Friday, August 2, 2013

"Posh Mama, Zen Baby": Finding a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

by Sarah Davis

This week is World Breastfeeding Week and I wanted to share some of the wonderful things I have been learning about breastfeeding while taking my prenatal classes at Shining Light Prenatal Education.  I only have 5 more weeks to go so I am keeping myself busy learning as much as I can before baby comes!

I’m going to break up what I learned about breastfeeding into a few blog posts that I will share throughout the week because there was so much, but I want to start off with the quality of content of this class and why taking a really good class before you have a baby matters. 

There are a lot of resources out there about breastfeeding, including baby books (raise your hand if you’ve read more than you’d like to admit), online websites and forums, and my favorite, word of mouth from over-sharing women! However, the best place to start is a class.

Where should I take my breastfeeding class? All breastfeeding classes are not created equal. I took a similar class taught at the hospital where I will give birth about two months ago and the instructor covered about ¼ of what Deena (the instructor at Shining Light) covers.  Both classes were the same amount of time, but this one was in an auditorium and had so many people that no one really felt comfortable asking questions.  

This class didn’t talk about breast-pumps at all, what to do when you go back to work, and didn’t cover some of the more natural aspects of why breastfeeding is so amazing. For instance, babies do something called the “breast crawl” immediately after birth (I will be blogging about this later this week.)  She went over the bare minimum about how often you should nurse and how to know your baby is getting what he or she needs, and then we watched an hour long video. 

Make sure your class size is small and you have an instructor who will be going over the things you need to know for your lifestyle.  If the hospital offers this and your insurance covers it, then you are in luck, but the one I initially went to definitely did not compare to the Shining Light Class when it comes to how much information you get and the quality of that information. So, I suggest exploring your options a little before settling down with any prenatal class.
Why should I take this class prenatally when the nurses will be there to teach me how to breastfeed after I have the baby in the hospital? You may find yourself overwhelmed with a new lifestyle (not to say that it won’t be the best time of your life) and understandably, you may be extremely exhausted in the middle of the night and something might come up. It will be well worth the 3 hours you spent in class to know a little bit about what you are doing.  Plus, you will get to learn many tips prior to being tossed into the ballpark, like the fact that most insurance companies offer a free (or discounted) breast pump to new mothers after the baby is born. Or, that employers are required by law to give working mothers breaks to breast-pump, as well as a non-bathroom space to pump. OR, that there are foods known as galactagogues that stimulate healthy breast milk production. (I will blog more about these, too!)

Should I bring my husband or birth partner? I would have thought that a man doesn't need to be there, however it will help to have support, since breastfeeding will be life-consuming in the first few weeks. It will be tremendous help to have someone there who might remember what you learned in class when your brain is fried. So, yes, tell your man he needs to come!

For more information on World Breastfeeding Week, visit their official website.
For more information on Shining Light Prenatal Education, visit their website (if you haven’t already!)
For more of our Posh Mama, Zen Baby series, click here! 

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