How Can You Prepare Nipples for Breastfeeding?

Are you gunning to become a first-time mom and you want to know how you can prepare nipples for breastfeeding, and thus get your breast ready for your newborn? It’s very okay for you to ask questions such as this since you’re going to be a mom for the first time, but here is the thing, don’t let anxiety rob you of the joy that comes with being a mom.

The truth is that your body is already doing everything it needs to prepare itself for breastfeeding, so there is no need to be anxious about it. During pregnancy, your breasts naturally get ready to breastfeed the newborn.

On a normal, the color of your areola; the dark area around your nipple, changes and becomes darker during pregnancy. Some people also experience changes in texture as well.

This transformation shows that the breast is getting ready to deliver, it’s getting prepared for the job it’s supposed to do which is breastfeeding.

There is no need to patronize some products on the market claiming to help prepare your nipples for breastfeeding.


How Can You Prepare Nipples for Breastfeeding Before Baby?

Breastfeeding is one of the most valuable things you can do to help the growth and development of the newborn. It is also something that a brand new mom has never done before, and according to medical health experts, there is absolutely nothing you need to do or know to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding.

Many experts advise exclusively breastfeeding your child for six months. This is because breast milk has everything your baby needs to develop into a strong and healthy toddler.

Those babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives can benefit from the antibodies that are present in breast milk which help them to get rid of pathogenic microorganisms capable of infecting them. They also get immune to certain infections such as ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illness.

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What to Eat to Prepare for Breastfeeding

While you’re pregnant, your body system gets prepared for feeding your baby. In the second trimester, your body begins to store a good level of energy necessary for the production of breast milk. The kind of food that you should be consuming should be those that fuel milk production.

Go for protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, cowpea, and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables like fresh cabbage and cucumber.

Try as much as possible each variety of food, as that will help to change the taste or flavor of your breast milk. It will help to introduce your baby to various kinds of tastes which will help him or her to take in solid food after the period of 6 months exclusive.

Ensure you take in water in a good quantity and if your urine coloration is dark yellow, it shows that you’re not taking enough water.

To be on the safer side, take a glass of water or nonalcoholic drink each time you breast breastfeed your baby but ensure you reduce to the barest minimum, the intake of sugary drinks as it might lead to weight gain.

Avoid the intake of caffeine as well, because it goes straight into your breast milk and once your baby ingests it, it might interfere with your baby’s sleep. It’s best to leave it totally.

READ ALSO: Can I Drink Thai Iced Tea While Breastfeeding a Baby


How to Know If Your Breasts Are Ready for Breastfeeding

During your second trimester, your body gets ready to produce breast milk and while you’re pregnant, your mammary gland enlarges to support milk production.

In the last trimester, drops of breast milk might start to come out to show readiness. After delivery, your body releases a hormone called prolactin, and now it’s fully ready for breastfeeding.


Items That You Need to Prepare for Your Breastfeeding

To breastfeed successfully, you don’t need anything more than your breasts and your baby.

These six handy things can help make breastfeeding more comfortable and make nursing easier.

1. Breast pump

Breast pumps are used to collect milk from your breast to feed your baby in your absence, to control swallowing of breast milk, or promote an increase in your milk supply.

Breast pumps can be of great importance when you are first breastfeeding. At this stage, your breast milk may be full and heavy but your baby might not be able to finish it in a single feeding. All you need to do is to pump it and store it for future use.

The breast pump is also beneficial when someone is looking after your baby in your absence. It will enable your baby to enjoy the same food flavor even in your absence.

2. Nursing pillow

A comfortable nursing pillow can help support your baby by lifting them to the level of your breast.
There are slight differences between regular household or throw pillows and nursing pillows. The pillow was specifically designed for you and the baby.

A nursing pillow is very useful in reducing strain on your back, neck, shoulders, and arms so that nursing is more comfortable for you than a regular pillow. It is also helpful for people with large breasts, those recovering from C-sections, or moms nursing twins.

It can also be maintained the same way you maintain your regular pillows because just like regular pillows, it has a cover that can be removed and washed.

3. Nursing bra

Nursing bras are comfortable and provide extra support to your breasts that will be full and larger in size. Their flaps can easily be removed during feeding time and will help to reduce strain on your back and shoulder as well.

Don’t be in a hurry to buy a nursing bra, wait till the final weeks of your pregnancy then your breasts will be closest to their postpartum size.

Always go for bras that are not too constrictive making you susceptible to plugged ducts and mastitis.

4. Breast pads

Breast pads, also called Nursing pads, are disc-like pads that can be placed inside your bra to soak up any milk that leaks from your breasts. Remember that It’s normal for your breasts to leak while you’re nursing.

They are very absorbent and also offer comfort for sore nipples. There are disposable and washable versions and can be placed inside your nursing bra.

5. Breastfeeding Clothes

These clothes are designed for nursing mothers and they have flaps or slits in the front so that you can breastfeed without having to pull up or remove anything.

It offers more coverage when breastfeeding than lifting your shirt or unbuttoning your top. They also help to reduce the exposure of your breast when your baby is nursing.

