Breastfeeding Prep

Baby breastfeedingExperts disagree about the need to condition your nipples for breastfeeding. Some suggest that you rub your nipples with a clean, dry washcloth from time to time during pregnancy to condition them. You can also gently pinch your nipples and extend them. Here is a breast massage oil that can be used during pregnancy to soothe your changing breasts and soften your nipples:

BREAST MASSAGE OIL

  • 2 teaspoons sweet almond or grapeseed oil
  • 1 drop rose essential oil
  • Mix together and apply gently to nipples. Massage oil into breasts.

WATCH YOUR BACK

Breastfeeding is all about posture. If you can get comfortably situated in a cozy rocking chair with a big glass of water nearby, you can nurse all day. If you’re not comfortable, however, you won’t enjoy the experience. These exercises stretch your pregnant back and strengthen it for breastfeeding.

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms above your head. Slowly stretch your upper body as you reach up and forward. Move your arms gently from side to side.
  • Next, tighten the muscles in your buttocks as you lower your arms and place your palms against the small of your back with your fingers pointing downward.
  • Exhale as you arch backward. Look up at the ceiling if you can. Hold for 5 seconds. Come up gradually while keeping your back straight
  • Variation: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and place your hands on your waist. Gently twist your upper torso from side

VISUALIZE BREASTFEEDING SUCCESS

Visualization is just a fancy word for something we do all the time. We are always making mental pictures of what’s to come. To visualize, you do not have to create an actual mental picture, but an impression or feeling. Try this simple visualization:

  • Sit upright in a chair, on a cushion or in your bed.
  • Chose your eyes.
  • Breathe gently for a few minutes until you feel relaxed. Imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair holding and breastfeeding your baby. Hear the contented coos of the baby. Notice the gentle sighs of your breathing. See the soft smiles on each of your faces. Just enjoy the scene for a few minutes as you rock back and forth and breathe deeply.
  • If other thoughts intrude, gently bring your attention back to your visualization.
  • To end, bring your attention back to your own breathing and then to the room. Slowly open your eyes.

BEST BREASTFEEDING BOOKS

  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger. To be prepared for breastfeeding, attend La Leche League meetings while you’re pregnant and read this comprehensive book.

BEST BREASTFEEDING HELP

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Peggy O'Mara newPeggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine from 1980 to 2011 and the editor-in-chief of Mothering.com from 1995 to 2012.. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.

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Peggy O'Mara

About Peggy O'Mara

Editor and Publisher of peggyomara.com. Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

2 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Prep

  1. Linda Healow

    I was surprised to read there is still controversy over the need for nipple preparation for breastfeeding. As I recall, friction that some believe leads to callous formation has been discounted, as it is repeated pressure on the skin that causes callous formation. Friction can easily cause tissue damage, as seen when an infant has a latch that rubs nipple tissue and causes painful blisters. It is my understanding that the Montgomery glands produce sebum, which in turn lubricates the areoler tissue, adding to suppleness. Natural oils could perform in a similar fashion, I suppose. I’ve heard anthropologists mention that in our culture perhaps handling the nipples & breasts during pregnancy could serve to overcome any cultural taboos, allowing the new mother to readily offer her breast to the infant and help with positioning. Positioning is everything with the newborn, and helping the mother and babe to find a comfortable, posturally-supported place to nurse helps the dyad relax during feeds. Positioning includes latch, and as breastfeeding, although ‘ natural’, is a learned behavior, the help of experienced peers, lactation specialists, or those knowledgable in breastfeeding can help get the mother & babe off to a good start.

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