breastfeedingFrom the first weeks after conception, the breasts are naturally preparing for breastfeeding. One of the first signs of pregnancy is breast pain associated with an increase in estrogen and progesterone. The breasts continue to change, behind the scenes, for the duration of pregnancy. You may notice increased breast size and thick white discharge in the latter weeks of pregnancy due to colostrum production. While the body is taking care of the basics, you’ll need time to prepare for the art of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Classes

You’re curious about when to work of breastfeeding and classes come to mind. Pregnant women can take breastfeeding classes any time before or after finding out they are pregnant. You do not have to be lactating to learn more about breastfeeding. Most women choose to enroll in a formal breastfeeding class in the last trimester of pregnancy, but informal education can start as early as the first trimester. Seek out a trusted pregnancy or breastfeeding website and read as many articles as you can on the subject. You’ll want to focus on latching techniques, tips for increasing breast milk supply and answers to commonly asked questions about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Essentials

Essential tools of breastfeeding include nursing bras, nursing pads and clothing that helps ease breastfeeding – typically button-down shirts. You may also want to invest in thin, light blankets to cover baby and your breast in public nursing situations. There is no set timeline for when to work on breastfeeding essentials, but most women wait until the third trimester.

Breastfeeding at Home

When you breastfeed at home you’ll need a comfortable spot and supportive pillows. Many expecting women choose to set up a breastfeeding comfort zone in the nursery with an optional second and/or third location in the bedroom and living room. Having comfortable places to breastfeed throughout the home allows you to choose where you want to breastfeed without feeling strapped down to one location.

Breastfeeding on the Go

One of the most difficult breastfeeding situations is a public feeding. You can choose when to work on breastfeeding in public when you feel comfortable with the concept. Without your baby in hand it can be difficult to physically prepare, but with a little imagination you can find your way around public breastfeeding before you’re faced with the real life situation. Grab a life-size baby doll and head out in public. Sit on the bench at your local retail store and go through the motions of breastfeeding in public. People will stare, look your way and possibly whisper as they pass. Getting used to the attention before baby arrives can ease the struggle when you first start breastfeeding in public.

Every woman chooses when to work on breastfeeding basics in their own way, but some preparation should take place before baby arrives. Take your time, enjoy your pregnancy, but be prepared to start working on breastfeeding basics by the third trimester so you’re a professional by baby’s birthday.

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