Help Me, Helen! Is there anything I can do to prepare for breastfeeding?

Helen Borg is a senior midwife and infant feeding specialist who heads up the drop-in breastfeeding clinic at Mater Dei hospital. As mentioned in the series intro, Helen will cover common issues that can arise when feeding your newborn, giving professional advice and reassurance to help make your journey run smooth.

Other than taking your pregnancy vitamins and having a good diet, there’s not much you can do physically to prepare for breastfeeding. Using creams during pregnancy will not prevent sore nipples when the time comes to breastfeed, for example.

Mentally and emotionally, there’s a lot you can do. Learn as much as you can, get yourself empowered and get yourself enthusiastic. And the most important thing: do not expect it to be easy. Because, really, you don’t feel yourself in those first few weeks; you will feel frustrated and full of self-doubt.

Couple with newborn

When you do begin to prepare for breastfeeding, make sure you create a plan with your partner. Think about how they can support you when the going gets tough, so that you don’t feel isolated or inadequate. When women feel guilty because they didn’t breastfeed, it’s usually because they ended up doing something that they didn’t want to do. Stick together as a couple and do what feels right for you, not what friends or relatives say you should do.

To provide spare equipment for new mums, the breastfeeding clinic relies on donations, so if you have any of the following that you no longer need, you can drop them off at the clinic where they will be gratefully received.

  • Breast pumps
  • Nipple shields
  • Milk storage bags or containers
  • Breast pads
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