As a first-time breastfeeding parent, you may have a lot of uncertainties. Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin, a Senior Lactation Consultant from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, shares some tips on the commonly asked questions that parents like yourself need to know while preparing for a smooth breastfeeding journey.
Question #1: As a first-time breastfeeding parent, do I need to buy all kind of products and essentials for my baby? What are some of the essential breastfeeding products and accessories I should get before my baby is born? Why is it important?
Enjoy the first few days of your baby’s life before deciding on your breastfeeding journey. Usually, accessories are not needed if your baby is breast feeding on demand. They are only needed when the mother is preparing and going back to work soon, whereby storage of breast milk is required.
1. Breast pump will be needed if you plan to bottle feed your breast milk for as long as you wish to. Make sure the breast shield size fit well onto your nipples. If you are planning to use a breast pump frequently, buy an electrical pump express simultaneously on both breasts. This would save you some time and have enough rest.
2. Bags or milk bottle to collect and store your breast milk.
3. A sterilizer to ensure the bottles and bottle teats are properly sterile before use.
4. A small tube of nipple cream to apply on sensitive nipples during the early feeding days.
5. Few pieces of comfortable bras, usually bigger bra sizes to facilitate convenience in breastfeeding. Do make sure there are no supporting wires as they may cause blocked ducts.
6. Lily pad from Ardo to stop milk from leaking on one breast while nursing the newborn on the other side
Question #2: At what stage of my pregnancy should I start shopping for breastfeeding essential and accessories?
Do start scouting around during the early stage so that you can choose the most suitable breast pump and accessories needed. In the event that you haven’t buy the items before delivery, most of the items are easily available around the maternity hospitals. The hospital nurses or Lactation Consultant would be able to advise on what are required and assist you during the process of breastfeeding.
Question #3: How would attending antenatal help prepare parents like myself for a smooth breastfeeding journey?
Breastfeeding classes are designed and aimed to provide expectant mothers with the knowledge and confidence to breastfeed successfully. The classes are usually run by accredited and recognised Lactation Consultants who have observed thousands of mothers with successful and unsuccessful breastfeeding outcome.
The classes cover information on avoiding potential breastfeeding issue and pitfalls in the early weeks like sore nipples and engorgement which many mothers worry about. A well-established breastfeeding class will include demonstration on how to massage the mother’s breasts and to hand express and collect breast milk properly. It usually also cover the type of breast pump which is most beneficial to the individual. Apart from these, research based evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding will be shared, and myths or frightening stories would be clarified.
All these motivate the mothers to take on total breastfeeding, preparing them mentally equipping them with the knowledge to persevere during this process.
Through our observations, couples who have the opportunity to prepare and ask questions during the sharing session, before the arrival of their new-born arrival, are more likely to be successful than those who do not.
Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Workman Publishing) said, “attending breastfeeding classes or reading breastfeeding materials takes the mystery out of it, information is empowering, and what you don’t know can scare you more than it should.”
Question #4: Is it important to let doctor / hospital know before delivery that I want to breastfeed exclusively? How does having a birth plan help in this instance?
Yes, do inform your obstetrician that you are committed to breastfeeding your new-born, so that he or she would be able to refer to a pediatrician who is supportive of the process.
It is encouraged to indicate your decision in the birth plan so that the nursing team will do their best to assist you from the beginning of your hospital stay.
More Frequently-Asked-Questions About Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding Q&A: How Can Pregnant Mums Prepare For Their Breastfeeding Journey?
By Ms. Yasa Yong Nyuk Yin
Senior Lactation Consultant
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
This article is part of Breastfeeding with Love campaign, initiated by The New Age Parents and New Age Pregnancy.
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