Congratulations! I assume if you're reading this, you're preparing for the arrival of a new baby. Your mind must be reeling with so many questions and concerns, trying to absorb so much information. But that's proving difficult isn't it? There isn't just a giant truck load of information for you to learn, but there is an entire internet full of conflicting information for you to wade through.
There are mommy blogs, mommy facebook groups, twitter moms, real life moms all telling you 10 different things. One of the biggest topics of debate is breastfeeding. Most women can breastfeed. Many women will breastfeed. Some women will struggle with breastfeeding. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in 2014 about 82% of infants began breastfeeding, but only about 55% were still breastfeeding at six months old. Less than 25% of babies were exclusively breastfed at 6 months old.
So if we know that biologically and medically the majority of mothers giving birth can breastfeed, and the majority of women attempt to breastfeed, why are so many struggling? The answer comes down to access to information and support.
A thousand years ago when breastfeeding was the only option, most women were successful. What has changed? Well, look around... the answer is society. Our ancestors lived in small knit communities where they witnessed breastfeeding norms and struggles, and learned how to overcome and manage the challenges of breastfeeding, and motherhood as a whole. Mothers today are not likely to have seen a relative breastfeeding, let alone be privy to their struggles and triumphs. Despite the efforts to "normalize breastfeeding", our society still has a long way to go.
"But, wait!" you say. "It's the 21st century. We have information at our finger tips. Why do we need to learn from others when we can google?" Breastfeeding is a very personal and intimate experience. That kind of experience requires personal and intimate support.
Sometimes our mothers offer outdated information, our spouses haven't a clue, our friends may have never been there, and sometimes even our doctors aren't really well versed in lactation. This is when parents need information and support the most.
Anyone who intends to breastfeed, MUST develop a strong support network during pregnancy. A strong support network (or lack there of) can make or break a mother's success in reaching her goals. Of course there will be some women who get through without support, but support makes things so much less stressful! Beginning by taking a breastfeeding class is a great idea. You can sign up for a breastfeeding class at your local hospital, or your physician/midwife's office. If you are eligible for WIC, they may offer you a breastfeeding class as well. Additionally, you could take a class with a Breastfeeding Expert.
So... what exactly is so valuable about a breastfeeding class that you can't get from a book in the library? Well, everyone has a different learning style, and many learn best from discussion. While my class includes visual aids, and interaction, the most valuable part of my course is talking about not just the scientific and informational aspect of breastfeeding, but sharing various experiences and the ability to explore your questions.
You may be thinking, "If discussion is so important, I shouldn't take your online course, then." And you're not wrong. But let's be real. A good, in depth class is going to take longer than an hour or two at your local hospital. Do you really have the time to schedule multiple classes? Especially if you're already taking birth classes? An online course means you can learn at your own pace, and get plenty of in depth information to prepare you for almost anything that may come your way. Follow us on social media to stay tuned for informational blog posts, youtube videos, and Breastfeeding Classes!
Do you have friends who are expecting and could benefit from learning more about breastfeeding? Share this post (and any others you like!) with them now!