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.

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Preparing to Breastfeed

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.

The correct breastfeeding technique

Choosing the most comfortable breastfeeding position for you and your baby, and mastering the correct breastfeeding technique are the keys to breastfeeding successfully.

 

Latching on

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:

 breastfeed-1 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.
 breastfeed-3 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.
 breastfeed-4 3. Your nipple should point towards the roof of his mouth.

 

 

Breastfeeding positions

 cross-arm 1. Cross arm position

  • Ideal for early breastfeeding
  • Useful position if you have a small or ill baby
  • It lets you support baby’s head and body well, making it a useful position for new mothers to adopt
  • Take care that baby’s head is not held too tightly to prevent movement.

 

 cradle-position 2. Cradle position

  • Similar to cross arm, but you support the baby with the arm on the same side as the nursing breast, rather than opposite arm
  • Baby’s lower arm is tucked around your side
  • Take care that baby’s head is not too far into the crook of your arm and that your breast is not pulled to one side

 

 under-arm 3. Underarm / football hold position

  • Good for C-section or if you have twins, large breasts, flat or inverted nipples
  • This position also lets you have a good view of your baby’s attachment to your breast.
  • Take care that baby is not bending his neck and forcing his chin down the chest

 

 lying-down 4. Lying down on side position

  • Good choice when you’re tired which helps you to rest especially if you’ve had a C-section
  • Take care that baby’s nose is at the same level as your nipple and that he does not need to bend his neck to reach your breast.

 

Breastfeeding Accessories and Their Uses

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.

 

Breast Pump

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.

Breast milk storage containers/packs

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.
Nursing Bras

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.
Nursing Pillows

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
Breast Pads

To prevent the leaking of breast milk onto clothing. Alternatively, you can also use small towels.


Breast Shell

To be worn inside your bra, shells protect your nipples from chafing only if you have sore nipple. They also collect leaking breast milk.


Breast Gel Packs

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.


Nipple Protectors

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

  1. 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).
  2. NUTRITION SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA (2011) Breastfeed with Confidence. Petaling Jaya: Mother’s Smart Choice.