August 04, 2020
How Well Do Your Birth Classes Prepare Families for Breast/Chestfeeding? Take This Quiz to Find Out!
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 1 Comments
August is a month that is all about breast/chestfeeding. August 1st - 7th is World Breastfeeding Week, in the USA, the entire month is National Breastfeeding Month, the 9th - 15th is Native Breastfeeding Week and the 25th - 31st is Black Breastfeeding Week. These rich and relevant campaigns mean that information and resources are available to meet the needs of many of the diverse families that you may work with.
A childbirth educator is responsible for providing families with evidence based information on lactation and infant feeding. Many people assume that this information is collated in the “last class” of a series, or the last topic of an abbreviated learning session. The reality is that teaching expectant families about the importance of human milk for their newborns and how to meet any challenges that may arise is not a topic for the end of the learning experience. It is something that should be woven through the entire learning experience from the first moments that a family begins to participate in a perinatal learning opportunity.
How well do you communicate the importance of providing human milk to human babies? Run through this checklist and make sure you are doing a thorough job. Can you or your program score a 15 out of 15 - with all of these important components already being included in the material you present to families?
1. Marketing materials used to inform families about your classes and programs should include images of breast/chestfeeding parents that represent diverse populations. Double check your print materials, your website and your newsletters and other widely shared resources.
2. When in-person classes return (they will return, correct?), make sure that the artwork and posters on display in your physical space reflect the intimacy and dance of breast/chestfeeding.
3. Anatomy of the pregnant body is a great chance to talk about the breast changes that people can expect throughout pregnancy that is a clear sign that their body is getting ready to feed their baby. Not observing these changes could indicate that further investigation with a health care provider or lactation consultant is needed.
4. Discussion of things that need to be done in advance of baby should include acquiring a pump, and connecting with a lactation consultant prenatally if there are pre-existing conditions such as breast augmentation or reduction, previous breast surgery or other issues.
5. Commenting on the observable presence of colostrum in the last few weeks of pregnancy in preparing for the newborn’s arrival.
6. Teaching about how unnecessary interventions during the labor and birth can impact initiation and success of early feeding efforts.
7. Providing information on cesarean birth and initiation of skin to skin and even feeding in the operating room if possible.
8. Normalizing the newborn being placed immediately on the birthing person’s chest skin to skin (not on top of a blanket) right after birth, and remaining there for the “golden hour” or two as you teach about the third and fourth stages of birth. Showing videos and images that reflect this important stage.
9. Sharing information about feeding cues, a newborn’s stomach capacity and the important need to feed frequently and on cue.
10. Addressing how a support person or partner can play a critical role in breast/chestfeeding success, with to the point information on specific tasks and activities that support the lactating parent and new baby.
11. Discussing postpartum recovery plans that emphasize good nutrition, rest and support so that the parent/baby dyad can get off to a strong start.
12. Helping families to be able to recognize problems, and providing resources for skilled and experienced lactation consultants in your area that families can reach out to if they do hit some bumps.
13. Sharing in person and virtual support groups as well as websites and feeding apps for postpartum and breast/chestfeeding families, where they can ask questions, access information and connect with other families.
14. If asked, providing recommendations to lactation supportive pediatricians and family practice doctors in your area who will support their feeding journey with evidence based information.
15. Informing families about where they can access donor milk if becomes necessary and they are interested in doing so.
Talking about and sharing information on breast/chestfeeding is not a topic that is initially brought up at the end of a perinatal class for the first time, but skillfully woven throughout the discussion of late pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. By the time the main topic of how to feed your baby is presented, parents are set up for success by all the nuggets of information that they have already received through all your information sharing sessions that have come before.
How well did you do on this checklist? Were you or your program able to score a 15 out of 15? Is there anything else that you do to normalize breast/chestfeeding in your childbirth classes that I did not list here? Share them in the comments section below.
TagsBreastfeeding Childbirth education Breastfeeding Class Breastfeeding Awareness Month Sharon Muza Breast/Chestfeeding Lacation