Parent-to-be Breastfeeding…

08 Aug

In Redditch we have six sure start children’s centres that run all sorts of classes and get-togethers for parents and expectant parents. Yesterday I went to my local one (where I also see my Midwife every few weeks) for a breastfeeding class. Normally Luke would come along to my appointments and classes, but we both decided that this probably wouldn’t be one that he would be that into…

There were seven other pregnant women there (one a girl I know from school, another who I’d met on my tour of the local hospital), all at different stages of our pregnancies – with one woman actually due next week – but we were all first time mothers. Two of the girls had brought their mums along with them, which was lovely as we got to hear how different things are now compared to 30 or 40 years ago. They also gave us a good deal of great, practical advice. I wish I’d thought to take my Mom along as she’d have loved it.

We started off by introducing ourselves and sharing our due dates, and then we played a “moving around” game where one side of the room was designated as “Yeah, that’s true”, the other side as “Nah, that’s false” and the middle of the room being a maybe. The instructor and trainee instructor gave us statements about breastfeeding and then we had to choose where to stand. It was a good game in theory, but in reality it wasn’t so great for people who a) have puffy feet and ankles, and b) just want to sit the eff down.

It was useful for dispelling myths though, and I learned that only 2% of women physically can’t breastfeed their babies. That’ll be good to know when I’m struggling during the first few days…

Eventually we were each given a weighted baby doll and asked to hold it the way we would when feeding. Everyone else chose a cradle hold or a rugby ball hold so I sort of lay back in my chair and laid the doll on my stomach in a natural/laid back feeding position as I’ve read that it’s less tiring for mum and easier for baby. I had a go at a cradle hold while the instructors gave us advice on getting a good latch in the different positions, and I found it really difficult to hold the doll. I had imagined that it’d be easier but I just didn’t know where to put my arms to best support its little body.

I’m not surprised that women struggle with breastfeeding if they go for this kind of hold first…the laid back approach is much less faffing!…you can read about it here

I must admit, it felt VERY odd to be holding a plastic face to my breast, but holding the doll itself was rather comforting. I sat it on my lap while we chatted about the different techniques and the importance of skin-to-skin and got quite used to it being there. I honestly didn’t want to give it back.

Through the rest of the session we learnt about good nutrition (and ideas for quick meals when we’ve only got ten minutes to make food), getting the proper latch (and how to get them off again!), and more. I think the most important thing that they kept saying was:

“It’s called BREASTfeeding, not NIPPLEfeeding…your aim is to get them latched onto breast tissue and NOT onto your nipple…”

I’ve done an awful lot of reading about pretty much everything to do with pregnancy, birth and parenting, so I can’t say that I really learnt much that I didn’t already know, but I did pick up on a few things that’ll be useful when the baby is here. It was also was nice to get the chance to chat with other pregnant women (and their mums!), although I was surprised at how little the other women seemed to know. I think I must spend half my life panicking that I don’t know something and then frantically searching out articles, blogs and forum threads that answer my questions.

…with any luck I might even be ready by the time the baby gets here…


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