By Aubrey Everett
There is a lot of information that comes at us while we are pregnant. The internet, books, our doctors, family and friends are all providing bits of advice and knowledge they want to pass along. As my pregnancy progressed, my doctor encouraged me to check out some of the classes offered at the hospital where I would be giving birth. These proved to be helpful in many ways, even after the birth of my son.
My husband and I elected to take an all-day course focused on labor and childbirth preparation. This was my first birth and I wanted, from a medical perspective, to be prepared for all outcomes. The class was held in the hospital where I would be giving birth, which allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the facility’s processes and procedures, location and directions, and what to expect during and after birth. This course also gave us the opportunity to meet other expecting couples and hear bits of their stories.
The class covered how to recognize signs of labor, relaxation techniques, hospital policies, informed decision making, postpartum care, and various other topics. We were able to visit the maternity ward and tour both a labor and recovery room. Most of the technical information could have been found online, but we felt bolstered by the classroom setting and in-person demonstrations. We came away from the class feeling slightly overwhelmed, but prepared for what was ahead.
Most of the technical information could have been found online, but we felt bolstered by the classroom setting and in-person demonstrations. We came away from the class feeling slightly overwhelmed, but prepared for what was ahead.
About a month before my due date I took an infant care class, followed by a breastfeeding class. Infant care covered basics such as how to bathe a newborn, take a temperature, spot signs of illness, and other care-related guidance.
The breastfeeding class proved to be the most helpful out of all the prenatal classes I attended. My goal was to breastfeed my baby and I hoped it would work out for us. Friends had shared a myriad of difficulties they experienced, so I knew it was not a guarantee. This course educated me on the structure of the breast and ducts, positioning and latches, infant feeding patterns and proper nutrition for nursing mothers.
At the time, the information felt foreign and nebulous. It all sounded good in theory, but I had no practical application for the techniques I was being shown. After my son was born and we were settled in our recovery room at the hospital, our nurse recommended we stop by one of the maternity ward’s “chat and latch” sessions. I brought my one-day old baby down the hall and sat with a lactation consultant who reiterated many of the principals I was taught in the course I took while pregnant.
At the time, the information felt foreign and nebulous. It all sounded good in theory, but I had no practical application for the techniques I was being shown.
All of a sudden it started to click. My son had a great latch from the beginning -- I can’t take credit for that. But the tips I learned in the initial class, and then put into practice, while still in the hospital assisted by nurses and lactation specialists, helped tremendously. We successfully breastfed until just before my son’s first birthday. I can’t attribute all of this success to taking a breastfeeding class, but it certainly helped and I would recommend something similar to all new mothers.