Preparing for Breastfeeding
To breastfeed your baby you must be physically and mentally prepared for breastfeeding.
Diet and Rest
Your body will always produce good quality breastmilk for your baby regardless of your diet.
Women in third world countries breastfeed successfully. However, it is necessary for your own well-being to eat well. You should also try to get adequate rest. Even a short nap when the baby is sleeping will improve the amount of milk you produce and it will help you feel better too.
In order to stay in good health try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables. These contain lots of iron which is necessary for breastmilk production. Red meat is another excellent source of iron. Vegetarians can successfully breastfeed although extra dietary care may be required.
You may find it helpful to take a vitamin or iron supplement but, as with all medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist that it is safe to take when breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can be tiring. Keep up your energy levels by eating healthy meals and snacks. Try to have a good supply of fresh fruit and vegetables at home. You should also try to eat cheese, wholemeal bread, pasta, tinned tuna and salmon. It is also a good idea to make yourself sandwiches and omeletes to keep up your energy levels rather than snacking on high calorie, junk food.
You may notice that certain foods seem to disagree with your baby - grapes are commonly found to be troublesome - and he may seem a little unsettled or windy afterwards. Try to avoid any foods that appear to cause problems. Remember too that, unlike formula milk, the changing taste of breastmilk is good preparation for a varied diet when the baby is older. You may find he enjoys trying new foods when weaning.
Perhaps the most important preparation you can make for breastfeeding is not to place too much pressure on yourself to succeed.
Take it one feed at a time and one day at a time. By doing so you will not feel like you have failed if you do not continue to breastfeed for as long as you had hoped; ironically, you will actually be more likely to succeed.
Join A Breastfeeding Support Group
Another useful thing you can do is to join a breastfeeding support group where you can meet other mothers who are breastfeeding to chat, share stories and compare notes. By having a new circle of friends the experience of breastfeeding will not be so isolating. Everyone has their own experience and solutions to problems to share; often that will be enough to spur you on to another week of breastfeeding!
Before you know it you will not be the new mum looking for answers, but rather an expert breastfeeder contributing to the group in her own right!
Dr Jack Newman:
Treat Yourself to Me Time!
Or, if you're currently struggling with a busy lifestyle and the added demands of parenting, try our Perfect Relaxation for Parents mp3 - take time out for yourself and awaken refreshed and ready to face whatever life throws at you!
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