Why Breastfeeding Preparation in Pregnancy is Key to Your Breastfeeding Success
Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience that can be enjoyed by both mother and child for many months, even years after birth. But it’s not always easy to get off on the right foot.
That’s why breastfeeding preparation is key!
Preparation will make breastfeeding easier, more comfortable, less stressful, and help you bond with your baby at the same time.
"I'll focus on my labor and birth and deal with breastfeeding as it happens."
It's understandable that pregnant women (particularly first time expectant mothers) are focused on their labor and birth.
It's a big deal.
The problem is, that many women are unaware that the events that occur during labor and birth greatly influence breastfeeding hence why breastfeeding preparation is so important.
And the truth is, that most breastfeeding complications may be avoided, with a little breastfeeding preparation and education.
In this video, Dr Robyn Thompson, nipple trauma expert and founder of The Thompson Method offers tips for breastfeeding and explains why preparation in pregnancy is so important, before you give birth to your baby.
And by doing so, you will reduce the risk of complications during your labor, the birth of your baby AND with breastfeeding.
It all comes back to the 3 Golden Hours...
That is..... your baby's very first breastfeed.
Above Image: A mother observes her baby's first breastfeed
The truth is the hospital system is not what it used to be. It’s big business and it’s geared towards time efficiency.
To put it politely, this is not always in the best interests of the breastfeeding mother and her baby.
Here are 3 reasons why breastfeeding preparation is necessary:
▶ When your baby arrives, the first few days and weeks may feel overwhelming. It’s a new transition. A whole new way of living with so many ‘new normals’ for you to get used to. The last thing you need is to feel even more overwhelmed because of breastfeeding. You’ll thank yourself later when you know the principles behind avoiding the most common complications.
▶ Once your baby arrives, those free hours you are likely enjoying now, will disappear as you know it. It will become harder to find the time to educate yourself or get help should you run into painful breastfeeding complications that, unfortunately, many mothers do. Give your future self the confidence and peace of mind you deserve.
▶ If you’re not focused on breastfeeding preparation before your little baby arrives, you are more likely to experience breastfeeding complications in those critical early hours and days, increasing the likelihood of giving up breastfeeding before you wanted to. Knowledge is power. It is possible to have a pain-free breastfeeding journey, but it starts with breastfeeding preparation right now, during pregnancy.
Above image: Painful nipple trauma may be avoided with breastfeeding preparation.
Are you really prepared to breastfeed?
You labor at home for as long as you can. You go into hospital.
That moment has finally come to meet your newborn baby. It’s really happening.
Contractions. Pain. Emotions.
She finally makes an appearance.
You hold her for the first time and you’re overwhelmed with joy.
Then, it’s time for her first breastfeed.
Instead of experiencing that moment of bliss when she starts to draw down your colostrum, you feel excruciating nipple pain.
Your partner reassures you that it will be okay.
Hospital staff offer their advice, but each one has a different approach.
One of them even held your baby and forced your baby to your breast, causing even more pain.
Every feed is the same and you’re still crying in pain.
You’re exhausted and you trusted the system to get you through this.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many mothers on the first day after giving birth, often resulting in a negative association with breastfeeding from the beginning.
Women often tell us that they wish they had prepared for breastfeeding as much as they did for labor and birth
Above image: Hospital staff assist a mother in breastfeeding her newborn baby
Why Do So Many Women Struggle With Breastfeeding Right From The Start?
Here are 3 Reasons:
- ▶ They were focused on their labor and birth and thought that breastfeeding would just happen and did not consider breastfeeding preparation.
- ▶ The rapid processing of the hospital system based on time constraints with hospital policy, places a woman in labor under pressure to make quick decisions.
- ▶ They are often shown outdated forceful breastfeeding techniques in hospital that increase the risk of nipple trauma, breast engorgement and mastitis
ALL of this creates unnecessary stress and can become quite overwhelming for the breastfeeding mother of a newborn baby, who already has enough to deal with.
Of course, there are other reasons why things may not go as planned and some of these situations are unavoidable.
This is the moment when many mothers realise the importance of educating themselves prior to giving birth with many wishing they had spent more time on birth and breastfeeding preparation.
Please don't wait until you have your newborn baby in your arms to invest in an online breastfeeding preparation course or even read breastfeeding books.
Empower yourself during pregnancy.
Wondering what to include in your birth plan? Check out our latest blog here and learn more about where to download the best birth plan template.
