Last time I was pregnant, I did some breastfeeding preparation (see breastfeeding class 1, and class 2), but I never imagined the struggle that it would be. This time, I know what to expect from my body before-hand and have done more research on how to address my specific issues, namely insufficient glandular tissue. (See here for more information on insufficient glandular tissue, aka IGT.) There are a few things I can do during pregnancy, but most involve things I can do differently or sooner once the baby is born. Here is how I am preparing to breastfeed again.
- Alfalfa Leaf tea (I mix this with red raspberry leaf and nettles for a nourishing pregnancy tea. Alfalfa is said to help with the development of mammary tissue during pregnancy, and it has many great nutrients for pregnancy, so it can’t hurt.)
- Healthy diet during pregnancy. There are many benefits to a healthy diet, including having enough calories and nutrients for breasts to grow and start producing colostrom.
- Relaxation. The book Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson notes that regular deep relaxation promotes the hormones that help with milk tissue growth. This ties in well with my hypnobabies birth preparation (more on that in another post).
- Prepare lactogenic meals for postpartum
- Review breastfeeding mechanics
- Make sure I have everything I need for postpartum – herbs, breastpump, etc
- Lots of skin to skin. This means, mostly naked baby on my bare chest with easy access to feeding whenever he wants. Sorry family members, there won’t be many other people holding the baby in the first few weeks…
- Feeding on demand and pumping from early on (will be consulting with a lactation consultant to decide when to start pumping)
- Goat’s Rue and my homemade mother’s milk tea from the beginning, and introducing other galactagogues one by one as necessary.
- Eating warm, lactogenic foods (last time, I wasn’t hungry for a while after K’s birth, and my first few meals were salads; this time I need to eat more and focus on cooked, warming foods)
- See lactation consultant as soon as possible, and follow-up as needed (we depended too much on the pediatricians last time, who knew little about breastfeeding; the lactation consultant really helped)
- If we do need to supplement, I hope to use an at-breast-supplementer as opposed to bottles. This way, my body is getting the signal that it needs to make more milk (it is a supply and demand situation), and, hopefully, we won’t run into the flow preference issues that I did with K.
See the following posts for more on my breastfeeding experience with my first baby, K: