Here’s a little on both:
Get yourself a good book on it. Join THE AUSTRALIAN BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION for support and education. It is a natural thing for humans to do but it doesn’t always come naturally, or easily. Learn what you can about it while you are pregnant and then you will get all the help you need from midwives once the baby is born. There are also private lactation consultants in the community as well as Child Health if you need extras support. There will also be some discussion about breastfeeding in the antenatal classes. There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both baby and mother. For baby, these include high nutritional content, better gastrointestinal function, better immune system, as well as long term benefits such as reduced risk of developping allergies and obesity. For mother, recovery from birth is accelerated, weight loss, and reduction in risk of breast and ovarian cancer are some of the benefits of breastfeeding.
The following are the top ten ways to encourage Breastfeeding:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in—allow mothers and infants to remain together—24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
If you are bottle-feeding the hospital will be able to tell you what you need to bring in. It will benefit you to bring in some bottles and formula (the hospital has some if you need it though) but you need to learn how to safely do it with your own equipment. Healthy infants who are fed formula should be offered standard iron containing formula. They are fed on demand, but the duration between feedings should not exceed four hours. Make sure to follow the manufacturor's instructions in terms of preparation and use proper hygiene technique. Help is available if required.
If you are not sure about what you want to do with your choices of feeding please feel free to discuss it with your doctor and midwife at Sunnybank Centre for Women.