POV: You're approaching your baby's arrival and you're getting excited to breastfeed!
What can you do to prepare for the moment your baby latches for the first time, to create smoothness and ease in a task that so many say is difficult, and build the confidence to trust your instincts?
Let's break it down:
During pregnancy, your body is already preparing to breastfeed your baby.
Your breast tissues are changing, even if you haven't noticed.
Your milk glands are producing colostrum, the first milk your baby receives after birth. Colostrum is sometimes called "liquid gold" because it has the appearance and consistency of a yellowish gold nectar, while holding concentrated nutrients, antibodies, and factors that support gut and brain development from the very beginning. You may notice that your breasts become larger or feel heavier throughout pregnancy. You may also find evidence of colostrum dried in your bra, or droplets when you massage your breasts.
You may also notice that your areolas become larger or darker, and the small bumps on your areolas, sometimes called "montgomery glands" become more prominent. These glands produce and oily substance that helps lubricate your skin while your baby breastfeeds.
This is just the first phase of breastmilk production. The second phase occurs when your baby and their placenta is born, after which you will notice your colostrum begin to change into white milk.
While your body is hard at work preparing for birth, there are some things you can do to support it's efforts and optimize your breastfeeding experience.
Make Conscious Decisions for Your Birth & Postpartum Support.
Who you invite into your birth & postpartum space matters. Every person on your support team should feel like a supportive addition to your space. Use your pregnancy to build relationships with the members of your support team, filter out what feels good & replace what isn't vibing well with you. Investing your energy in the right (for you) places, people, and resources secures a solid foundation for you to receive it back ten-fold come your birth time.
Learn & Practice Breast Massage
Breast massage is a great way to connect with your body while encouraging healthy movement of blood, lymph, and milk in your breasts. It's an amazing tool for preventing the "stuck" feeling that comes with engorgement or clogged ducts, helps improve milk letdown, and promotes overall breast health whether you are breastfeeding or not!
Buy Less, Trust Yourself More
There are about a million infant feeding / breastfeeding supplies on the market and someone behind each one telling moms they need them. YOU DON'T. In fact, I'd say the more you buy "just in case," the more susceptible you become to captilism-induced self doubt. The only things you truly need for breastfeeding are your baby and your breasts, and while some supplies can be incredibly supportive, most are not.
Build Your Nest
The top tier things that help lock in breastfeeding success can be found at home. Stock your kitchen with nourishing foods, get yourself an awesome thermos with a removable straw, and keep your most used daily essentials next to every spot you like to nest in: your bed, your favorite chair, and your diaper bag for on-the-go ease. Whereever possible, find ways to infuse rest, warmth, nourishment, love, peace & joy throughout your day.