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Sprout | Breastfeeding Class

I have to start this post by saying a few things.
  • In this post, I'll be talking about breastfeeding.
  • If you have chosen to breastfeed or not, that's your choice.
  • If you've done it and had a horrible experience, I'm sorry.
  • If you think formula is the best way to go, great.
  • If you weren't breastfed, fine.
  • If you think it ties you down, destroys your body and you hated every minute of it, great.
  • This is my opinion, pre-baby.  Post-delivery I'll share my follow up thoughts but for now, this is now I feel.
  • Yes, I understand that post-delivery everything that I talk about below might be out the window, but again, I'm just stating what I know, what I've learned and what I hope to accomplish.
On March 22, my husband and I attended a breastfeeding class.  It was something that we willingly signed up for and boy did we leave happy about our decision.

Why a class about breastfeeding (when they educate you 'enough' while you're in the hospital to do it)?

My response: I want to be as educated, as prepared and as knowledgable as I can be about everything that has to do with labor, babies, birthing, breastfeeding and everything inbetween.  I want to know, read and be shown as much as I can before I go into labor so that I can have some knowledge of how things could play out.  I don't want to be dependant of the nurses or someone else at the hospital for ALL knowledge.  I just want to know.

My husband's response: (paraphrasing & fluffing a bit, but this is seriously what came out of his mouth with NO prompting) "Breastfeeding can and is one of the most challanging parts of having a newborn and being a new mother.  While I cannot breastfeed myself, I want to be able to support my wife and be as understanding as I can so that I can offer any sort of suppor that she might need or want during this period.  Plus, it's an amazing thing that mother's can do for their babies and I really would like to see us give it a good try."

The class was held at the hospital in our town where we will be delivering, it was lead by a nurse that works at the hospital and yes, we did have to pay for the class.  In my opinion, it was worth every penny and I would recommend it to anyone who is pregnant.  Whether they are delivering at my hospital or not.  It was a 3 hour class and we learned everything from breastfeeding, to formula feeding, to types of holds, to anatomy about the breast, to bottles, to actually tasting formula, and we watched a couple of videos to accompany the information we were learning about.

Throughout the class, there were lots of information that was shared that was very new to me.  Because I've not had a child nor have I really read about breastfeeding in great detail, hearing some of these things for the first time, was just so helpful.

The biggest pieces that will hopefully help us (that we learned at the class) were these:
  • How important Skin-to-Skin is for you and for your baby, right out of the womb.
    • The thought of a delivery going (somewhat normal) and having no complications with the baby so that you are able to experience skin-to-skin during those first few minutes of life was absolutely amazing.  Watching this video on it all happeneing was just unreal.
    • Yes, I realize that not every birth works out so that this can happen, but just learning about it was amazing.
  • How important it is for the Vitamin-K / eye drops to be delayed as long as possible.
    • Meaning, that they will do them, but not until the baby has had time to do skin-to-skin and also latch on.  If it is done before they latch, it will not allow them to visably see what they are doing and mess up the whole process.
    • At our hospital, there is no rushing around to get those drops into his eyes, so we'll have every chance to have him see us before the drops are done.
  • Where to get help and when.
    • Basically, if you don't think it's working or you are having pains/problems or you are just frustrated, there are hundreds of people willing to help.  There are hotlines to call and consultants that will meet with you.
    • It's never too early or too late to ask for help.
  • That you shouldn't (or that you should try to not) put anything artificial or man-made in the babies mouth until they are 3 weeks old (or latching properly/without issues).
    • Biggest piece about this is if you put your baby in the nursery at the hospital and they are fussy, 9 times out of 10 they are going to shove a pacifier in your babies mouth.  There's a good chance that they will do this without you knowing, too.  So, be clear and be aware or what's going in your babies mouth.
    • Yes, I realize that this might be an impossible task, but it's something we're willing to try.
Let me preface by saying a few things... I read a lot of books.  I read a lot of blogs and I've asked my new mom friend's a lot of questions.  I like to think that I know a lot about a lot of different things that have to do with pregnancy and newborns.  BUT....... When we left that class, we felt that if we hadn't taken that class we would have no idea about how to breastfeed and how important some of those first moments are with your child.  It was very eye opening and while I do understand that there are plenty of people to help you in the hospital with this task, I wanted to know more and I'm so glad that we went!

