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5 Key Ways To Prepare For Breastfeeding

Once your baby’s born, he’ll be hungry. Very hungry. Here’s what to do—and not do—for future nursing success.
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Hold off on buying the breast pump. They can be pricey, which is why many women choose to register for them. You could also rent a pump from the hospital or a medical supply store and see how things, er, flow before you commit to owning.

Get only one nursing bra. Eventually you’ll need a few, but wait to stock up until about 10 days after the baby’s arrived, when your breast size has stabilized, says Freda Rosenfeld, a certified lactation consultant in Brooklyn, New York, and mom of three. Start off with a nursing bra that’s a cup-size larger than your current one; give it a test run before the baby’s born to get used to the hooks.

Moisturize. Rosenfeld tells moms to rub a little olive oil—which is super-moisturizing—onto their nipples starting a week before they give birth. OK, so you might smell like a salad, but it’ll prevent soreness from the baby sucking on too-dry skin.

Get yourself good support (and not just the bra kind). Consider taking a breastfeeding class, which will cover the basics; many hospitals offer one-time classes. You could also attend a breastfeeding group once or twice. “Even before you give birth, you’ll be tapped into a network of committed breastfeeders,” says Sharon Panzica, a mother of one in Willamette, Illinois, who started going to La Leche League meetings and liked them so much, she became a leader.

Try not to worry. “Before my first child was born, I was stressed out about how breastfeeding would work," says Jessica Schwerd, a mother of three from Gansevoort, New York. “Worrying did me no good. Does it ever? Once I started, it took a little time to get into a good rhythm—but it took!”

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