Yesterday I attended a breast feeding instruction and support class at the hospital where our baby will be born. Though I’ve read books and joined nursing forums and spoke to moms who successfully breastfed, I greatly looked forward to this three hour class taught by a lactation and feeding expert. The class was full of great information including this baby feeding hold many moms who have undergone a Caeasarean section find comfortable.
At the beginning of the class the mom’s were asked to inroduce ourselves by name, due date, baby’s gender and something they had heard about breastfeeding, which our instructor, Laura, put on a flip chart. Out of twenty mom’s, I was the only one that does not know the gender.
Though I took an anatomy class in college, the anatomical parts of the class were a very informative refresher. Milk will flow from my ducts which have twists and turns in their branches out through my nipples.
One thing that will effect milk supply greatly is the number of modules I have. While this number is set at puberty, they can be stimulated through breast massage to increase in surface volume. We practiced several such techniques over our shirts. Laura warned us not to do this too much before Week 38 as it couid cause early labor to start.
I learned a lot of what I’d been told including the need to overly rub, twist and toughen up my nipples was no longer recommended. She also recommended leaving baby free of mittens and instead carefully filing baby’s nails (as could be learned at child prep classes or in other ways), so baby could explore and suck on fingers and knuckles as part of the biological way to learn to suck for nursing.
She also suggested keeping whatever nursing bras we had even if in diffenet sizes and waiting till baby was a few weeks old as our breast size and rib cage diemsions would likely be at a fixed size at that point.
I was thrilled to learn so many unexpected things in class. I had worn a T shirt with a U for University on it, yet while seated it looks like this.
Laura explained that when a proper latch was formed the baby opened a wide mouth over the breast and the baby’s comfort zone was up against the most comfortable part of the nipple so that it would be comfortable for mom as well. This is why toughening up nipples in advance is not needed though some mom’s find nipple creams or even olive oil or coconut oil out on them also helps when it feels painful.
We talked briefly about clogged ducts and mastitis and she encouraged us to contact a lactation coach if we had such difficulties.
Laura also showed us some great techniques for using breast pumps as many of us would be returning to work and would need to pump and nurse both in a single day.
I had nor had any nipple discharge prior to the class. This morning I noticed some yellow crust from my right nipple, it appears the breast massage may have stimulated my colostrum supply. I’m delighted to see my breasts already preparing for their role in feeding our baby.