Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Facts I Didn't Know About Breastfeeding Before Taking a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

by Sarah

Last week may have been World Breastfeeding Week, but the breastfeeding awareness surely doesn't need to stop there! As I mentioned in my post last week, I took a class about breastfeeding with Deena Blumenfeld at Shining Light Prenatal Education and I promised to share more on the subject. Here are a few facts from the class that really stuck with me:

1. The Breast Crawl- After a baby is born, it immediately knows to crawl on their mother searching for the nipple. They knead the breasts stimulating milk ducts and they are drawn to the nipple because it has secreted an oil that smells exactly like amniotic fluid.

For more information:

2. Colostrum- For the first few days of your baby’s life, you produce colostrum, which is thick and nutrient rich.  Colostrum helps start up your baby’s digestive system and is thick enough to clean out their digestive track of meconium (their first bowel movement that they have swallowed because they were still in the womb.) Your breast milk usually comes in after 3 days.  

3. Breast pumps are usually provided by your insurance company. This is a really useful bit of information for any new mother because these suckers are expensive and you can get a really good quality pump.  Call to find out before adding a breast pump to your registry or shelling out $300. You’re already spending so much, right?

4. Working mamas are protected by federal law. If you plan to return to work after having your baby and continue nursing, there are laws to ensure you can still do so.  Your employer is required to provide you with enough breaks to pump, as well as a non-bathroom space.  There is also a non-discrimination act in place which protects you from being harassed about requesting either the breaks or the non-bathroom space.  

5. Oversupply is more common than not making enough milk for your baby. I don’t know about you, but I hear so many women say that they had to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula because they just couldn’t keep up with their "hungry" baby, but the more you nurse, the more milk you produce.  So, if you are nursing, you will continue to make more, not run out.  

If you do find that you aren't producing enough milk, there are foods and herbs that help stimulate breast milk production (if you need it) called galactagogues. (How fun is that word?) Most moms don’t need extra help, but if you do, there is no need to switch to formula.

One of the biggest things I took from this class was that there is usually no need to ever switch to formula because all problems with breastfeeding can be fixed. I found that to be reassuring as an almost-new mother.

To sign up for this breastfeeding class, visit Shining Light's website by clicking here.

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