At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Breastfeeding classes are classes that teach parents the basics of breastfeeding and how to get successfully started in this process. Many times these classes are taken prior to the birth of a child and might include attending lectures for one or more sessions that emphasize the how-to aspects of breastfeeding. Though classes are usually taught in groups there are ways to get private breastfeeding classes or to get lessons after a baby is born, particularly if there are problems.
Most teachers for breastfeeding classes have training as lactation consultants or they could belong to organizations like the La Leche League and have a great deal of experience in helping moms learn how to nurse. Classes are likely to stress the physiological aspects of breastfeeding, breastfeeding benefits, matters like how long to nurse and how to have a good supply of milk, and important subjects such as how to know if a baby’s latch or mouth grip on the nipple is appropriate. Teachers could accomplish these things in many ways and use slides or handout materials. People can look for these classes in places like hospitals, parenting groups, or community centers.
An alternative to attending a group breastfeeding class is to seek instruction from someone privately. Many people hire a lactation consultant to teach them about breastfeeding, and to basically get the same information from a class in a more private setting. Another option is to take a hospital/community class and then plan to hire a lactation consultant shortly after a baby’s birth. Some women prefer this to the theoretical knowledge they gain in breastfeeding classes, because the lactation consultant can actually look at the process of nursing a baby and determine if it is most effective or needs improvement.
An additional option for some women is to look at free online breastfeeding classes or to watch commercially prepared DVDs that cover the same material. The advantage to these classes is that the material can be watched more than once. The disadvantage is that it’s impossible to ask questions.
Some new moms feel nervous about the issue of breastfeeding and they look forward to taking breastfeeding classes so they can understand how to do it. Other women think breastfeeding will be a piece of cake. Both types of women can be mistaken.
Lots of little things can make nursing less than natural or somewhat difficult in the beginning; some women have babies who seem very at ease with the process. In either case, getting some instruction through breastfeeding classes can be of use to understand that a continuum of difficulty and ease exists. Having a few handy tips at first may be enough, or women may need to consider the services of a lactation consultant, or at least a good friend or family member who has successfully nursed children in the past. No matter how nursing commences, women can understand from classes that any difficulties arising are not a symptom of failure or of being a bad mom.