Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes: The 7 Most Important Things Pregnant Moms Need to Know
Are you eager to learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding? Browse the internet for breastfeeding and you will find thousands of sites. How do you know if the information is accurate and up-to-date? What about the books? Dozens of books on the subject. What about the classes? Most hospitals offer monthly classes for women planning to deliver there. But is the information presented in a class more than you can learn on your own?
Here are the 7 most important things you want and need from a breastfeeding class.
1. Understand the connection between skin-to-skin contact and long-term breastfeeding.
Many health professionals and childbirth educators still do not understand this very important aspect of breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact or Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is the secret to successful breastfeeding. You must have the power of your teacher to implement this in the hospital. For some hospitals, it is like swimming against the current to convince hospital staff that KMC is vital. By knowing you before delivery, you will know what to say to the hospital staff when you are admitted to the hospital.
2. Understand what babies need.
Being in a completely new environment can be exhausting for anyone. Your baby has spent nine long and wonderful months inside you. The transition to the real world is not easy. Knowing what your baby needs will make a big difference to breastfeeding.
3. Observe women breastfeeding in person.
How do you learn to breastfeed without a baby? Do you learn to ride a bike without a bike? It is not impossible. The next best thing? Observe other mothers feeding their babies. Even captive gorillas need to see mothers breastfeed. A good class will have at least a mother and baby breastfeeding during class so that you can observe and ask questions. Go to a breastfeeding support group during pregnancy. Make friends with women who breastfeed.
4. Learn manual expression.
Every mother needs to learn to express herself with her hands before giving birth. You may need to help your baby get his colostrum in the hospital if he is sleepy or has a hard time feeding well, which happens a lot. How tired are you after a long trip? If you receive any pain relievers, including an epidural during labor, your baby will be more sleepy.
5. Learn the how and why of milk production.
One of the keys to successful breastfeeding is knowing how and why your body makes milk. You want to leave class knowing how to make all the milk your baby needs.
6. Learn to know if your baby really drinks. I mean really learn it.
Many new parents leave the hospital and don’t understand the difference between snacking and drinking. This is critical to understanding breastfeeding. Think chewing gum versus drinking. Chewing or nibbling can even fool nurses into thinking your baby is drinking.
7. Get a list of the names and numbers of breastfeeding resources in your community.
Breastfeeding is about connecting with other women.
- You need a woman or women who specialize in helping mothers and babies learn to breastfeed. Don’t think you can do it alone; if you can, you are a million. Get help long before you go into labor.
- Regular meetings with nursing mothers to encourage and cheer her up.