Welcome to the May Carnival of Breastfeeding. Because this is pregnancy awareness month, the theme is pregnancy and breastfeeding. As usual, there are many excellent posts this month, all of which are listed below!
Preparing for Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
I regret to say that I didn't think much about breastfeeding at all when I first became pregnant. I knew I would try and hoped I'd breastfeed for at least three months - but beyond that was anyone's guess. I also didn't prepare for breastfeeding at all apart from attending an antenatal class on the subject and buying a few nursing bras and nursing pads!
I do remember feeling quite annoyed at the attitude towards breastfeeding by other mothers-to-be, however. During the class I attended we were asked how many of us were intending to breastfeed. Very few hands went up. We watched a breastfeeding video and an awful lot of parents-to-be squirmed uncomfortably in their seats as a baby was shown latching on to its mother's nipple.
At one point we were asked to list the benefits of breastfeeding; not a lot of people knew any benefits at all, although sadly they were able to list ridiculous disadvantages such as it not being fair that the mother had to do all the feeding!
One mother stunned me in particular by saying aloud there was no way she'd even think about breastfeeding as it just wasn't something she was comfortable with. I think she even went so far as to suggest it was disgusting, or maybe her facial expression just showed me what she was thinking! I still see her husband around the town and often wonder if she ever came around to the idea... I doubt it somehow.
Regretfully, in the UK, her opinion seems to be one commonly expressed and sadly it is just a reflection of the views many people have been brought up with. I find it amazing how little pregnant women know about breastfeeding and again I suppose it's because they've never learnt that breastfeeding is good for babies and for mothers!
If I was to give one piece of advice to mothers-to-be about breastfeeding it would be to read that chapter in your pregnancy guide and prepare yourself mentally for breastfeeding. In fact I've written about preparing for breastfeeding in the past, so the information is only a click away!
When the time comes and your baby is handed to you and you feel the rush of love that accompanies that first breastfeed you will never regret your decision to give it a try. Give your baby one breastfeed and then another and so on and never let yourself feel under pressure to breastfeed for a specific length of time. You might just be surprised by how long you end up breastfeeding! I know I was ;)
Now read the following posts about Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (links added as they become available):