Your breastfeeding journey should ideally start before you deliver!
After finding out they’re pregnant, one of the first things most women contemplate is their upcoming labor and delivery experience.
But what about breastfeeding? Most soon-to-be moms know breastfeeding provides newborns with the right amount of nutrition that helps with immunological, psychological and developmental growth. However, many mothers give little thought before birth as to how to start the breastfeeding routine and what to expect from it over time.
Both parent and baby will typically have a learning curve before breastfeeding feels like second nature. And while both mothers and babies are equipped with very helpful innate instincts that help to facilitate nursing, modern birth practices and cultural norms can mask or even undermine what comes naturally.
“There is a misconception in the community that because breastfeeding is natural, it comes easy; but in fact, there are many potential barriers to breastfeeding,” Colleen Ross, RN, IBCLC lactation consultant at St. Francis Medical Center, shares. “Breastfeeding is a learned skill and the vast majority of mothers need help along the way.”
Like most new things, education around breastfeeding can lay the framework to help you prepare. In fact, studies show that women who receive comprehensive prenatal education end up breastfeeding longer and more successfully.
To help our communities, Bon Secours proudly has a robust prenatal education program offering myriad classes on childbirth topics, including Breastfeeding Basics, taught by experienced lactation specialists with years of personal and professional experience. The goal of this program is to give pregnant mothers accurate and well-organized information on nursing and provide foundational knowledge to draw from once the baby is in their arms.
What should you learn in a prenatal breastfeeding class?
Attending a breastfeeding class can help you better understand how breastfeeding works, how to establish a healthy supply of breastmilk, how to help baby latch, how to know if baby is getting enough milk, different breastfeeding positions and who to call if you need help.
A knowledgeable instructor can help you make important decisions that will impact your breastfeeding success and can help you reach your breastfeeding goals. A good breastfeeding class should be evidence-based, include hands-on practice and show pictures and videos of babies actually breastfeeding. The best prenatal breastfeeding class will not only provide you with information, but also a safe and encouraging place to ask questions.
A prenatal breastfeeding class should include:
- How breastmilk production works
- How to get off to the very best start in the hospital and at home
- Discussions of questions and concerns you may have about breastfeeding
- How to lead your baby to properly latch and drink effectively
- How to tell your baby is getting enough and whether breastfeeding is going well
- Understanding and protecting your milk supply
- Role of your partner in breastfeeding
- Adjusting to parenthood – common concerns and problem-solving
- How to pump and store breast milk
- Tips for troubleshooting common breastfeeding challenges
- Resources for where to turn if you need help
Check out our upcoming events page to find one of our breastfeeding classes near you.