August 29, 2019
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Food for Thought When Making Milk
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
In the United States, August is National Breastfeeding Month. World Breastfeeding Week takes place the first week of August. We are in the middle of Black Breastfeeding Week now. It seems only fitting that the August Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators post describes a fun and engaging breastfeeding/chestfeeding class activity. I first saw my colleague, Tara Coffin, PhD, MEd, CLE, conduct this activity in her breastfeeding/chestfeeding class and I loved how simple yet effective it was. Tara is a local childbirth/lactation educator and public health researcher who can be reached through her website Milk and Genes. Since observing this activity in Tara’s class, I have incorporated the same activity into my classes with great success. Maybe you will consider giving it a try. If you would like to check out all the past Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators posts, you can find them here.
During pregnancy, families learn about breastfeeding/chestfeeding their babies. They often receive a lot of input from many sources, including family, friends, and health care providers. Unfortunately, what families are being told is not always accurate. Often the information includes what foods they should eat while lactating, what foods they should avoid (for a variety of reasons) and what combination of foods can help to increase milk supply. This activity answers all of those questions in a fun, short and engaging activity with a big “finish” at the end!
- A collection of laminated images of various food and drink options. (There is a starter list to download at the bottom of this post)
- A sign that says “Okay” in green and “Not Okay” in red.
Note: You could collect empty containers and plastic/toy foods instead, which would be more fun but the drawbacks are that the activity is less portable, takes up more storage space and could cost more to start with to acquire the materials you need.
When to conduct this activity
I like to do this activity during my breastfeeding/chestfeeding class, as families return from snack break, so the food theme continues. As they drift back, they are invited to place the laminated cards on their seats in the “right” category in the front of the class.
How long does this activity take?
This activity takes five minutes of class discussion time if families are completing the sorting part as they return from break.
How to conduct this activity
Prior to the break, I introduce the activity and give instructions for the sort. During the break, I distribute the cards on everyone’s seats for when they return. I place the Okay/Not Okay cards next to each other at the front of the classroom on the floor. (You could do it on the wall too.) As we start class again, the participants have all placed their cards in what they believe to be the appropriate category. I thank them for doing such a thorough job but tell them I want to make a little adjustment. I proceed to remove the “Not Okay” card and adjust the “Okay” card to sit in the center of the entire collection. We then discuss what the research says about diet and lactation, how many extra calories a lactating person should consume and some myths on consuming or avoiding different types of food and drink.
How is this activity received by families?
Every time I conduct this activity, there are so many “oohs and ahs” when it is revealed that parents who are providing human milk to their children do not need to eat any differently other than plan to consume a healthy and varied diet and increase their calorie intake by approximately 500 calories from their prepregnancy diet. The families share what they have heard from different sources, a robust discussion about many myths (blue Gatorade, Pink Drink from Starbucks, and other supposed galactagogues) ensues and they leave this activity knowing that they can make milk without needing to consume or avoid specific foods.
There are many myths and half-truths that surround breastfeeding/chestfeeding, milk supply, diet, and fussy babies. This simple, quick, low-cost but effective activity is an opportunity to address what the evidence is on lactation and diet and provide an opportunity for families to get accurate information about what is safe to consume.
TagsBreastfeeding Childbirth education World Breastfeeding Week National Breastfeeding Month Black Breastfeeding Week Lactation Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Tara Coffin Sharon Muza Lactation Education Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding