Taking a breastfeeding class is a fairly common occurrence these days. Mothers and fathers know that they need help with breastfeeding basics and take a class to prepare themselves for breastfeeding the new baby. The problem is that many breastfeeding classes are available, and not all of them actually teach what you have signed up for. Here is a look at some of the major categories of knowing if your class will meet your breastfeeding needs.
Your instructor has the right qualifications.
Those who teach breastfeeding classes have a variety of backgrounds. While there is not one perfect background to have, there are those who have the perfect mix of the needed qualifications. The first is typically a breastfeeding background. Is your teacher an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) or a certified lactation counselor (CLC)? These ensure that she has a minimum amount of knowledge and hands-on support of breastfeeding women.
Has she ever breast fed a baby? While not always a must, it is very helpful. This means that she has been there, done that - not just see it or read about it.
The focus of the class is breastfeeding.
Sometimes you'll find that hospitals offer classes that are mixed in with other classes. It's often hard enough to cover breastfeeding in the short amount of time given, let alone other issues like baby care.
The same statement applies to breastfeeding classes that try to sell you things. This could be services or breastfeeding equipment. Offering them for sale is one thing, pushing them or making it seem like you have to have it to breastfeed is another.
You cover the basics of breastfeeding.
Your class should cover at a minimum:
- How breastfeeding works
- How to establish a good milk supply
- How to get your baby to latch
- How to know if your baby is getting enough milk
- Positions for breastfeeding
- When and where to get help should you need it
You see breastfeeding in action.
This can be having a student from a previous class come back to talk about her breastfeeding experience and nursing in class or even a really good video. (If you have trouble with this portion of the class, you can also go to attend meetings like La Leche.)
You leave knowing where to get help if you need it.
Hopefully learning the basics, having a positive attitude and being with others will be enough to get breastfeeding off to a good start for you. But if it doesn't happen and you do need help, you should know when and where to get help.