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About Breastfeeding

If you’re expecting a baby in Ontario today, chances are, you’re planning to breastfeed. Making sure that you’re well-prepared and have a good support system in place are the keys to a successful and yes, even blissful, nursing relationship with your baby (or babies if you’re expecting twins!)

More and more mothers are nursing their babies in Canada each year, as awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding grows. A recent study shows that the more highly educated the mother, and the higher her social standing, the more likely she is to initiate breastfeeding, to breastfeed exclusively for six months, and to continue breastfeeding for two years or more as is recommended by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Paediatric Society. Older mothers are also more likely to initiate breastfeeding and to continue breastfeeding for longer than their younger counterparts. In urban centres like Toronto, the breastfeeding initiation rate hovers at around 96%.

If you will have a midwife-attended birth, you will likely find that you will have all the breastfeeding support you require to get started on the right foot. If you are having a hospital birth attended by an obstetrician, it might be a good idea to ask to see the Lactation Consultant on staff as the nurses on duty will likely not be as highly trained in this area as an LC. You can also get in touch with your local La Leche League chapter for breastfeeding support.

In addition to breastfeeding support from a trained professional, some good, supportive nursing bras will be necessary. A minimum of two nursing bras is advisable as they need frequent washing due to leaks and spit-up. Your first, transitional nursing bras can be fitted in the last month of your pregnancy. They should be quite snug in the band and should have stretchy cups. You may even wish to be fitted for a band that is one size smaller than your full-term band measurement as your ribcage will go down in size fairly rapidly once your baby is born. You can even wear your first nursing bras with a bra extender in place until you birth your baby. Be sure to be professionally fitted for your nursing bras-- they, more than regular bras, need to have be a perfect fit to prevent plugged ducts that can lead to mastitis, a painful breast infection.

It’s a good idea to have some nursing pads handy to protect your clothing. Other items that are wonderful to have on hand are an angled nursing footstool or pillow (or both), some comfortable nursing sleepwear, a few nursing tops, a dress for events after baby arrives, a nursing necklace to keep baby’s attention focussed on you, a postpartum belly and back support, and plant-based nipple ointment.

Many mother find it is best to wait to purchase items like a breast pump until after baby arrives to ensure that you select the right one-- pumps can’t be returned! And choosing a baby sling or carrier is an enjoyable first outing for the new family, in the right setting. Waiting until your baby is born will allow you to try the carriers out with your new arrival. Most parents of breastfeeding babies will find that their baby sling is the one piece of equipment that is absolutely indispensable for getting around and for bonding with baby!

Sarah Kaplan, MA, is the owner of Evymama Nursing & Maternity, Toronto’s only Breastfeeding Boutique. She is trained in Lactation Management by Infact Canada.
266 Jane Street , Toronto, ON M6S 3Z2 www.evymama.ca 416.913.0546 info@evymama.ca

 

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