I wanted to give you a quick reference re
Preparation for Birth
1. Positive Mindset – Change thought patterns to positives by recognising what you fear and then counteract this with a positive affirmation. Repeat this 100’s of times a day so all you think of is positive thoughts. Believe in your body and your baby, you were able to get pregnant therefore, you will be able to give birth. Your body is a powerful and you are too, remember this and trust in it. See my blog post on Staying Positive.
2. Position of your Baby – Adopt positions where your belly hangs. Your baby’s back is heavy and allowing your belly to hang will bring your baby’s back towards the front of your belly. This will cause your baby to tuck its head in towards its chest and the smallest part of its head will sit on the cervix evenly allowing you to go into labour without too much delay and make your labour quicker and more regular. Gentle walking will keep you fit and ready for your journey of birth. Yoga and stretching will help keep your muscles supple and allow you to be in any position that is comfortable to you during your birth. Purchase a DVD that you can use at home or go to a pregnancy yoga class to learn great stretches and breathing techniques.
3. Good Support People – Have your partner present but also have a midwife or a doula whom you can trust to attend your birth. Whether you are at home or in hospital, having a person that is a constant during your birth and someone you trust will allow you to switch off and go inwards to your birthing body. This will give you a quicker labour and a great outcome.
4. Practice Massage – This is fun, get your partner to massage your lower back and shoulders and let him/her to find out what you like, this will help in your birth as you will used to their touch. When you are being massaged, learn to relax and go into a state of complete calm. This will be a trigger for you when you are in labour, as soon as your partner touches you, your body will know to relax.
Preparation for Breastfeeding
1. Inspect your Breasts – You don’t need to do anything to physically prepare your breasts, they are perfect just as they are. Just stand in the mirror and look at them, look at the shape, the nipple and feel them, get used to holding them in your hand. They will be doing an amazing job of completely nourishing your baby. Only a very small percentage of women cannot breastfeed and it is usually because of a medical condition. If you were able to get pregnant and you have had breast changes during your pregnancy then you will be able to breastfeed.
3. Go to an Antenatal Breastfeeding Class – Attending a class on breastfeeding will put you miles ahead. The class will go through attachment and positioning but the main focus should be on what to expect in the first few weeks. If you are prepared then if won’t seem difficult and you will know what you are doing. Learning to breastfeed when you have gone through labour and are sleep deprived is difficult, take some of the pressure off and learn about the basics before you have your baby.
Preparation for Taking your Baby Home
1. Support – Don’t be worried if you haven’t got it all sorted before you leave hospital, breastfeeding will take at least 2 weeks before you feel really confident. Take the pressure off yourself and make sure you know where you can turn if you have problems when you get home. Find out where your local child health clinic is or where you can find a lactation consultant. Make sure you get support early so any problems don’t turn into big ones.
2. Learn the basics of Breastfeeding – Make sure you know how to attach your baby correctly on your own, you may need some help arranging pillows once you have baby attached but your partner can do this. Stay in hospital until your milk comes in (about day 3) as this can pose some challenges if you become engorged and tight. Your midwife or lactation consultant at the hospital can give you advice on this. Please stay in hospital or if at home, have help handy when you are learning to feed, it is these early days that your nipples can get damaged to you want to prevent this as best as you can. Remember, you have never had anyone sucking on your breasts so you are going to feel a little tender, this will get better as your breasts settle down and get used to feeding. Give it time, it won’t magically happen overnight, be kind to yourself and remember that breastfeeding is a learned behaviour. My next couple of blogs will give you great insight into the first few days of your baby’s life.
3. Sleep – You will be sleep deprived but your body will get used to this. Try and sleep as much as possible when your baby is down. Don’t stay up all day and expect to sleep all night. Your baby won’t sleep through the night until at least 4 months as they need breast during this time. Your baby may not sleep through until they are 3years of age or older, don’t worry you will get there. Just maximise the time when you can sleep. Get your partner to put your baby to bed so you can breastfeed and then go straight to sleep. I know it is hard to sleep every time your baby does so choose once or twice during the day where you can rest, then go to bed early at night. It will get better, just go with it.
I hope this list has given you some food for thought. I have compiled it using my 23 years of registered nursing, midwifery and lactation consultant experience. If you have any further questions on birth or breastfeeding or anything please leave me an email, I would love to help.
Take care and happy mothering,