You may be wondering what are the pros and cons to taking breastfeeding classes online vs in person, and which is the better choice?
If you are a first-time mom or a seasoned mom, you may be thinking about taking a breastfeeding class. These classes are the best way to learn about the ins and outs of feeding your child.
The first decision a mother must make regarding breastfeeding classes is how she wants to attend one of these classes
So, which should you take: breastfeeding classes online or in-person?
After weighing the pros and cons, you should take a breastfeeding class online.
This is because the two biggest benefits of an online breastfeeding class are:
- You can take the course while pregnant, and review it again once you are home from the hospital with your baby
- You have the flexibility to take the class on your own schedule
Here is a link to my favorite online breastfeeding class. I love that it was so convenient and it really helped me to feel more confident once my baby arrived.
Below are the pros and cons of the different types of breastfeeding classes.
Pros of Online Breastfeeding Classes
- You can learn from the comfort of your home
- You learn the same information you would at an in-person class
- You have the flexibility to schedule your class around your life and at your own pace
- You can enroll in the class while you are pregnant, and then re-take the class after you come home from the hospital
- You have options for customization in your class
Pros of In-Person Breastfeeding Classes
- You can work with lactation consultants in person.
- You can benefit from face-to-face communication and instruction.
- You can meet other women and support one another.
- You have the opportunity to get out of the house in a supportive environment
Cons of Online Breastfeeding Classes
- Some courses do not offer hands-on learning. (Be sure to pick a course that offers you this option)
- Some techniques can be easier to grasp if you have face-to-face communication or instruction
Cons of In-Person Breastfeeding Classes
- In-person classes must be scheduled in advance, allowing no flexibility for your schedule.
- Limited class sizes can lead to long waiting lists.
- You may need to arrange childcare, which can be difficult if you have other children at home.
- Most breastfeeding classes recommend that both you and your partner attend. It can be challenging to find a class that fits both you and your partner’s schedule.
Breastfeeding classes, no matter how you take them, will help you in some way.
When you are trying to decide between in-person or online, try to figure out what you want out of the class the most.
Do you want flexibility with your schedule? Do you want real-time experience with a lactation professional?
Read on to learn more about both types of breastfeeding classes.
Online Breastfeeding Classes Vs In Person
Mothers have such a busy schedule, especially when you are pregnant or if there is a new baby in the house.
If you are pregnant, you may be trying to balance a busy work schedule with many doctor appointments in the second and third trimesters.
While your calendar might not yet be filled up with appointments for the baby or family outings, you will feel like your days are packed with tasks.
If this sounds like you, you can benefit from attending an online breastfeeding class.
Benefits of Online Breastfeeding Classes
You don’t have to take off work to take an online breastfeeding class. When attending an online class, you can grab your computer and chill on the couch.
You will receive the same information you would if you attended a class in person. The curriculum is generally the same no matter what class you attend.
There is unlimited flexibility with scheduling when you take an online course. You can find programs that give you all the curriculum to go through at your own pace.
With most in-person classes, they do not allow children to attend. You do not need to worry about finding a babysitter while you and your partner attend an online breastfeeding class.
If you have other children at home, you can take an online class during their nap time or after they have gone to bed for the night.
You may plan to take a breastfeeding class a month or two before you are due. If you take an in-person class, you have to try and remember all that information after you are home with the baby.
With online courses, you usually have access to the material for several months. You can review the online course material close to your due date, and then again after you are home with the baby.
You can also find affordably-priced breastfeeding classes online. (Like my favorite online class right here!)
When choosing an online breastfeeding class, you can often customize what you choose to learn (and not learn).
This is based on what you think your breastfeeding journey will look like. For example, you may need to make sure the class covers information about pumping, bottle feeding, and returning to work.
Cons Of Online Breastfeeding Classes
One of the cons to an online breastfeeding class is that you won’t have a physical teacher for anything hands-on, like positioning.
While you will have pictures and resources, you won’t have someone looking at the latch.
However, most women take breastfeeding classes while they are still pregnant. During these classes, dolls or stuffed animals are used to help teach positions and latching.
You can practice the positions with any dolls or stuffed animals that you have in your house if you are taking an online class.
After your baby is born, nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants can help you in-person. These professionals at the hospital or birthing center can assist with positions and latching your newborn.
If you are giving birth in a hospital, you’ll want to choose a hospital that is designated as a “Baby Friendly Hospital”.
At these “Baby Friendly” hospitals, the nurses and lactation consultants help new moms every day. They have loads of experience with breastfeeding.
If you are giving birth at a birthing center or at home, be sure to ask your midwives or doulas how they can support your breastfeeding experience.
