During the third trimester, many parents-to-be prepare for their new baby by purchasing a crib, stroller, diapers, and other essentials. However, it's necessary to properly prepare for one of the most important aspects of having a new baby by learning how to start breastfeeding after delivery.
Why should I breastfeed my newborn?
Breastfeeding is an excellent way to provide additional health benefits to your baby’s life. For example, it's nutrient-rich and packed with antibodies which can help your baby stay healthy and ward off infections and illnesses when they are especially susceptible.
Additionally, breastfeeding can help prevent asthma, allergies, diabetes, and more. Plus, a breastfed baby also benefits breastfeeding mothers. For example, it can help you build a bond with your new baby. It can even help lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.
Here are a few tips to help you prep for breastfeeding in the third trimester, along with an FAQ section you can refer to after the baby is born.
How to Prepare for Breastfeeding in the Third Trimester
Learning how to successfully breastfeed after delivery starts much earlier, even in the second and third trimesters. The tips below will help you begin the breastfeeding process before your baby is born, ensuring your breastfeeding journey is more manageable.
1. Adhere to Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is an essential step in preparing for breastfeeding during the third trimester. This includes consistent meetings with your doctor to ensure your baby is healthy during the pregnancy. Prenatal care also allows you to discuss any health issues that may arise during your pregnancy that could potentially prevent you from breastfeeding.
Additionally, prenatal care can offer you an estimate of when your baby will be delivered. If your baby is premature (signs can help predict this), you will likely find it harder to breastfeed a preemie. Generally, premature babies are not as strong as babies born at term, so they can grow tired quickly.
Pumping your breast milk into a bottle using a Momcozy wearable breast pump can help you better adjust the angle for feeding your baby, making it easier for preemie babies to get their nutrients.
2. Talk Next Steps With Your Doctor
During prenatal care, should your doctor find any issues that may prevent breastfeeding, you can consult with them for the next steps. Your doctor's appointments are also a great time to gather breastfeeding tips and resources. Your doctor may even alert you to additional beneficial services, such as a lactation consultant who can offer insight into breastfeeding questions and issues you may encounter.
3. Get Ahead With Breastfeeding Products
While getting distracted with cute baby apparel can be easy, you must have the proper breastfeeding tools. Having the tools ready for you after you give birth will make the transition into breastfeeding much easier and more convenient. For example, breast-pumping bras are an excellent way to gather your milk supply while performing other tasks, such as spending time with your newborn.
Below is a list of breastfeeding products to consider purchasing before you bring your new baby home.
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing pads
- Breast milk storage bags
- Hands-free pump bra(or any pumping bra)
- Wearable breast pump
- Nursing cover
- Quick clean wipes
- Lactation massager
- Nursing bras
This is by no means a complete list, though it will help you be better prepared when your baby arrives.
4. Take a Breastfeeding Class
Breastfeeding classes are especially beneficial for first-time moms, as they can teach you all about breastfeeding. In a class, you may learn different ways to hold your baby while feeding, how to create enough milk, how to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat, tips to ensure your baby latches, etc.
Many informative local breastfeeding classes are available, with online classes available if you can't find any nearby options.
How long after birth can you start breastfeeding?
You won’t need to wait long before you start breastfeeding after delivery. A healthy baby will generally be ready to breastfeed beginning 1-2 hours after you give birth. These first few hours are crucial for breastfeeding. If your baby’s sucking in a rhythmic pattern within the first hour, this generally helps your breasts with milk production. Hence, why many people refer to the first hour as the "magic hour."
What should I expect for the first feeding?
In an ideal world, your newborn baby will be put on your chest directly after delivery, with your baby's mouth near your breast. Then, you can start trying to see if your baby is ready for early breastfeeding. Remember that your baby may not be hungry or ready to eat immediately. However, it's best to try and see what happens.
During this process, it’s best to allow the baby to do the “breast crawl,” meaning your baby should be allowed to find the nipple on its own so it can self-attach. You’ll want to support your baby in one of the feeding positions learned in a breastfeeding class. Though, the nurses or doctor can help with positioning if your baby is having trouble latching. This is also a great time for you to enjoy the skin-to-skin time.
Tip: Start the first breastfeeding session by lying in a partially reclined position. Typically, this position is the easiest to feed your baby for the first time.
How can I induce my breast milk after delivery?
Typically, breast milk is already produced in the body at 12-18 weeks. This type of milk is known as colostrum which is full of carbs, protein, and antibodies. After about two weeks, your milk production will increase, and you'll produce mature breast milk.
When your baby begins sucking on your breasts after birth, it stimulates the blood flow, which helps you produce milk. If you aren't producing milk after birth, try the tips below to help induce more milk.
- Try using a pump to retrieve milk, even if it’s only a small amount
- Massage your breasts while pumping to help push the liquid out
- Continue to pump during the day regardless of how much milk is expressed
- Get plenty of sleep, and drink sufficient water
- Start with a hot shower, heating pad, or another source of warmth before pumping
- Listening to relaxing music or meditation while pumping can boost your breastmilk production.
Using the above tips and reading through the frequently asked questions, you'll be a breastfeeding expert in no time!
Remember, it will take a few weeks for you and your baby to get accustomed to breastfeeding. It may feel frustrating during these weeks, though you’ll greatly improve through daily feedings and build a strong bond with your baby simultaneously.