If you're on the fence about taking a class, I'd say go for it!  It was worth every penny in our minds and why not have the most knowledge you can get about something you've never done before, right?

Did you take classes?  Would you have now knowing what is expected of you (in regards to breastfeeding)?

We are scheduled to take a birthing class at our hospital on May 6th & 7th and we're very much looking forward to those classes as well.

Comments

Allison said…
As (I think) you know, we've successfully been BFing for over 20 months now (not trying to brag--just want you to know where I'm coming from). If they put the drops in your little guy's eyes before you get to BF him, it may not mess anything up. Not saying you shouldn't try to delay it--just that if they do, don't worry too much :) Because I had a C-section, E was actually away from me for a couple of hours before I got to have her and nurse her. I wanted to be able to nurse her in recovery, but they wouldn't allow it and everything still went well for us. So if something gets in the way of your plan, know that it can be okay (I know I hooked onto some ideas and when they couldn't happen the way I wanted, I worried a bit).

At my hospital, I was able to tell them I didn't want them to give E a pacifier and they actually wrote it on a paper in her bassinet so no one would do it. She didn't have a pacifier for a few weeks, which I think helped (although who knows what did and didn't work?).

We did take the class and I think it was GREAT for getting some basic knowledge. It's so hard to know what it's like, though, without doing it. My greatest resource was the LC and nurses in the hospital. The class was great for getting me started, but I called in a nurse regularly to help me get latched (almost all the ones I interacted with had nursed their own babies and were very versed in BFing). So use all the resources around you!
the grumbles said…
your husband's comment was so sweet!
Josey said…
I'm glad the class was so helpful for you!

My friend Oak just wrote a post about this:
http://elusiveembryo.blogspot.com/2011/04/tales-from-teet.html

Thought you might find it interesting. The blog post she refers to in it is this:

http://poemsandnovels.blogspot.com/2011/03/successfully-breastfeeding-newborn.html
Kristal said…
This is my kind of post! :)

Ditto pp - Isaac had a sign on his bassinet that said no pacis. We did start using the paci when he was about a week old, but my doula told me that as long as he had developed a good latch and BF'ing was going well for us, it shouldn't cause any problems. It worked for us, but do what feels right for you!

I loved our BF'ing class, mostly because Chad learned so much from it and was incredibly helpful those first few weeks when things are the most difficult. He was the biggest support and I couldn't believe how much he remembered from our class.

The only thing I wish they would have taught in our class was WHEN to feed the baby. I don't remember that really being discussed and at the hospital, we were told to feed him every 3-4 hours. It wasn't until I got home and had a crying baby that I got online and found out that babies need to eat MUCH more often than that. I read about hunger signs and feeding on demand, and once I started feeding him more often, we were all much happier. :) These two articles on Kellymom were what I read and I'm so glad I found them!

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/basics/hunger-cues.html

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/frequent-nursing.html

Also, somewhere I read on there "You CAN'T nurse your baby too often. You CAN nurse them too little." That was a huge relief to me and exactly what I needed to hear - the hospital made me feel like I was nursing him too much if I nursed every time he seemed to need it (way more than every 3 hours, haha!) so it was reassuring to read that.

One last suggestion - have you read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding? It's a great breastfeeding resource!
M said…
Good for you! I think that it is very important that you are educated and that you try as long as you can to BF that little guy :) I think that the more you know going in , the easier it will be for all 3 of you!
Erin said…
I'm so glad you did a class - we did one too, and it was more helpful than our childbirth classes for sure! I'm glad you're going into it with your eyes wide open but I will agree with Allison that if things don't work out perfectly (like if at 2am 1.5 weeks in you decide in desperation to try a pacifier) it really will be okay. Probably the most important thing is to diligently maintain your supply up until at least 12 weeks, by ALWAYS pumping if you miss a feeding, and not supplementing with formula if you can at all help it. After that, you can relax a bit, but I don't think I did until maybe 6 months in. Breastfeeding was one of the best parts of my first year as a mother - I really hope you get to have a positive experience with it!
molly said…
I have a unique experience in that I was really unable to feed my first baby but able to breastfeed my second! I didn't take the BF class the first time. However, I was bound and determined to BF my second baby and I am SO GLAD I took the class during my second pregnancy because it helped us so much.

