What exactly is a breastfeeding class? And why should every mom-to-be take one? Learn all about these courses, plus find out which one is the best.
Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful, and so healthy for mama and baby, but if you’re a mama-to-be, you likely have tons of questions—and that’s A-Okay! Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally to new mamas. That’s where a breastfeeding class comes in.
But what exactly is a breastfeeding class—and how do you take one before your baby is even born?? We’ll break it all down, including:
- What’s covered in breastfeeding classes
- How to find breastfeeding classes near you
- Plus, my favorite breastfeeding class
What is a Breastfeeding Class?
Just as it sounds, these classes teach you everything you need to know about breastfeeding, including how to prepare for breastfeeding, how to best nurse a newborn, which positions to use, and how to tackle common problems like oversupply.
Here’s a more formal breakdown of the typical curriculum:
The basics of breastfeeding
The basics of breastfeeding is a broad topic, but it can cover many subtopics, including:
Many mamas find that learning the basics of breastfeeding empowers them and affirms their natural ability to nourish their baby.
How to prepare for a healthy breastfeeding relationship
Preparing for breastfeeding is equal parts mental, emotional, and physical. Before you commit to breastfeeding, you already know that you’ll spend a lot of time nursing your baby. To prepare, your breastfeeding class can teach what you need for success. This includes:
- Physical supplies such as nipple butter, breastfeeding support pillows, and a breast pump
- How to create a nursing station
- How to stay comfortable and healthy when you’re in nursing around the clock
Steps for nursing
During your breastfeeding class, you’ll learn the steps for nursing your baby. This includes:
Perhaps one of the most valuable parts of a breastfeeding class is the troubleshooting section. Even though you may not experience any of these issues at first, it’s a good idea to take notes so you can refer to these solutions later on during your breastfeeding journey. Troubleshooting can help you find solutions for:
During a breastfeeding class, you’ll also cover pumping. Many mamas use pumping when they return to work or to give dads or grandparents a chance to feed baby. The instructor can answer all of your questions regarding pumping.
Are Breastfeeding Classes Really Helpful?
These classes are often taken during the third trimester, but how helpful can it be if you don’t actually have your baby to nurse? Hey, you don’t even know if your body is going to produce milk! But the truth is, a breastfeeding class has many benefits, including:
- Helps you learn what to expect—the good and the bad
- Prepares you mentally and emotionally
- Boosts your confidence in getting that first latch right after baby is born
- Gives you time to learn about common obstacles before you even experience them
Many mamas also find that classes help separate facts from myths when it comes to breastfeeding. There are so many myths about breastfeeding—like the dangerous myth that you need to toughen up your nipples before breastfeeding—and a class can help you avoid these myths.
Another benefit: Breastfeeding classes help your partner, too! They can prepare their own minds and hearts for your breastfeeding journey—and learn how to support you.
Get free updates on baby’s first year! – Free Updates on First Year [In-article]
Sign me up!
Where to Take Breastfeeding Classes
Both prenatal and baby care classes can include sections on breastfeeding classes. Take note, however, that most (but not all) of the prenatal or baby care classes focus on other topics, and breastfeeding tends to be a quicker section. If you are serious about breastfeeding, ensure that the course you choose covers breastfeeding in-depth.
If you want in person breastfeeding help, particularly after baby is born, La Leche League is a wonderful resource. They have free meetings all over the country, and their leaders are trained to offer support and guide you through your breastfeeding journey. That said, these are not formal classes; instead, think of it more as a support group.
Another great option is to see a board-certified lactation consultant. These individuals are formally trained to help you troubleshoot anything and everything related to breastfeeding. But, again, these aren’t exactly classes. While lactation consultants do often teach classes, their individualized services are generally more for troubleshooting issues once baby is born.
To find a formal class near you that’s worth your time, check with your midwife’s office. You can also find breastfeeding classes near you by utilizing the following resources:
- Google, especially Google My Business listings
- Classes at your local hospital or birth center
- Your community center
- Local facebook support groups
There are also some quality online breastfeeding classes. Why would you take an online course? They are:
- Convenient: Take the course from the comfort of your own home on your own schedule.
- Flexible: Need to stop and change your toddler’s diaper? No problem.
- Efficient: You don’t waste time on the things you don’t need to know.
- Individualized: With online classes, you don’t have to sit through other’s questions, it’s all about what you want to know. If you don’t have questions about tandem nursing, you don’t need to listen to discussions about it.
- Access to instructors and support after the course: This is a perk that is never offered with in-person classes.
Another perk to online breastfeeding classes is that you can revisit the material any time. This is so important especially if you develop questions when your baby arrives. Questions about clogged ducts? No problem! Questions about finding new positions for nursing? No problem! This benefit can be invaluable throughout your entire breastfeeding journey—and even subsequent nursing relationships with future babies you have.
When Should You Start Taking Breastfeeding Classes?
While you may need to refer to books or course material many times throughout your breastfeeding journey, it’s a good idea to start taking your breastfeeding classes while you are still pregnant. Aim to start your class during your third trimester, so the material is fresh when your bundle of joy arrives.
Have Your Tried Breastfeeding Classes?
Have you considered taking breastfeeding classes? Have you taken a class before? We’d love to hear your thoughts!