Obviously it can only be a woman’s own choice whether she decides to breastfeed or not, and she need not feel guilty about whichever decision she makes. If however you do decide to breastfeed the baby that you’re expecting, it is a good idea to prepare yourself, in body and in mind, for the experience.
It is important to understand that breastfeeding is one of the most natural things on earth; both your baby and you were designed to receive and give that important natural nourishment and to help foster the special mother-baby bond.
So believe that you can do it and get used to the fact and the idea of breastfeeding. Visualizing beforehand, what it will feel like can help.
Though statistics say that women who have had a C section are less likely to breastfeed, do not lose heart.
Even if you do have to undergo a cesarean section delivery, a very big proportion of women who have had a surgical delivery go on to establish successful breastfeeding.
When you are pregnant, you can start massaging the breasts and the nipples to clear the milk ducts and to get them ready for breast feeding.
Women with inverted nipples or flat nipples can in particular benefit from this. Breast shields to draw out flat or inverted nipples can also help.
Read up about breast feeding, its techniques, different positions for breast feeding (particularly for women who have undergone a C section and find breastfeeding painful and difficult), about how you can help a baby latch on, etc.
Getting informed about breastfeeding or taking a class will make you more aware of what colostrum looks like, what it feels like when your milk comes in, what the let down reflex is and so on.
There are some products that you should think of getting for yourself that may assist in the process of breastfeeding – a couple of good quality feeding bras will help because they come equipped with a flap that just has to be opened giving the baby access to the nipple without taking off the bra.
You may want to speak to your health care provider before the birth about breastfeeding and whether you want to start breastfeeding right away after birth and if there will be any assistance provided for this.
Many babies seem to be rather clueless when it comes to breastfeeding and actually have to be taught to go about it, whereas others seem to arrive preprogrammed for the job and are raring to go right from birth.
Also remember that there could be some discomforts related to breastfeeding – when the milk comes in, the breasts could feel tight, engorged and uncomfortable, even painful. Also the nipples could become cracked and sore; so remember to take good care of yourself and not ignore these issues.
And to end, remember that if at first you do not succeed in your aim of breastfeeding don’t get disheartened. Have confidence in yourself that you will be able to do it.
Also remember that stress can interfere with your milk, so you should try and keep calm and relaxed as far as possible. In the end you will find that it was worth the effort and perseverance!