The problem with NOT preparing to breastfeed
As mentioned earlier, many women, particularly first time mothers, are focused on their labor and birth, thinking that breastfeeding will just happen easily and naturally, because that’s what nature intended.
If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad. You're not alone.
Logically, it makes sense, because a woman’s body is physically designed to breastfeed.
It is one of the most natural things a woman can do.
Unfortunately, this does not end up being the case for many women.
Because the breastfeeding information taught in most hospital is inconsistent, conflicting and outdated.
In Dr Robyn Thompson's PhD research, the most common breastfeeding complications experienced by women in the early postnatal period are sore nipples, resulting in painful nipple trauma, breast engorgement and mastitis.
The good news is that while ALL of these complications are common they can be avoided by educating yourself BEFORE giving birth to your baby.
Investing in breastfeeding preparation could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in lactation consultants, formula, breast pumps and not to mention the emotional pain of what happens if you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding.
But why should you trust the Thompson Method over information that’s out there?
Advice from well-meaning friends and family may result in you feeling pressure to appease them, but often leaves you and your baby in all sorts of trouble.
The reason why The Thompson Method is different to other sources is that it’s based on the PhD research from Dr Robyn Thompson a midwife, educator and nipple trauma expert with over 45 years experience.
The evidence from her research clearly demonstrates that painful nipple trauma is closely linked to common forceful breastfeeding techniques that are being taught in most hospitals.
Dr Robyn Thompson working with a mother suffering nipple trauma
But The Thompson Method is not just about a breastfeeding technique. The research uncovered so many more factors that were contributing to painful and stressful breastfeeding complications for so many women.
And simply put, many of these complications can be avoided.
The Thompson Method is a holistic approach and a proven method that’s designed to help you give birth to your baby and build a bond with your baby through breastfeeding for as long as you choose, without pain.
The thing is, it’s A LOT easier to prevent breastfeeding complications right from the start than it is to solve them once they are already happening.
Which is why Dr Robyn Thompson encourages women to prepare with expert breastfeeding information BEFORE you give birth to your baby.
It’s important to seek expert information because there is a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding available online.
Dr Robyn Thompson has over 45 years experience as a midwife and was awarded a PhD for her research into nipple trauma.
This amazing woman has witnessed the extreme stress mothers can go through when they experience common breastfeeding complications.
Nipple pain, mastitis, low milk supply and latching issues are often the result of a lack of breastfeeding preparation coupled with the use of forceful breastfeeding techniques.
Here’s the thing.
The hospital system isn’t designed to be in your best interest of the breastfeeding mother and her baby.
It’s designed for time efficiency.
This push for time efficiency often means your 3 Golden Hours are likely to be interrupted by routine hospital procedures that can and should wait.
What are the “3 Golden Hours”?
The 3 Golden Hours refer to the immediate hours after a mother gives birth. It’s so important that mothers are given these 3 hours to breastfeed their baby and form that immediate bond.
Which makes a lot of sense, right?
So why does the hospital system often interrupt a mother and those 3 important hours with her newborn?
At the end of the day, hospitals are businesses, they want you in and out as quickly as possible for efficiency.
That means routine hospital procedures like injections, which don’t need to be done immediately after birth, disrupt these 3 precious hours.
The big issue with this is that it delays the first breastfeed when it’s best for the baby to feed soon after they’re born.
Routine procedures such as checking and weighing the baby can weight unless absolutely necessary.
How does breastfeeding work?
When the first breastfeed is disrupted, it increases the risk of breastfeeding complications down the track.
Listening to the many similar stories of women who were denied their 3 Golden Hours and went on to experience painful nipple trauma, is what encouraged Dr Robyn Thompson to complete her PhD research.
Her gentle approach is now known as The Thompson Method and is proven to significantly reduce the risk of nipple pain, low milk supply & latching issues.
It’s important to acknowledge that things don’t always go as planned and medical intervention is required for SOME women and babies.
The Thompson Method isn't about sharing breastfeeding memes or trivial information that you can find anywhere.
It's about sharing information so that women can empower themselves to be in control of their labor, birth and breastfeeding journey.
For MOST women, medical intervention is NOT necessary.
And by being well informed and fully prepared BEFORE having your baby you can REDUCE THE RISK of common complications with both birth and breastfeeding.
Advice from well-meaning friends and family may result in you feeling pressure to appease them, but often leaves you and your baby in all sorts of trouble.
