Preparing myself for Breastfeeding

  • I have no real fear of the actual breastfeeding my baby part.  The part I worry about the most is what items I need to breasfeed, and what will actually happen when I go back to work.  My initial plan is to be full time breast feeding for at least the first 4-6 weeks, then work in the bottle and pumping.  It has been suggested to not start pumping until after 4 weeks if the baby is having a hard time or not on a regular schedule, and can start a minimum of 2 weeks if baby is doing great and on schedule.  Since I have never had a baby what are the chances of a first time Mom doing great the first go around??  Also, I am only 32 weeks and my breasts are already leaking some.  So I have bought a nursing bra and some pads to help myself out for at work.  When the baby is here and I go back to work I imagine it being 10x more than it is now.  What do I need to arm myself at work from leaky messes??  A few other questions/concerns I have are what clothing items are really needed for feedings, and how do I determine what size nursing bras to buy??  I am looking to all you experienced working Moms to help me out.  Thanks!!!!

  • My 12-month old has never eaten a drop of formula & I work outside the home full-time.  So I have some experience in this area.

    Items you'll need--not many:  You don't need commercial items to breastfeed.  That's one of the best parts!  In the beginning, you can use some pillows from your bedroom or sofa in order to getinto a comfortable position.  One thing that has been a lifesaver for me is nursing camisoles from Target.  They allow me to keep my torso covered when I have to feed my baby while I'm out running errands and hanging out with friends.

    You can be successful at breastfeding!:   Have you gone to a La Leche League meeting yet? I think that being around other breastfeeding moms and being able to ask questions is a great start.  Also, it helps a lot to know what to expect.  Mom's don't always get easy access to lactation consultants once the baby has arrived. I can recommend some great books and online resources, if you'd like.

    Pumping:  You can always start pumping around 5-6 weeks like you've planned.  You can just store the milk in the freezer.  It's good for about 4 months in a regular freezer--longer in a deep freezer

    Leaking:   The amount of milk you make will normalize once your body "knows" how much your baby eats.  So the "leaky messes" don't last for too long.  In the beginning your body has to figure out how milk much to make.  It doesn't know if you have multiples, or maybe VERY hungry baby.  However, production works on supply and demand.  Nurse your baby whenever he's hungry and your body will begin to make just what your baby needs.

    Nursing bra size:  Many places that sell nursing bras will help you with sizing.


    Congratulations on your decision.  I love breastfeeding my baby! 

  • Breastfeeding is an adventure. As with each person's delivery, each person's breastfeeding experience is also very different. My sisternlaw's son is 6 weeks older than my daughter (she is 4.5 months now). Thankfully I've had her to refer to, although her experience has been so much easier. Firstly, I would make myself aware of nipple sheilds. They are available at Target or even at the hospital upon request. I did not know about these and went through horrible pain for the first week. You are only supposed to use them for a week or two then ween them off of it but honestly I still use one at every feeding (but some babies do not eat as well as needed using one). Also, I began  pumping when she was 5 days old because I was engorged so bad that she couldn't latch on, therefore pumping got some milk out so that she could latch on. As with working, I went back to work and could feel my breasts let down every two hours because that's how often she ate. As I continued working, my breasts basically backed off and only performed when needed. I wear Lansinoh pads everyday and they only leak a tiny bit if they let down. Some people can feel them let down some people can't. Mine actually leaked more when she was first born than they do now. I know quite a few people who have said their breasts leak in a hot shower but mine don't. Some people also try to have their child on a time-table but I tried that in the beginning and it only got us more confused! I just let her eat when she was hungry and she got herself on a 2 hour schedule. You will really just have to learn as you go and you and your baby will make your own routine. I'd be glad to answer any questions I can. Good Luck!

  • Your chance of doing great as a first time mom are great. I have breastfed two children with great success, including my first. The best advice I can give is that if you really want to do it you just need to commit yourself and stick to it. It can be challenging, as far as time requirements, at first. Stick through the rough patches because it gets so much easier.  As far as what you need- I would start with some great nursing tanks, from target or motherhood maternity. I have found that the Johnson's brand nursing pads work very well. They are not individually wrapped, so it is easier to get to them in a hurry. The wrapped ones may be good for on the go. The Johnson's are very absorbent and discreet. The bra's I usually wear are a size bigger than your pregnancy size.  I have found that the tanks are great for overnight. They keep the nursing pads in place and have easy access to feed. I would say to get at least 4 tanks and two bras.

    As far as pumping goes I usually started right away because of engorgement. I know that it is advised that you don't, but I never had a problem. But two weeks is a good time to start. I would start a bottle around then also, if everything is going fine. My second would not take a bottle ever because we never started. So if you plan on working start with at least one a day after 2 or 3 weeks.

    Good luck to you. It will all work out the way it is supposed to.

  • Congrats on your pregnancy! Odds are, you will do very well when it comes to breastfeeding. The way you are thinking ahead and preparing yourself is a big first step in the process. If I could suggest, going to a breastfeeding class will give you some fabulous information and get you in contact with lactation consultants who can help you if you face any issues down the line. Breast pads are fabulous for stopping leaky messes. I, personally, found that the Lansinoh breast pads were the most absorbent and leak-free for me. Nursing bras usually ought to be a bit bigger than your current size. I tended to buy ones that were rather sports bra like because they had room to grow if I needed. When you are dressing for work, consider what will be easy to pull up/down to pump with. Things that are empire waisted, very form fitting, etc. can be a little more difficult to get up and down. It will all start to become second nature once you get going with feeding. You will do wonderfully! :-)
  • Experts recommend NOT scheduling.  Scheduling can lead to inadequate milk supply. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you offer the baby the breast any time the baby shows signs of hungriness.