Sponsored by Columbus Pediatric Associates.
Why are prenatal education and ongoing breastfeeding support important?
Every breastfeeding experience is unique. There is no doubt that no two breastfeeding experiences are alike, even within families. Each child and mother have their own personality and physical differences. That said, nursing your child is very much comparable to a journey – and there will be bumps in the road. Yet evidence tells us that mothers who feel encouraged and supported in their breastfeeding experience tend to breastfeed longer than those with no support at all.
Years ago, when breastfeeding was the only option, women saw mothers, sisters and friends latch a baby. In our modern world and western culture, it is not often we are provided the opportunity for up close and personal observations of other mothers breastfeeding their infants. As a result, many mothers enter into breastfeeding and the postpartum phase with unrealistic expectations. We feel the top three reasons you should attend a prenatal breastfeeding class are as follows:
- Breastfeeding takes practice. It is commonly said, “breastfeeding is natural, but it does not come naturally.” Moms and babies have some instinctive skills but it does take thought, collaboration, and practice. The greatest risk of breastfeeding discontinuation occurs within 2 weeks of hospital discharge – what is happening in this timeframe? Receiving support during the antepartum and earliest postpartum weeks will equip you with the tools you need to keep going when bumps come along.
- There is a lot of misinformation surrounding breastfeeding out there. Prenatal classes and support groups provide opportunities for the mother to observe and ask questions of other breastfeeding mothers with young babies. It is important to identify and acknowledge your own personal fears and perceptions associated with breastfeeding: Will you experience pain? Embarrassment? Concerns of the inadequacy of breast size or appearance?
- Knowledge increases confidence. By attending educational classes and/or support groups you will develop a sense of empowerment about your own personal knowledge, skills, and capability to provide your baby with optimal nutrition and improve health outcomes for you both.
In parenthood, you will encounter challenges… it may be in the hospital or after going home, when you return to work or one of you becomes sick; but you can overcome. We will always be here for you. At Columbus Pediatric Associates, our goal is to help you have a “successful” breastfeeding experience – whatever that “success” looks like for you. You are amazing, Mama. Like a Mama Bear you are devoted to your baby and will do anything to love, protect and nourish them well – we hope to better prepare, support, and encourage you in this experience.
Even if you don’t think you plan on breastfeeding, most healthcare providers would encourage you to attend a prenatal class. In our Mama BEARS class, we will address many topics surrounding what to expect the first few weeks at home with your newborn, including how to tell if your baby is hungry, elimination patterns and infant sleep cycles and when to seek additional assistance.
Please contact Columbus Pediatric Associates for more information!