Recommended Things To Look For In Online Breastfeeding Classes
There is a multitude of sites and lists that all claim to be fantastic and even “the best” breastfeeding online class.
So, how are you supposed to know which one is worth taking? You should look for a class taught by a certified instructor. The best classes are taught by a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (LEC), Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) or IBCLC.
If the classes are not held by someone certified, you won’t get the resources you need.
Another thing you’ll want to look for in an online breastfeeding class is that it offers examples and videos.
You’ll also want to make sure after taking the course, you have information on milk supply and how you will know your baby is drinking enough milk. This is one of the biggest concerns of many new moms.
No one class is better or worse than another. Your choice depends on what you want your breastfeeding journey to be.
Pros and Cons of In-Person Breastfeeding Classes
While online breastfeeding classes are convenient and rising in popularity, an in-person class can offer some benefits you may not be able to get from a virtual setting.
If you are a hands-on learner who prefers to be taught in a physical, classroom setting, an in-person class is an option for you.
One option is to follow these steps:
- Take an online breastfeeding course for your initial education because it is very convenient. If the online course is taught by a certified educator (like this class), then you will get the same information that is taught at in-person classes.
- Then, get support from nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants in the hospital (or at a birthing center) after delivery.
- If you still need additional help or have problems after your baby is born, then meet with a lactation consultant in-person. This is to address any specific questions about latching or positioning.
An in-person session with a lactation professional can be beneficial after your baby arrives.
Pros of In-person Breastfeeding Classes
During an in-person breastfeeding class, you can work with lactation consultants one-on-one. They can show you hands-on techniques for latching and different positions.
These face-to-face conversations also make you feel heard and cared for.
In-person meetings allow you to meet other moms who are pregnant and due around the same time as you.
If you are attending a class after you have a baby, this type of class allows you to have a safe, inclusive place to go after you have a baby. It can help you if you want to get out of the house to change up your routine.
Cons of In-Person Breastfeeding Classes
One of the biggest cons of in-person breastfeeding classes are that you don’t have the luxury of being flexible with scheduling.
You may need to find a class and time that is convenient for both you and your partner to attend. This is because it is usually recommended that your partner attend the breastfeeding class.
Figuring out how to manage both of your schedules can be tough. Trying to find a perfectly timed class to match both schedules is even harder.
Attending an in-person class can take several hours on a weekend or in the evening.
This can be inconvenient when you have many other things to do to prepare for your baby. You are probably already busy taking birthing classes, shopping for baby items, and decorating the nursery.
Class sizes for in-person classes are also limited which can mean long waiting lists.
If you need information on how to sign up for in-person breastfeeding classes, you can contact the hospital where you are delivering. Ask if they have any classes available and about their schedule.
If classes at the hospital are full, you can call lactation consultants in your area and ask if they know of any classes you can attend.
If you are having trouble finding an in-person class that fits your schedule and has available spots, check out my favorite online course here.
If you are wondering what to expect when you take a breastfeeding class, check out my article here.
Online Breastfeeding Support Groups
After taking a breastfeeding class, and once you are home with your baby, you may want to consider attending a breastfeeding support group. These are fantastic resources.
You can usually find a group leader who is a certified Lactation Consultant. These support groups also offer words of encouragement and support from other parents.
Support from others who are dealing with the same issues can help with not feeling alone.
You can find several online breastfeeding support groups on Facebook pages and various forums. It is easier than ever to get support and feel like you are heard, without having to add anything else to your calendar.
Some online breastfeeding support groups that you can look into are:
- Breastfeeding Forums on the What to Expect site
- Breastfeeding Forums on The Bump
Lactation Consultant Support
Whether you take a class online or in person, you will most likely want access to a Lactation Consultant. This way you can ask questions in a conversational environment.
Some programs will allow you to have direct contact with a consultant who is assigned to you. This way you will get the same person every single time.
Other programs allow you to send an email to the on-call Lactation Consultant or a team. This way you still have the support, which is the most important thing.
Lactation Consultants can help with many things including:
- milk supply issues
- latching problems
- anxiety about how you are doing
If you have a day where you feel overwhelmed or that you aren’t doing enough, try reaching out to an LC. The consultant can help confirm that what you are feeling is normal, and this may help tremendously.
No matter how you choose to learn about breastfeeding, the best decision you can make is to attend a breastfeeding class. This is true weather you attend in-person or online.
The help and support you will receive is phenomenal and will help you through the rough nights and long days.
The only “right” decision about a breastfeeding class is one that fits your needs and preferences.
The online support groups are a great place to make friends and ask questions without needing to feel like you have it all together.
Having an LC to email or chat with any time of day incredibly helpful. Support is essential to make sure your breastfeeding journey is a success!
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