How to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy
A letter to you from Tessa Webb Lyman, breastfeeding specialist and mother of two.
Congratulations on your beautiful bump! I hope you are feeling well, getting some rest, and perhaps doing a little light reading on birthing, breastfeeding and baby care. While taking some time to educate yourself, I also want you to know that you should plan to take it easy as the weeks pass – you are gestating and that is a full-time job! Anything else that you accomplish should be considered a bonus.
The good news about breastfeeding is that other than learning all you can about those first essential hours and days right after birth, there isn’t anything else you need to do to prepare. Your body is doing just what it should, right now as you read this – all you need to do alongside your learning is to make sure you are drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, and getting enough rest.
Educating yourself about breastfeeding can take several forms: some mums-to-be really like settling in with a good book (like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, a La Leche League publication) while others would much rather have someone “just tell me all I need to know!” Whatever your style, take some time to learn about breastfeeding if you are hoping to make it work. While it should be natural and easy…. it isn’t always. A little preparatory knowledge can go a long way!
There are lots of prenatal classes around (a whole section of recommendations can be found in this book!), many of which are really great options. Some courses will include a session on breastfeeding with a separate, knowledgeable person – while others gloss over the topic a little bit. Ask what kind of breastfeeding education is a part of the course you choose – it matters!
If there is one big secret I wish I could tell all pregnant mothers, it is this: learn how to optimise your birth plan for maximum breastfeeding success – line up all the factors in your favour, and then make it happen! If I have the pleasure of teaching you about your great start to breastfeeding while you are still pregnant, chances are you won’t need to see me once the baby arrives. The first few hours and days are that important!
Breastfeeding is a head game – there is an enormous amount of trust that has to happen in order for it all to go smoothly. Trust in your body, trust in your baby, trust in your partner’s support, and most of all, trust in the belief that you and your baby can do this! And if it all goes south, don’t wait – get some help right away! There is always a way forward.
Yours in milky snuggles,
Tessa Webb Lyman
Tessa is a mother of two breastfed babies (two and three years’ duration) who discovered the hard way that there was no breastfeeding help in Jakarta after the birth of her first child. She did a ton of breastfeeding learning before, during, and at all hours – running into almost every difficulty that exists along the way and having to figure it all out for herself (and with a lot of help from KellyMom!)
She requalified as a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS) upon the discovery that she could help others as a vocation, utilising all of that acquired knowledge and experience as a basis; studying while her toddlers were in preschool, and leaning on her BSc in Biology and background as a science teacher. She began practising in Singapore in 2017 upon earning her CBS, making exclusive home visits to mothers and nurslings of all ages, all over the city – accumulating over 1500 hours of service to nursing dyads along the way!
Tessa’s goals are always to help mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals, leading with a warm, empathetic, understanding approach and helping devise plans that are workable and sustainable, with the mother’s goals at the forefront. She offers breastfeeding preparation classes both privately and in conjunction with BumpWise and Love Based Birth.
Contact Tessa on WhatsApp on 9896 0378.
Uma Thambidurai | Mother and Child
Uma is a British trained nurse/midwife and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who has supported families in the UK, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. She commenced her career almost 40 years ago, and loves her role in supporting mothers and their babies.
As Director of Mother and Child, Uma and her exceptional team of health professionals, ancillary service professionals, and customer service executives, strive to serve the needs of the community of expectant couples, new parents and their babies. Uma has two married children and a cuddly grandson. Mother and Child also offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.
Rachel Farr | Mother and Child
Postnatally, feeding and caring for your baby will be utmost in your mind. If you choose to breastfeed, Mother and Child’s IBC lactation consultants are here for you, at their centre or in the comfort of your home. Rachel is an experienced maternal and child health nurse, lactation consultant and sleep consultant. She attends the Mother and Child Well Baby drop-in sessions and is available for home visits, private consults and group sessions. She also specialises in teaching Introduction to Solids workshops and conducting developmental assessments. She is registered with the Singapore Nursing Board.
Isabelle Faber | Mother and Child
Isabelle is a registered midwife with the Singapore Nursing Board and a researcher. She is a strong supporter of women’s interests and reproductive autonomy which was the topic of her thesis. She has worked in hospitals in Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and Australia. She is an IBC lactation consultant, a passionate Infant Massage Instructor (IAIM) and HypnoBirthing Practitioner.
As a lactation consultant, Isabelle can support clients prenatally at the Centre or after the baby’s birth at either the hospital or in the comfort of their home. Her aim is to support and help during the breastfeeding journey by respecting the mother’s preferences. Mother and Child also offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.