Here's a story from an amazing first time mother, who discovered the importance of breastfeeding preparation, the moment she arrived in hospital to give birth to her baby.
Why is preparation so important?
During what should have been my 3 golden hours...
After laboring mostly at home, we got to the hospital to have my planned water birth.
My birth plan included that.
It also included all my other requests about pain management and cord clamping and wanting baby to come straight to me etc…
You know what it didn’t include??
After 10 mins of snuggling my precious boy in the water, I was rushed out and then told I needed to birth the placenta.
Thankfully, my boy was born healthy and had an APGAR score of 9, so he could stay in my arms.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed.
I had done loads of research about it and thought I knew it all.
Only thing is, all the information out there sort of contradicted itself and I was left a little confused.
As a new mother I was clueless. I was vulnerable.
And so, 30 minutes after my son was born, the midwife had told me I was “doing it wrong” and used force to shove my boob into my babies mouth
IF ONLY I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW!!!!
I was told all this rubbish about nipple to nose and cross cradle. The “hamburger technique” omg what is that?!
One nurse said one thing and another said another.
Boy oh boy was I stressed.
I was in so much pain just after the first feed. And by the time I was discharged the next morning, I was already doubting my ability to breastfeed.
That first breastfeed, the one Dr Robyn Thompson explains is so important, the one that we should protect as part of our 3 golden hours??
I didn’t get to enjoy it.
Fast forward through 5 weeks of struggling, jaundice, weight loss concerns, tongue tie diagnosis and SO MUCH PAIN…
I finally purchased the program and felt the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
I wasn’t alone anymore.
I had support and I had guidance and education.
Within 24 hours the pain was dramatically better and then day by day Dr Robyn’s team of superwomen helped me work through my challenges.
A big thank you to The Thompson Method team for their unconditional care for Mother’s like me
Still boobing at 16 months and well on my way to reaching our breastfeeding goals.
~ Chelsea K
Breastfeeding preparation: Preparing for the unexpected
Born January 22nd, 2021 at 2:08pm. We had to have an emergency c- section due to his heart rate rapidly decreasing. I was so scared all I wanted to know was if my baby was okay.
Instead of 3 golden hours we got 12 uninterrupted hours of time together.
He latched instantly and I haven’t had any pain, the nurses all claimed they never seen
anything like it! We are doing great and hoping to go home tomorrow.
Thank you Thompson Method for helping me prepare for the unexpected!
Better Breastfeeding Begins With Better Breastfeeding Preparation...
Sandra's Breastfeeding Story...
I was not planning to breastfeed at all and was planning to go straight onto formula.
Family members said babies wake too much with only breastmilk and it’s difficult to have enough milk production.
I had already bought formula and a machine in preparation.
The course was very informative and in addition to the posts from the group, I just felt I knew exactly what I needed to do. I wasn’t at all anxious that I’d be lost after labour even as a first time mum.
After baby arrived, the midwife suggested I held onto baby’s head to guide him.
I suggested I’d like to try my way first where she was skeptical and said a newborn wouldn’t know how to.
Baby boy proved her wrong and latched literally straight away and started sucking.
Just as Dr Robyn Thompson had said.
Why Is Breastfeeding Preparation Important?
Caroline's Breastfeeding Story...
He wasn’t able to feed for the first 24 hours and by the time he could, it wasn’t perfect.
However, this program gave me the confidence, knowledge and patience to work with him to get it right.
No! I politely thanked her and asked her to give me some time.
She came back today in disbelief that he has fed repeatedly with no shield, no tongue tie issues and is getting fully satisfied each time.
Rest and digest for the win! Thank you Thompson Method!"
Pic: Caroline's baby resting and digesting
How prepared for breastfeeding are you?
Everyday The Thompson Method community is inspired by strong women sharing their stories.
Would you like to feel confident in your OWN knowledge to be able to make informed decisions, even in unexpected situations?
Would you like to be FULLY prepared for giving birth in the hospital system so that you could make the system WAIT while you considered your options?
Would you like to REALLY understand how the decisions you made during your labor and birth influenced your breastfeeding journey?
If you are determined to breastfeed and you answered YES to any or ALL of these questions, please include breastfeeding in your birth plan preparations.
Please don't wait til your newborn baby is in your arms before you consider breastfeeding preparation.
It's your body, your baby and your breastfeeding journey.
Happy Birthing and Birth Breastfeeding....💕🤱🏼