I had my first breastfeeding class last night, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience (literally)! While I understood the basics of breastfeeding, it was great to learn all of the many, many things I didn't know!
This was the first class in a series of two. We talked about the benefits of breastfeeding, how it works, what makes a good latch, breastfeeding positions and lots of other things. I loved the LC who taught the class (you have to be comfortable with yourself to spend 2.5 hours grabbing your boo.bs in front of a room of strangers). Everyone seemed to pay attention, although this one guy across the aisle from me kept snickering at the pictures of n.ipples. Really, dude? Seriously. I was one of only 3 in the class who didn't bring their partner with them, but to me it wasn't a big deal. I told Mr. M. I wouldn't make him attend as long as he promised to read all of the materials. He was VERY grateful.
I thought I would pass along what I learned to anyone who maybe isn't taking a class, is a clueless as I was, or is just curious in general.
First, and most importantly: The Benefits of Breastfeeding
-Complete and superior nutrition for the infant. The baby uses every part/nutrient in the milk.
-Mutual needs of mom and baby are met. The tactile contact with mom and physical stimulations aids in baby's brain development.
-Excellent development of baby's jaws, teeth and gums.
-Cost savings compared to formula. Breastmilk is FREE!
-No preparation required. No heating, storing, freezing, bottles, etc.
-No problem with baby having constipation. This is because baby absorbs ALL of the nutrients from the milk.
-Fewer allergies, colds, ear infections, diaper rashes and eczema. Baby gets the helpful antibodies he can't make on his own yet from mom's milk.
Pretty great list, huh?
Instead of boring you with textbook-like talk, I'm just going to make some bullet points of things that either 1) I didn't know or 2) I think you might find helpful.
Did you know that...(I didn't)
-Your n.ipples actually STRETCH OUT when you feed? I didn't and it looks CREEPY! :)
-Milk usually comes in 3 days after a v.aginal birth and 4-5 days after a C-section.
-Your ribcage will shrink after you give birth so you need to make sure your nursing b.ras have room to tighten.
-You are supposed to wait 3-4 weeks after birth before offering baby a bottle or pacifier (unless directed otherwise by a medical professional) so he establishes a great latch and has no confusion.
-You aren't supposed to wash or scrub your n.ips while BFing because it strips off the protective layer of skin cells that help you from getting rubbed raw.
-You don't need to worry about baby not being able to breathe with his nose all smushed up on your b.oob. If he can't breathe, he will let go!
-For sore n.ips, the only approved treatment is anhydrous lanolin. There are two kinds - Lansinoh or Tender Care by Medela. Our LC prefers Tender Care.
-You should unswaddle the baby during feeding time - just leave him in a diaper and onesie or sleep sack.
-You should ideally try to BF within the first hour after birth, when baby is most awake and alert. After the first couple of hours he will get VERY sleepy and stay that way for 24-48 hours, making feedings difficult. This is why babies lose weight after birth.
-The LCs at our hospital actually prefer for new moms NOT to bring B.oppys or other nursing pillows to the hospital. The prefer to use their bed pillow. That was a helpful heads up and one that I don't really mind.
That's all I got besides the actual techniques and positions, which are covered in every childbirth book, etc. It looks like cross-cradle and football hold are the best when learning to feed, and cradle hold and lying down work better once feeding is established.
Hope this is helpful to someone!