Breast-Feeding Your Baby

How to prepare yourself mentally and physically for breast-feeding your child. Plus Information on how to get your family to support you.

Breastfeeding can be a scary experience. But if you never breastfed before it could be frustrating if you don't prepare ahead for the effect, it will have on your body.

Here is a list of suggestions you can to prepare your breast for breastfeeding.

First step you should to before you breastfeed is to educate yourself. Read Books. Attend breastfeeding classes. Talk to a lactation counselor, family, and friends who have experience breastfeeding. This will ease some of the emotional consequences of breastfeeding. In addition, it will dispel some of the myths associated with pregnancy.

You can toughen up your nipples. There are contradictory reports on the effectiveness of this. However, there is no harm in trying. You can do this by exposing your breast to air each day. If you sunbathe you may want to go topless (only if you are in the privacy of your own home. We don't want you to be arrested.) You can also choose not to wear a bra and allow your nipples to brush against your clothing thus desensitizing them.

If you have flat or inverted nipples, wear a breast shield in the last part of your pregnancy. You can also push the sides of your nipple and help your nipple become normal. This is not harmful, it means that the middle part of the nipple is inverted. Breast shields will bring the nipple out so it won't be any trouble if you decide to breastfeed.

Avoid washing your nipples with soap. Just like your face, soap can dry out your nipples and the are surrounding your nipples causing them to be uncomfortable and cracked. You may want to rinse off with water instead washing with soap and water. If you find the area around your breast dry, apply some lotion to moisturize them. Don't rub them with a wash cloth or dry them roughly with a towel. This will do more harm than good.

Massage your breast. This can be useful in preparing you for breastfeeding by allowing you to learn how to handle your breast. You may find that some colostrum will leak out. If so, rub it into your breast. This can help in soreness when you first begin to breastfeed.

Before birth is a good time to prepare emotionally for breastfeeding. We all know that breastfeeding is the best nutrients for our children but others will still try to discourage you by not being supportive and telling you you're doing it wrong. These people are well intention but it can be disruptive to the process. Talk to your loved ones about your intention on breastfeeding and ask to please be supportive and refrain from negative comments while you breastfeed. If you are a sensitive person, you may need to avoid these people completely. You may also want to ask a lactation counselor to dispel some of the beliefs associated with breastfeeding with your family.

For more information about classes and/or finding a support person call the La Leche League at

1(800) LALECHE.


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