My daughter is turning 2 this month and sadly, we are about to start the emotional process of ending our breastfeeding journey. I’m happy to be getting my body back but my heart is literally breaking in a million pieces as I wonder if she’ll still want to cuddle with Mommy and lay her head on my chest once the milk is gone.
I never thought we’d make it this far though. Foolishly I convinced myself that I would fail at breastfeeding because I didn’t have big breasts.
Good news, I was wrong!
Breast size has nothing to do with it. But breastfeeding education does.
By now, people have probably started asking you which prenatal classes you are going to take.
Truth is, you may not need to take all of the classes offered to expectant parents but there is one you shouldn’t skip.
Can you guess which one it is?
A prenatal breastfeeding class!
Think about it. Whenever you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, what do you do? You research it, ask questions, find forums, get your hands on any and everything until you feel prepared. Or, you throw your hands up in frustration and say “just forget it!” Breastfeeding shouldn’t be any different, except the part where you get frustrated and just give up 🙂
I know you’re overwhelmed by everything you still have to do before baby arrives. But, I promise you if your goal is to breastfeed, a breastfeeding class is a must do.
Let me show you why.
And while I’m at it I’ll even help you find one!
Related: How To Breastfeed
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What is a breastfeeding class?
A breastfeeding class is designed to educate expecting moms on the basics of breastfeeding. They are typically taught by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or in some cases a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor or Educator.
Either way, you are getting someone who really knows the ins and outs of breastfeeding.
These days you can receive breastfeeding education online with a virtual breastfeeding class or by taking the traditional face to face type of class.
For the most part they offer the same information but from a different approach. It’s up to you which format will work best.
How to find a breastfeeding class
Your local hospital should have a breastfeeding class. Check their website and search for prenatal classes or maternity classes.
Another option is to simply google breastfeeding classes near me. That will give you the results of any breastfeeding course in your area, even if it’s not with the hospital where you’ll be giving birth.
The options in your area may or may not be limited but the good news is that there’s no limit to the prenatal breastfeeding classes you can find online!
Here is a list of online breastfeeding classes for parents that I recommend:
Online breastfeeding class for breastfeeding only
This is a company that was started by a Labor and Delivery Nurse who furthered her education by becoming a Childbirth Educator as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Her goal was to create breastfeeding education that was both easily accessible and reliable. She definitely achieves that with her 2 online classes:
- Breastfeeding Basics: This is a 70 minute course composed of both photo and video demonstration that leaves expecting moms feeling confident and knowledgeable as they enter the world of breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding Hurdles and How-To’s: This is a 60 minute course that not only teaches you what to do when you encounter certain breastfeeding problems (most moms encounter at least 1) but it also prepares you for introducing solids and the weaning process.
The best part about Lactation Link is that Lindsey also offers breastfeeding consultations. You can reach out to her and receive an E-Consult over a secure video session.
To get a feel for her style, check out this video below!
This company was founded by a Certified Lactation Educator who also happens to be a mom. Thousands of moms have received lactation education from her and were able to achieve their nursing goals.
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class: This 90 minute course is made up of 13 videos teaching you how to latch baby, various nursing positions, and how to avoid sabotaging your breastfeeding journey. It also comes with bonuses: The Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide, Printable notes from the course, and The Little Black Book of Breastfeeding Secrets. She’s giving you everything you need to rock at breastfeeding!
If you don’t believe me, read the testimonials!
Online breastfeeding class for pumping
Pumping and Storing Breastmilk: This a 45 min course that will provide you with all of the information you need to reach your breastfeeding goals while being away from your baby.
Three Video Bundle: Save money and purchase all three of Lactation Links online prenatal breastfeeding classes: Breastfeeding Basics, Breastfeeding Hurdles, and Pumping and Storing Breastmilk. Now you’ll be covered if you come across any breastfeeding issues.
This is the perfect course for moms who are returning to work. She goes over making a plan with your employer, what to do if you’re not producing enough milk, and even how to get your baby to take a bottle!
Who knew that getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle would be so stressful. We went through 7 different bottles before my daughter finally decided to like one. I was super stressed out because I was due back to work in a couple of weeks and was afraid my baby would starve at daycare. How I wish this course would have been available to me at that time!!!
This class is all about maximizing your milk output and learning how to safely store breastmilk. I wasn’t an exclusive pumper, but one of my closest friends was. She had an extremely difficult time because there weren’t any resources out there for her. Now, if you choose to exclusively pump you won’t have that issue.
Related: Pumping Must Haves
When should you take a breastfeeding class?
Ideally you should learn how to breastfeed prior to having your baby. That way when your baby arrives you pretty much know what to do. The beginning to middle of the third trimester is a great time because you’ll still have some energy and won’t be in full blown nesting mode.
If you are going to take an in person class, make sure to start looking during your second trimester. Breastfeeding classes fill up fast but some places won’t allow you to actually register until your due date is near.
If you are reading this and you’ve already had your baby, don’t worry a breastfeeding class is still beneficial for you too! But in your case I would skip the traditional face to face and instead look for an online course that teaches breastfeeding.
What happens in breastfeeding class?