Joanne Hunter | Mother and Child
Joanne is an Australian-trained nurse and midwife with over thirty years experience. She has worked in Scotland, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Australia and now Singapore. The birth suite has always been her passion and where most of her experience lies. Joanne has also worked in postnatal wards and special care nurseries and has accumulated extensive breast feeding experience. She has completed the Childbirth Educator course, facilitates Childbirth preparation classes at Mother and Child, and is available as a lactation counsellor. Mother and Child also offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.
Natalie Spencer | Mother and Child
Natalie is a registered nurse, registered midwife and IBC lactation consultant from America and Australia. She has work experience across the full spectrum of maternity care setting and in the neonatal intensive care unit. Natalie moved to Singapore in January 2019 with her husband, and worked at Thomson Medical Centre as a lactation consultant prior to joining Mother and Child. Mother and Child also offer midwife-led antenatal classes, home visits and well baby clinics.
Alona Hodik | Belly to Breastfeeding Lactation Care
Alona is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Childbirth Educator but, first and foremost, she is the proud mother of three wonderful children - all exclusively breastfed and the reason she became a lactation consultant. When she gave birth to her first daughter in 2012, she knew she wanted to breastfeed but wasn’t really sure how to go about it.
Alona and her baby struggled with latching, so she called a lactation consultant to help and it was like magic, something just clicked and they finally got it! During her own breastfeeding journey and struggles, she realised that she wanted to help other mothers and families just like that amazing lactation consultant helped her!
In addition to her IBCLC certification, Alona’s credentials include CBS - Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, CBEd - Certified Childbirth Educator, BSc in Biology and an MBA. She can help with low milk supply, slow weight gain, pain during breastfeeding, sore/bleeding nipples, shallow latch, tongue/lip tie, engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis, oversupply, reflux, short/flat nipples, pumping, relactation, breastfeeding twins, and more. To support the breastfeeding journey, she teaches prenatal breastfeeding classes for expectant parents and, after the birth, she offers lactation support home and hospital visits to make sure each mother’s breastfeeding journey is the best it can possibly be. Her care is client-centred and aimed at identifying specific goals while providing up-to-date evidence-based information and recommendations on lactation and infant feeding.
Dr Mythili Pandi | International Medical Clinic (IMC) Katong
Dr Mythili is a family physician who has trained and worked in Australia before returning home to Singapore. She graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 2008, and moved to Singapore and worked in the exciting field of obstetrics and gynecology in a busy hospital practice. In 2010, she moved onto general practice and found her passion in it. She is trained in occupational medicine and family medicine.
Dr Mythili has been working closely with the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (BMSG) since 2010 and is an ExCo member of the charity. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and loves working with mother-baby dyads and guiding them along their breastfeeding journey.
Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore)
Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (BMSG) has a vision of a vibrant community of breastfeeding mothers who find emotional support, encouragement, companionship and information within the organisation. BMSG also envisions a community where breastfeeding is seen as normal, and is part of society’s fabric. To make this vision a reality, they facilitate support for breastfeeding mothers, education for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and families, public awareness and advocacy in the community. They offer breastfeeding counselling, workshops, and support group meetings for mothers.
Human Milk 4 Human Babies | Singapore Chapter
Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) is an informed milk-sharing network. It’s a volunteer-only network of community pages that does not receive any kind of funding or financial support. They do not support the sale of human milk, but rather the sharing of breastmilk between mothers with excess and those in need. They are mothers, fathers, adoptive families, grandparents, childbirth and breastfeeding professionals, volunteers, supporters, donors, and recipients who have come together to support the simple idea that all babies and children have the right to receive human milk. The mission of Human Milk 4 Human Babies is to promote the nourishment of babies and children with human milk. They are dedicated to fostering community between local families who have chosen to share breastmilk.
Stillen Maternity x Milky Mumma
Stillen Maternity is all about supporting mums through their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey, because being a busy woman and mother shouldn’t mean compromising your health and wellbeing. They have brought to Singapore’s shores, Australia’s best selling Milky Mumma lactation and pregancy support products. Milky Mumma is founded by Gabriella Ambrose - birth doula, HypnoBirthing instructor and fellow mum in Brisbane - and she has specially chosen all of the ingredients to encourage healthy hormonal balance, iron levels, lactation, hydration and more. Filled with galactagogues and made of wholesome superfoods, her products are caffeine free, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. Whether it is the yummy lactation smoothie, the grab-to-go collagen bar or the energising hydration fluid, you’ll find yourself reaching for more.
Health 2 Mama
A common issue faced when breastfeeding is blocked milk ducts which can lead to mastitis if not resolved early enough. Health 2 Mama have physios who can visit you at home and provide specialised lymphatic massage and ultrasound therapy to help clear the blockages and relieve engorgement.