6. Nipple creams

This is used for a purpose, it’s a treatment for sore nipples. Most women experience this during the early breastfeeding stage.

Your nipple should be treated with care, buy water-based nipple cream instead of scented once for the sake of your baby’s health.

Be sure to keep your nipples clean and dry before and after nursing to avoid irritation and chafing due to wet breasts inside the bra.

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Breastfeeding Hygiene Tips

While breastfeeding, it is important to maintain some breastfeeding and personal hygiene like washing your hands and arms to reduce contamination of diseases.

Below are tips on how to keep your nipple clean to shield the newborn from ingesting germs:

1. Always wash your hands and breast before feeding.

Always make it a habit to wash your breasts and hands before feeding your baby and also maintain general hygiene to avoid exposure to bacteria.

2. Avoid scented products.

While there are nipple lotions and creams available, avoid the use of scented products. Also, do not use scented soaps or anything with an alcohol content to wash your nipples to avoid dryness which may be harmful to your baby.

3. Wear loose clothes.

Loose undergarments increase airflow. Tight wear restricts airflow and this can help the growth of bacteria around the breast area. Go for cotton nursing bras that do not have an underwire. Synthetic ones can increase sweating and promotes bacterial growth.

4. Sweating during feeding should be discouraged.

Take a quick shower or at least clean your breasts after exercise before feeding your baby to reduce sweat. Breastfeeding your baby with sweat-filled breasts might make your baby very uncomfortable. He or she may even reject your breast milk at that time. So, avoid wears made with synthetic, they make you sweat profusely.

5. Daily changing of your nursing clothes is very important.

Ensure to change your nursing bras daily as they tend to get dirtier faster than the regular ones due to regular handling and leakages from the breast. It is good to let your breasts breathe so do take off your nursing bra for some time.

6. Ensure proper Cleaning of your breast pump.

Do not use the same sponge that you use for other utensils to wash breast pumps. You may start feeding your baby with pumped milk after a few months.

So, you must always sanitize the breast pump and keep it in a very clean environment. You can designate a special area for washing your baby pump to avoid contamination.

7. Change your nursing pads frequently.

Put a clean nursing pad into your bra every time that you feel that they’re soaked. Nursing pads are absorbent shields between your breast and the outer layer of your clothes.

Once they do their job of absorbing excess milk, the wet and sugar-filled environment turns into a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.

It is recommended that you frequently change them out once they are soaked to reduce the chances of irritation and infection.

8. Feed on demand.

It is very necessary to feed your baby whenever they want to feed. Regularly feeding will help to ensure that your breast milk supply is stable, and regularly emptying your breast will help to resolve problems like blocked ducts and engorgement at bay.


Significance Of Breastfeeding to Both Baby And Mother

Breastfeeding is one of the most valuable things you can do to help the growth and development of your newborn. It helps to raise smarter children, helps to boost the immune system of the baby, and also helps in the contraction of the uterus.

1. Breastfeeding reduces the rate of contracting disease for you and your baby.

According to research, breastfeeding moms have long-term protection against cancer and other similar diseases. It’s been said that mothers who breastfeed often have a lower tendency to suffer from high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, etc.

2. It saves time and money breastfeeding.

It will help you save the money that you should ordinarily spend on baby formula and feeding utensils, and also save you the time you will spend cleaning and sterilizing the feeding bottle and mixing and warming of baby’s food. Breast milk is always on standby at the right temperature and ready to drink.

3. It may prevent menstruation.

The suspension of menstrual cycles may be nature’s way of ensuring there is a gap between pregnancies. Breastfeeding also halts ovulation and menstruation. Continued breastfeeding also pauses ovulation and menstruation.

4. Breastfeeding may help the mother to lose weight.

Breastfeeding does burn more calories and after about 3 months of breastfeeding, you will likely experience an increase in fat burning compared to non-lactating mothers.

Most women gain weight during breastfeeding, others seem to effortlessly lose weight.

5. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for babies

During the first days after birth, your breasts produce what is called colostrum.

Colostrum contains a high amount of protein and every other nutrient your baby needs to survive.

Medical experts advise that you make sure that your baby takes colostrum because of how important it is in building immunity.

6. It promotes uterus contraction.

Your uterus grows immensely during pregnancy. After childbirth, it returns to its previous size through a process called involution.

This process is driven by the help of a hormone called oxytocin, a hormone that increases throughout pregnancy. Oxytocin also increases during breastfeeding, encouraging uterine contractions and reducing bleeding to the barest minimum, and also, helps the uterus to return to its previous size.

7. Breast milk contains important antibodies.

A formula doesn’t provide antibody protection for babies but breast milk is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria, which is critical in those tender, early months.

8. Breastfeeding may make children smarter.

Several kinds of research showed that there may be differences in brain development between breastfed and formula-fed babies. Babies who are breastfed as required have been said to have higher intelligence quotient and are less likely to develop behavioral problems or have learning difficulties as they grow older.

In all, ensure that you breastfeed your baby well. Most especially the first breast milk which is called the colostrum.

According to experts, it’s best to feed your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months to help them build strong immunity against pathogenic bacteria.

And also ensure that you feed well, taking in a balanced diet as often as possible.