Traditional breastfeeding class
In a traditional breastfeeding class you should receive a booklet or pamphlet that will serve as a resource guide after the course. Make sure to hold on to this because you will want to refer back to it after your baby is born.
There will be other expectant moms there and you may even see dads too. I think it’s helpful if dad accompanies you so you can have a second set of ears and an additional person to help support you with the breastfeeding process.
I was amazed to see dads and wish I’d brought my significant other too. But, If you’d rather go alone, that’s perfectly ok too.
Don’t be surprised if you see a baby doll at your seat. In my breastfeeding class we used them to practice the different breastfeeding holds while watching video demonstrations.
There was a lot of information to take in and I took a ton of notes. Some moms had attempted breastfeeding previously but weren’t successful. They had a lot of insight to give and the questions they asked turned out to be very helpful. Interestingly enough, none of them had taken a class for breastfeeding the first time around.
If you attend an in person class be prepared to watch videos, participate in demonstrations, and listen to questions. The hands on experience is invaluable!
Online breastfeeding course
With an online breastfeeding course you can expect to see an outline of the breastfeeding class topics on the main page. The course will more than likely be divided into modules. You can take the class whenever and wherever you want.
If you don’t want to do the whole thing at one time, you don’t have to. You can also skip to the specific sections that interest you. Unlike with the traditional class, you dictate the flow.
You can expect to do some reading, watch videos, and best of all, go at your own pace.
What to look for in a breastfeeding class?
The most important thing to look for is the instructor’s credibility. We talked a bit before about Lactation Consultants and Breastfeeding Counselors. We know what they are saying is credible. But what about the breastfeeding courses online? Who are they taught by?
I’ve taken two breast pumping courses which were both online, The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class (after already returning to work) and the Pumping Mom Academy. One was taught by a Certified Lactation Educator and the other was taught by a mom who had a great deal of experience pumping. Although the mom wasn’t a breastfeeding professional, I trusted her because she had actually experienced it! But you have to decide what makes you comfortable.
By the way, both courses were highly beneficial and I’d recommend them to any mom that will eventually start pumping.
Face to face classes typically only focus on the “nursing” portion of breastfeeding. They usually won’t discuss pumping or milk storage so keep that in mind.
Remember you can always read online breastfeeding class reviews too if you have any doubts or just need reassurance before signing up for a class.
The other thing to consider is how the course will be delivered. Do you want hands on, in your face breastfeeding training or would you like to be relaxed on your couch taking the class in your pjs?
They both have advantages and disadvantages:
|Traditional Breastfeeding Class||Hands on experience|
Live person to ask questions
|You have to remember what you learned|
Spaces are limited
There may not be one local
May not know what all will be covered ahead of time
Doesn’t teach pumping
|Breastfeeding Course Online||Know what you’re going to learn ahead of time |
Go at your own pace
Family can watch too
Review as necessary
|May not be able to ask questions |
No hands on experience
No one to tell you if you’re doing it wrong
Are breastfeeding classes helpful?
Still not convinced?
Did you know that according to the CDC 83% of babies in the US receive breastmilk at some point but only 25% are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. They also found that 60% of moms stop earlier than they intended to due to issues with lactation and latching.
That won’t be you though because you’ll be well educated on breastfeeding and you’ll have direct access to a lactation consultant if you have any problems.
Remember, if you take a breastfeeding course online you’ll be able to review the different topics whenever you need to and you’ll have it should you decide to have another baby.
Signs you have a good breastfeeding class
You know you’ve found a good breastfeeding class when it works with your schedule and throughly covers the important breastfeeding issues.
Here is a list of typical breastfeeding class topics:
- How breastmilk is made
- Benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby
- Latching and positioning
- Maintaining milk supply
- What’s in breastmilk
- Nipple care
- Breastfeeding troubleshooting
- Hand expression
- Signs of fullness in baby
- Breastfeeding hacks
I don’t know about you but I was clueless about everything on this list before I took a breastfeeding class. Going into the class my goal was to try and nurse my baby for the first 6 months. I’m happy to say I exceeded that goal and I’m still nursing my baby at 23 months. This wouldn’t have been possible if I did not take the time to get educated on how to breastfeed by taking a class. As you can see, I feel very strongly about moms receiving breastfeeding education because of my personal experience and the experience of those around me.
That being said, all breastfeeding classes are not created equally. If the class you are considering is missing more than 2 of the objectives from the list, it may not be a good breastfeeding class.
I strongly recommend both Lactation Link and Milkology for your breastfeeding needs. If your heart is set on also taking a birthing class, check out The Pregnancy Prep. This online prenatal course is taught by a Nurse Practitioner with over 10 years of experience and will provide you with a thorough birthing and breastfeeding education. It also comes with access to a private facebook group so you’ll have access to Chloe and other moms in your same position. How awesome is that!
If you still don’t feel that a breastfeeding class is necessary, at least consider reading a book about learning to breastfeed. I want you to have everything you need to reach your personal breastfeeding goals.
In the mean time, be sure to visit my Facebook Group and talk to other moms about
Breastfeeding Classes and if you need one!
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