I learned things that I really wish I had known the first time around!

So I think it's a good idea to be educated upfront before the big day comes. Good for you! I am very passionate about breastfeeding even though I am a formula feeding mom. Kind of strange, but whatever. It's my story and my unique experience and I have come to grips with it. I figure if I can help another new mom out by telling her my stories and showing her support through the BF process (which is easy for some, harder for others) then my troubles and struggles were not in vain.

Good luck, sweetie. I wish you all the best. Breastfeeding your baby is an amazing wonder!
Anonymous said…
Just to clarify. Vitamin k is the injection baby gets soon after birth. The eye ointment is called erythromycin.
christina said…
Pat on the back to Mr. Hopeful! I *highly* recommend the class to anyone who is even remotely interested in bf'ing.

For me, I can 100%, without a doubt guarantee that I would have given up at 2 weeks had DH not been in the class with me. I wanted to nurse so bad, but we dealt with thrust after the antibiotics from my c/s, so I was in pain, plus we were having some latch issues. The only thing that saved us was that dh was able to remember some of the techniques that he learned in the class (I swear he listened better than I did!). I called him my own personal lactation consultant because he would literally help me place her at each feeding on the one side that we had issues with. It hurt so much and I know I would have given up...thank goodness I didn't because 5 months in, I'm loving it!!

I did a few posts about bf'ing products (storage bags, nursing covers) and returning to work as a nursing mom about a month ago.

I can't believe you only have 7 weeks to go! Crazy.
Sarah said…
Love your husband...it is so wonderful that you have his full support. I can't imagine successfully breastfeeding without it.

Good for you for taking a class. While I didn't take a formal class, I did go to La Leche meetings a couple times while I was pregnant. They calmed the few fears I had, offered me great advice and boosted my confidence! It was worth it.

In all that you've learned I think I have to say that each baby is just different. While I'm sure offering a paci early can be bad, it isn't always.

As I'm sure you've read. Joss was in the NICU from day 2 to day 12. It was physically impossible for me to be with her every time she needed to eat. I pumped when I was away from her. But she did have to get bottles and even some formula too. When I was with her I nursed.

We nursed for over 8 months before a medical "emergency" forced us to stop.

My point - she was introduced to pacifiers and bottles VERY early on. I didn't necessarily like it, but it was what she needed. And it didn't interfere with my breastfeeding plan in the least.

My opinion? I think your baby will lead you. I think forcing things one way or the other doesn't always work. That baby will have his own opinions and likes and wants and needs, and he's just going to show you the way! (with your guidance as well!)
Jill said…
Great points ladies! I love the feedback that I'm getting.

I did forget to mention in my post that yes, I do understand that it may not work out. Yes, I do understand that I might just have to give up on the whole paci idea and give it to him. Yes, I do understand that I may have to supplement with formula. I do understand these things.

With all of that said, in a perfect world, I envision myself breastfeeding. I'm going to give it my all and see how it works out. I'm also planning on preparing myself to work towards a goal and once I make it there, that will be when I make the decision to keep going or stop. It's going to be a very realistic goal but something that will allow for me to work through some kinks.

It's all trial and error. And yes, I do know that every baby is different. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. That's okay, it's not the end of the world, however, I'm not going to give up after 2 weeks, 3 weeks or even 6 weeks. I'm going to stick to it. I'm going to try. I'm going to pray that our baby wants and loves to breastfeed. If he hates it too, then we'll discuss it.

It's just a goal that I'd love to acheive and love. I know that it's not always possible, it's just what I'm hoping for.

That's all.

Again, post delivery and actually having him here, I'll write another post that will give you my updates. I'll be as true to you as I can. I cannot sugar coat anything. Just need to try the best that I can and let him lead me the best that he will.

It's all up in the air, but I still am hoping for the very best. That's all I want. The very best for our little Sprout.

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