There’s lots you can do while pregnant, to help you feel more confident and get breastfeeding off to a good start, when your baby arrives.
- Chat to other women who are breastfeeding, or who've done it before. Go to a local antenatal class or breastfeeding support drop-in.
- Have a look through the information on our website.
- If you have any concerns about your ability to breastfeed, for whatever reason, pop along to a support drop-in and seek some advice and reassurance.
- Watch our ‘Before baby arrives’ playlist to find out how your body prepares for breastfeeding while you’re pregnant, how your partner can support you, and what to expect that first day or two of your baby’s life.
How does my body get ready for breastfeeding?
Your body has been preparing itself for breastfeeding right from the start of your pregnancy. The blood supply to your breasts increases during pregnancy, and your milk ducts and milk-producing cells develop more with each pregnancy that you have.
The size of your breasts before pregnancy, and how much they grow during pregnancy, doesn't determine how much milk you'll be able to produce for your baby.
Some women leak quite a lot of colostrum during pregnancy, while others don’t leak at all. Either is normal and doesn't make any difference to how much colostrum and milk you make once your baby is born.
When your baby is born and the placenta comes away, your body goes from ‘pregnant mode’ to ‘milk making mode’ as progesterone levels drop. Your body will automatically start making milk available for your baby and increase the amount it produces, in the coming days and weeks, as your baby takes the milk. See How can I tell breastfeeding is going well? to reassure yourself your baby is getting lots of milk.
Do I need to prepare my nipples?
You don't need to use creams to soften your skin before baby arrives. The dark area around your nipples, called the areola, releases oil that naturally lubricate your nipples. This oil also smells of amniotic fluid, which is a familiar and reassuring smell for your baby, especially just after she's born.
- How do I prepare to breastfeed?
- What can I do to get breastfeeding off to the best start?
- How to keep baby calm and help grow their brain
- What do I need to breastfeed?
- Why breastfeed?
- Common myths
- Should I harvest colostrum before my baby is born?
- How can I tell breastfeeding is going well?
- For younger parents thinking about breastfeeding