As you prepare for the arrival of your new baby, there are probably many items on your to-do list. You might be taking time to decorate their nursery, stock up on diapers, or learn about sleep safety.
You may be constantly aware of how your baby is growing (and kicking!), but one thing that you might not have given as much thought to is taking a prenatal breastfeeding class.
While it might seem like just another thing to add to your already long list, prenatal breastfeeding classes taken before the birth of your baby can be incredibly helpful for when your baby does arrive. Led by board-certified lactation consultants, these classes offered at Duly Health and Care can help you prepare for what to expect, common challenges, and what to do if you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding.
To shine some light on prenatal breastfeeding classes, three lactation consultants at Duly answer some of your questions about what to expect:
- Carol Chamblin, DNP, APN, RN, IBCLC — Doctor Of Nursing Practice and Lactation Consultant
- Miena M. Hall, MD, IBCLC — Breastfeeding & Family Medicine Physician and Lactation Consultant
- Karen Manning, APN, CPNP, IBCLC — Nurse Practitioner and Lactation Consultant
Here are the answers to 7 common questions about prenatal breastfeeding classes.
1. Who should attend a prenatal breastfeeding class?
Karen Manning, APN, IBCLC: I think anyone that may even be considering breastfeeding should attend a prenatal breastfeeding class. We can answer many common questions new parents may have about breastfeeding, like:
- What holds are appropriate for the beginning of breastfeeding?
- How often and for how long should I nurse?
- How do I know my milk is in?
- Can I sleep through the night and let someone else feed the baby?
2. What about someone who doesn’t have any intention of breastfeeding — should they still attend a prenatal breastfeeding class or are there any other prenatal classes at Duly they should consider attending?
Miena Meek Hall, MD, IBCLC: Even if a parent would prefer not to breastfeed, given the current national formula shortage where we remain months away from a resolution, even partial breastfeeding or expressed breastmilk feeding can reduce their family’s reliance on formula. There are instances where either infant, parent, or both will be unable to breastfeed or expressed breastmilk feed, but in the majority of cases, this will not be known until after the birth of the child.
3. What are some things I will learn in a prenatal breastfeeding class?
- How breastmilk is produced
- What “normal” breastfeeding looks like
- How to prevent engorgement and treat sore nipples
- Latching and positioning techniques
- How to pump and store breastmilk
- Where to go for help
- How to be a supportive breastfeeding spouse/partner
4. What are your top tips for parents who are planning on breastfeeding?
Carol Chamblin DNP, APN, IBCLC: My first piece of advice is to take my prenatal breastfeeding virtual class. In addition, some of my top breastfeeding tips are:
If your nipples are sore despite assistance with latching technique, this is not normal, and scheduling ongoing lactation-related appointments with a Duly lactation consultant is necessary.
If experiencing any risk factors, or having latching problems, start to pump using a hospital-grade pump within 6 hours of delivery.
If starting to use a hospital-grade breast pump is deemed needed, then a personal pump is not appropriate for initiating a milk supply at hospital discharge. You should rent the hospital-grade pump for its continuing use until you can be seen by a Duly lactation consultant.
5. Why might someone be hesitant to attend a prenatal breastfeeding class — and what would you say to encourage them to do so?
Karen Manning, APN, IBCLC: Parents can be hesitant to attend a prenatal breastfeeding class due to time constraints — or maybe they prefer one-on-one discussion. I would encourage them to go to a class because the information can help them get off to a good start with breastfeeding. Our classes provide parents with a base knowledge, so they can be more confident when starting to nurse. Classes also provide families with realistic expectations for how breastfeeding may go — and sometimes other people will ask questions you may not be thinking of.
6. How do Duly prenatal breastfeeding classes help new parents reach their breastfeeding goals?
Carol Chamblin DNP, APN, IBCLC: Misinformation online is very common. The information shared may be from other moms who have breastfed. While support, reassurance, and encouragement are important, conflicting information is not. By teaching evidence-based information in our prenatal breastfeeding classes, parents can make informed decisions regarding the initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding effectively.
7. What support is available to someone if they learn they are not able to breastfeed?
Miena Meek Hall, MD, IBCLC: If someone learns they are unable to breastfeed, Duly offers support in the form of:
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and Breastfeeding Medicine Physicians who can help parents develop a weaning plan and prescribe medications to induce lactation cessation.
- A Behavioral and Mental Health Team who can help support parents through the process.
- OB/GYN, Family Medicine, and Pediatric physicians who can help support the parent and child before, during, and after the weaning process.
To learn more about breastfeeding and getting ready for parenthood, register for a prenatal breastfeeding class today.