4.20.2008

Breastfeeding Class

I didn't have time last week to write about the breastfeeding class my mom and I attended, so I thought I'd do that now. :) The class was 2-2 1/2 hours long at IU Hospital downtown Indy. The same lady who did the morning session of our day-long childbirth class actually presented on breastfeeding. She did a much better job giving information this time around! She is a lactation consultant for the Clarian Hospitals, so this was kind of her forte. Even though this was my second time being around this lady, I still don't know her name...she never introduced herself. So, for the sake of this blog, let's call her Sally...yeah...Sally the lactation consultant.

There were only two other couples at the class, one due before us and one due after us. I'm always a bit envious of couples who are expecting their baby to come before ours! I was really glad that my mom went to this class with me. Ryan would've been great...don't get me wrong. It was just a fun way for us to bond and for her to share something with me that she really enjoyed about having my brother and me. Even though I've read books about breastfeeding, it was really good to be at the class and have all of my questions answered.

For those of you who are like me and know very little about breastfeeding, here's some information for you. When the baby is born, it is best to try breastfeeding (if that's how you choose to feed your baby) within the first hour or two. If given the chance, many babies will actually wiggle their way from your belly after being born up to your chest to latch on and have their first meal. Isn't that WILD!?! Anyway, babies tummies are the size of a marble at birth, so they need very little in their first several feedings. Colostrum is the first milk that the baby takes in. It is filled with antibodies and nutrients and is just the perfect amount for the baby's tiny tummy. Then, about three days after the baby is born, your milk actually comes in. The baby will likely nurse anywhere from every 1 1/2 to 3 hours, and that's from the start of one feeding to the start of another. Yep, breastfeeding is going to be my number one job for the first few weeks or so after the baby is born! :)

Most of my questions surrounded pumping breast milk. Sally highly recommended waiting a solid month before introducing bottles to the baby. Of course, people definitely do this sooner, but I am going to give it my best effort! The baby uses different muscles to breastfeed than bottle feed, and they typically don't have to work as hard to bottle feed. So, waiting a month can help establish breastfeeding before introducing bottles. I will be heading back to work early August, and my goal is to continue feeding our baby with breast milk. My dad and Danette bought us this amazing breast pump (they say if you're going to do it, get a good one!), which will really help with giving our baby breast milk for as long as possible. I don't necessarily have a particular time set for giving our baby breast milk, but in my mind I would love to do it for 6 to 12 months. It is recommended that babies only have breast milk or formula for the first 6 months before introducing foods, but again, I know some people will introduce rice cereal sooner than that. I'm sure our pediatrician will help guide that process! I guess pumping is pretty simple. It goes faster than actually breastfeeding. I'll store the milk in these ziplock storage bags that go with my pump in a cooler that comes with the breast pump, though Sally told us that breast milk stays good for up to 8 hours without refrigeration due to all the good bacteria and antibodies in the milk. WHOA! If I need to freeze the milk when I get home, I will just have to take it our and run warm water over the bag for 5-10 minutes to thaw it. Pretty cool, huh?

Sally also talked about the positions to hold the baby while breastfeeding and encouraged us to try different positions after getting the hang of it in order to prevent getting too sore. Speaking of pain, she said if you are just in a lot of pain, the baby is not latching on correctly. I'm glad that I'll have the support of our doula and other female friends and family members to help support me while we figure it out. Some babies are just great eaters and take to breastfeeding right away. Others need a little more help! So, let's hope that this baby is great at latching on and is a good eater. :) Again, time will tell!!!

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