Mums should begin preparing to breastfeed when pregnant. There are many ways to get ready, including signing up for antenatal classes, and learning the proper breastfeeding techniques and positions. Breastfeeding accessories like breast pads, breast pumps and nursing bras can also be purchased after your second trimester.
Equip yourself with breastfeeding knowledge
- Learn about breastfeeding from books, reputable websites such as those with addresses ending with .org, or .gov, and websites written by a panel of experts.
Join antenatal classes/breastfeeding classes
- To gain hands-on experience and get information on breastfeeding from trained healthcare professionals during antenatal visits.
- Learn the correct breastfeeding techniques
Seek professional support
- Find a lactation counsellor/consultant. Research shows that getting professional advice helps improve confidence in breastfeeding, and increases the chance of success.
Consider joining a breastfeeding mother’s group
- To allow discussion about breastfeeding matters with experienced mothers and seek help, if needed. This helps to strengthen knowledge and motivation.
Enlist the support of family members
- Besides gaining support from husband, it is important to talk to other family members such as mother, mother in-law and other siblings about your decision to breastfeed. They all play a big role in contributing to the success of breastfeeding.
Be mentally prepared and determined
- As long as you are determined, nothing can stop you from giving your baby the best.
Choosing the most comfortable breastfeeding position for you and your baby, and mastering the correct breastfeeding technique are the keys to breastfeeding successfully.
It’s important that baby latches on, or attaches, well to the breast as this will prevent many breastfeeding problems. Good attachment helps to prevent any nipple pain from sore, grazed or cracked nipples. It also ensures that the breasts drain well, which will help maintain the good milk supply baby needs in order to be healthy.
When a baby is not latched on properly, milk flow is lessened. This can lead to a blocked duct, or mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue that causes pain, swelling, warmth and redness.
To ensure baby latches on correctly:
|1. Hold your baby close to you with his nose level at your nipple. Brush you baby’s lips lightly across your nipple. If he is well positioned, he should already be right by your nipple.|
|2. When his mouth opens wide, quickly move his head onto your breast so that he can take a good deep mouthful of breast, not just the nipple.|
|3. Your nipple should point towards the roof of his mouth.|
|1. Cross arm position
|2. Cradle position
|3. Underarm / football hold position
|4. Lying down on side position
There are many different types of breastfeeding accessories. Here’s a list of accessories and their uses. Bear in mind that not all of these accessories are necessary for all mothers. Mothers should always consult a lactation nurse/consultant or an experienced mother before deciding to purchase these items.
To express breast milk when you are unable to breastfeed your baby, especially when you are away from baby, such as back to work,
start practising at least 2 weeks before returning to work.
To store expressed breast milk. Containers normally come with measuring scales on the side, and can be fitted with a teat when the milk is needed. Storage bags are handy as they are sterilised, food grade bags, and save storage space.
To give breasts good support. These bras are also gentle on breasts, in case of sore nipples; and the cups may be conveniently unclasped for feeds.
To bring your baby up to the right level and for you to be well supported when you’re breastfeeding him. You can either use a couple of pillows or a v-shaped nursing pillow
To prevent the leaking of breast milk onto clothing. Alternatively, you can also use small towels.
To be worn inside your bra, shells protect your nipples from chafing only if you have sore nipple. They also collect leaking breast milk.
To sooth engorged breasts. They can be either cooled or warmed, and then placed inside your bra. Alternatively, you can also try using hot or cold towel.
To protect sore or cracked nipples during breastfeeding as a temporary measure. Not recommended for long term use.
For further information on infant and child nutrition, please refer to
- MINISTRY OF HEALTH MALAYSIA (2013) Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Putrajaya: Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (for National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition).
- NUTRITION SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA (2011) Breastfeed with Confidence. Petaling Jaya: Mother’s Smart Choice.