Today, more and more women are choosing to breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding, like pregnancy and childbirth, is a natural part of the life cycle and can be very beneficial to both mother and baby. Although breastfeeding is a natural act, some women still struggle in the first weeks of breastfeeding. Getting the support and education you need before breastfeeding will be very helpful in preventing or solving any problems that may arise.

There isn’t much for you to do to prepare for breastfeeding when it comes to preparing the breasts themselves. Tugging or pulling at the nipples to prepare for breastfeeding is not recommended. At most, breast massage may be useful in helping you become at ease with handling your breasts.

The first few days of breastfeeding are crucial to your baby and to the process of breastfeeding. It is important to be sure that the hospital or birthing center you may be going to will be supportive and helpful while you and your baby are first learning to breastfeed. Make sure they will allow rooming-in, since close contact with your baby will help the breastfeeding process. A lactation consultant should always be on staff to answer any of your questions.

You will find breastfeeding much easier and more natural if you learn as much as you can about it before you have your baby. Pick up a book or two about breastfeeding, and attend local classes and La Leche League meetings.

It’s also very important to have a lots of support during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Make sure you will be able to be in contact with supportive family and friends, especially ones who have experience with breastfeeding. People you meet in breastfeeding classes and La Leche League meetings are also good places to look for breastfeeding support. Having a good support system around when you are first breastfeeding can make all the difference in the world.

There are a few things you can buy ahead of time that may come in handy while you are breastfeeding. It is good to have at least three nursing bras ready for breastfeeding. Buy these in the last weeks of pregnancy so your breast size will be closest to what it will be when you are breastfeeding. Make sure the bras have enough room for the times when you may become engorged. The bras should be comfortable and easy to use. You can also buy a breast pump ahead of time if you think you will need one. If you plan on pumping regularly, it would be wise to invest in a high-quality electric pump. Also, have one or two tubes of pure lanolin handy in case you get sore nipples.