Should I Attend A Prenatal Breastfeeding Class?

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:

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:

To learn more about breast­feed­ing and get­ting ready for par­ent­hood, reg­is­ter for a pre­na­tal breast­feed­ing class today.

  • Miena Hall, MD - Hinsdale Family Doctor

    I enjoy providing care for every member of the family. I am especially passionate about caring for both mom and baby while they are on their breastfeeding journey. Whether I’m providing postpartum mental health support, attending to common breastfeeding issues or treating a baby's tongue-tie, I am here to support you every step of the way.

  • Karen Manning, APN - Naperville Lactation Consultant

    Delivering compassionate high quality care to assist families as they transition through the different stages of growth and development. Partnering with patients and families to aid them through illness and injuries. Guiding and supporting mothers during breastfeeding.