nancy Mohrbacher, Kellymom, Dr. Jack Newman, WABA's Breastfeeding Gateway and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Also check out local breastfeeding forums like LATCH Moms Cebu or Breastfeeding Pinays.  Being prepared is already half the battle won.  Manage your expectations also by reading my post here.  

Surround yourself with the right support.  I fully believe that it takes a village to raise a breastfeeding child. Check my previous post about that here.   The right start entails having supportive people - people on the same page as you.  How do you do that?   Make sure that when you attend classes, read and research and share the information with the people around you such as your partner, parents, in laws, siblings, yayas -- anyone and everyone who will be with you during the early days of your newborn.

Of course, it is important to find the right A-Team - ob-gyne or midwife, pediatrician and hospital.  Read my previous post on how to choose a breastfeeding friendly pediatrician.  Interview friends and relatives on their experiences giving birth at xx hospital or lying-in.  Ask about the breastfeeding rates of the hospital.  Keep this number on your phone - 6517800.  This is the number of the Department of Health's Central Office Bureau of Health Facilities and Services, where you can report violations.  If you will not be giving birth in Metro Manila, look for the phone number of the Licensing Division of the Department of Health's Center for Health Development Regional Office.

This is also a good time to build your breastfeeding contacts - a friend, a peer counselor, a lactation counselor, a support group - make sure you have their numbers on speed dial.

Prepare your breastfeeding plan and birth plan.  Check out these pages below and customize it according to your needs.
From the Department of Health's Mother and Child Book (2013 version)
Know your rights and print out the Unang Yakap flier to know what the hospital should be doing and to remind the hospital of what needs to be done.  Breastfeed immediately and often and room in.  No, your baby won't get germs from your visitors and no, it is not the time to rest because you just gave birth. Frequent nursing builds up your milk supply.

Don't be afraid to get help.  If you are having breastfeeding problems, ask for help!  Don't be a martyr.  Do check out also my previous post on solutions to the challenging first few weeks of breastfeeding.

Most importantly, trust and believe in yourself.  Doubting your supply and stressing over it is a sure way to affect you and your baby.  Your baby was nourished by your body before birth and your body CAN continue to nourish your baby.  Trust your baby also that your baby wants to and will learn to breastfeed.

What did you do to prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant?

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