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Should I Take A Breastfeeding Class?

Should I Take A Breastfeeding Class?
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You may be wondering if you should take a breastfeeding class. If you are either a first time mom or a mom who has never breastfed, there are so many things you need to know before your baby is born.

There are a ton of classes to take, car seats to install, registries to fill out, and paperwork to manage and that is all just in the 40 weeks before baby arrives.

The one thing that should come naturally isn’t always easy for mom and baby, and that is breastfeeding.

Should I take a Breastfeeding Class? Yes, you should absolutely take a breastfeeding class. This part of motherhood is not always easy from the beginning, and it is often misunderstood. The parts that people tend to not know are the parts that cause frustration and doubt in a new mom. Classes can help with those issues because knowing is half the battle.

But what is it that is misunderstood? Below I go into this in more detail, but the most misunderstood thing is how much time at the breast it takes for milk to come in and how long it takes for an established milk supply to form.

When these things are understood and internalized new moms can keep from panicking during feeding sessions that never seem to end.

mom holding baby. should i take a breastfeeding class

Is a Breastfeeding Class Required?

No one is going to require you to take a breastfeeding class. The hospital will still let you deliver there even if you don’t take any classes at all.

Now with that being said, if you are planning to deliver at a birth center or at home with a midwife, then they may require a birthing class that will include some breastfeeding information.

Just because the class isn’t required doesn’t mean you should skip it. If you do not intend to breastfeed, then of course you don’t need a class.

But if you do plan to breastfeed your baby and you want to be successful and prepared, then you really should take one.

If you are unsure if you want to breastfeed, I would still recommend taking a breastfeeding class.

After taking the class, you will have some more information and education about breastfeeding. This will help you to make the best decision for you and your baby.

Here is a link to a super affordable online breastfeeding class that I took. One of my favorite parts about it was that I could reference it over and over before and after giving birth.

If you are looking for more breastfeeding help, La Leche League does offer some breastfeeding support groups for after delivery.

When Should I Take a Breastfeeding Class?

The timing of a breastfeeding class is not really that important in the long run, but you do want to have some information about labor and delivery itself before you take one.

Labor and delivery, as well as any complication that could arise, will affect breastfeeding. These things are usually covered in a labor class so it is good to go to that class first.

The general recommendation for when to take a breastfeeding class, according to Lamaze.org, is in your third trimester.

Sometime between 28 weeks and 38 weeks is a beneficial time to take the class.

Your body will be going through the final changes before delivery and having the information fresh in your mind will help you when the baby latches for the first time.

If you are in your second trimester, it is a great idea to sign up for a class and at least get it on the calendar.

My baby was born prematurely, so I didn’t have much time in my third trimester for classes. A great idea is to sign up for an online class in your second trimester like this super affordable online class I took.

One of the best parts about it is that you can watch it in your second trimester and then re-watch it again closer to your delivery date.

Since you have online access, you can even go through it again after you are home with your little one if you are having questions or needing help with latching.

What Do You Learn in A Breastfeeding Class?

When first-time moms think about breastfeeding they may think that they don’t need to prepare. This is the most natural thing in the world, right? Well yes and no.

It is very natural; your body was not only made to grow the baby but to feed the baby when he or she is born.

However, breastfeeding is not easy. In fact, it can be painful at first and you will feel like the baby is eating all of the time.

Well-meaning people will question whether or not the baby is eating enough and may make you doubt yourself and your body. This is one of the most common concerns for new mothers.

But the knowledge that you will receive from a breastfeeding class will help you understand your body, your baby, and give you peace of mind when the well-intentioned come with their opinions and worries.

For all the details on what to expect at a breastfeeding class, be sure to read my article here.

How Breastfeeding Works

One of the main things that you learn in a breastfeeding class is how breastfeeding actually works. What happens to your body when you give birth and begin breastfeeding is something that is not common knowledge.

The biggest mistake in breastfeeding is going into it without reliable knowledge.

Your milk is actually not in when you first give birth, and it could take a week for the milk to actually come in. Until the mature milk comes in, you may only produce very small volumes of milk.

Before that, you are producing colostrum which is very important for a baby’s immune system in the newborn phase. That is just one example of something you will learn in breastfeeding class.

How Long to Breastfeed at One Time

Another really great piece of information that you will learn in class is how long a breastfeeding session can last.

To be honest, and they will tell you this in class, the time frame can vary depending on your child and the timing of growth spurts.

However, if you are not nursing your baby for at the very minimum of 10 minutes on each side, then your milk supply will not be strong.

It is best to let the baby lead during breastfeeding. They need to have a very large amount of time at your breast in the first three months to establish your supply.

You are going to be tired, and there will sometimes be two-hour breastfeeding sessions, but just keep in mind that this is normal.

How Your Baby Grows

Knowing how your baby grows and the size of their stomach as they grow will help you understand the cues that they are sending.

There is a common misconception that newborns need to have large volumes of food to grow and sleep well. That just isn’t true.

A newborn’s stomach is actually very small at first and they can’t hold large volumes at one time.

This is why they wake up to eat so frequently. It is not uncommon for breastfed babies to still wake up to eat even after six months of age.

This information will be very eye-opening, and you need to keep it in the front of your mind.

It is very tempting during those sleep-deprived days when everyone is asking if the baby sleeps well and offers that oh-so-unhelpful, unsolicited advice.

The Importance of Breastfeeding

Classes typically focus on why breastfeeding is important for your child, and this is very appropriate. Your baby borrows your immunity during the first year of life while they are nursing.

This immunity is priceless and cannot be found anywhere else. Helping them fight colds, allergies, and other childhood illnesses are all benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is also good for the mom, your hormones will regulate faster, it will help your uterus return to normal size quicker, and for some women, it can help to lose the baby weight.

One thing to be carful about, is if your sole reason for breastfeeding is weight loss, then you may be disappointed.

There are some women (I’m raising my hand here) that actually cannot lose a single pound while nursing.

I did lose about 20 – 25 pounds within a few weeks after giving birth, but I think that was mostly due to the weight of the baby, placenta, and fluid goes away after delivery.

What to Watch Out For

Now this section is really important. A breastfeeding class will also tell you what to watch out for.

Knowing how to tell the difference between a small baby and failure to thrive, or the signs and symptoms of a newborn with a tongue-tie.

They will also tell you how to tell your milk has come in and will give you pointers to help if it doesn’t seem to be coming in at all.

You will learn the difference between growth nursing and fussy nursing. They will let you know the signs that the baby isn’t latching well.

Another key point that classes will cover is what to expect when you first start breastfeeding. Like sore breasts and how much the baby latching will hurt in the beginning.

If you can take a breastfeeding class, I definitely believe it will be beneficial to you and the baby.

Ask your healthcare professional for a class recommendation in your location. Or, for the most convenient option, check out this breastfeeding class online!

In addition to taking a breastfeeding class, there are several other things you can do during pregnancy. Here is a link to my article with 6 easy tips to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy.

More Breastfeeding Tips

Save this article to your Baby or Breastfeeding board on Pinterest so you can find it later!

For more great tips about breastfeeding and pumping, be sure to follow PumpingMamas on Pinterest.

NEXT, Check Out These Articles

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  3. Are Nursing Tops Necessary? Do You Really Need Them?

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