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Breastfeeding class

(39 Posts)
DuelingFanjo Mon 08-Nov-10 23:13:51


Perhaps I am just a negative Nancy so please feel free to tell me I am.

I just got back from the NCT Breastfeeding class, part of the Ante-natal course.

I was really surprised that they didn't cover stuff like tongue-tie, Incorrect latch, cracked nipples, nipple cream, advice from the older generation... all the things you see posted about on here all the time. Instead we watched a video about how babies naturally find the breast and then were split into gender groups where the women discussed day by day changes in the first week and the men looked at breastfeeding myths like 'breastfeeding won't stop you getting pregnant'.

So... I realise that the NCT want to encourage as many women as possible to give breastfeeding a go, and it's something I really want to do, but by being so positive about it all and not addressing some of the difficulties it can involve surely they could be setting some women up for a fall? Plus what's with the teaching men and women different things... can't we all learn together and wouldn't men be able to provide more support for their partners if they learned about the process of breastfeeding along with their partners?

I am thinking of ringing up to book in for the NHS breastfeeding class too, will they cover other stuff or will it confuse things?

gaelicsheep Mon 08-Nov-10 23:19:12

Is that an NHS breastfeeding class as part of Parentcraft? If so, I wouldn't bother tbh. All I remember about ours is knitted breasts. confused

I have never been to any NCT classes, but I totally agree that in general people try to sell b/f so much that they end up being totally unrealistic about what to expect. I guess they're trying to avoid scaring women off. This is a particular hobby horse of mine, but people on here have pointed out to me all the difficulties in getting the message right. I don't know what the answer is, I really don't.

However, I think they could usefully assume that women attending an NCT breastfeeding class have probably already decided to breastfeed and need some useful information about how to make is successful. I think those kinds of women could handle some more realistic and helpful information.

Guacamole Mon 08-Nov-10 23:21:53

I did NHS antenatal classes and pretty much got the same information you have... I discovered tongue-tie, latch, cracked nipples, nipple cream, advice forthe older generation on here!

icapturethecastle Mon 08-Nov-10 23:28:31

One good idea might be to go to a NCT breastfeeding clinic prior to having your baby they are usually run during the bumps and babes meet ups(well around my area). You may meet new mums have problems and get some advice first hand etc before you baby is born. I took DS when he was 4 days old and they were brilliant.

As you say the classes make it sound so easy but not always the case, I had a tongue-tied, cracked nipples etc with one or the other of my DCs and it all worked.

DuelingFanjo Mon 08-Nov-10 23:52:22

I also worry, because they have made it look so easy, will my DH offer me the right support if it goes wrong. Will he be expecting it to be easy and lack sympathy if it's not.

gaelicsheep Mon 08-Nov-10 23:56:29

Make him sit for an hour browsing this topic. That should put him straight!

Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 08-Nov-10 23:58:10

I agree with you. I was sure I must be doing it wrong as it wasn't easy at all. then I phoned a friend who had b/f two dds and she told me yes, it was hard, but gave me some good advice and told me to hang in there.

I do wish someone somewhere along the line had admitted that it wasn't necessarily going to be easy- would have made me less anxious and worried I was messing it up.

DuelingFanjo Mon 08-Nov-10 23:59:03

He just won't do that. The NCT classes were my way of getting him educated because while I read and read and read he doesn't. I guess I expected a bit more from the class to be honest. I have talked to him about it all but everything we have discussed up to now has just been superseded by this class.

gaelicsheep Tue 09-Nov-10 00:08:06

Oh gosh, I don't know what to suggest. If you do struggle, and I hope you don't, I would hope that your word (and possibly tears, sorry!) would be enough.

I can tell you that he will certainly find it very hard to accept that you are attached to the baby pretty much 24/7 for a few weeks, that he can't do anything directly to help, that you won't just give in at the first problem. At least, if he's anything like my DH these will apply. Mine has been pretty much bludgeoned into submission, I have to say.

Perhaps rather than going into detail with him about the potential problems, you could be very explicit about how he can help?

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 00:09:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gaelicsheep Tue 09-Nov-10 00:13:10

Totally agree. A bit like the conspiracy of silence about labour. But with b/f it makes even less sense. My pet hate is the old "if it hurts, you're doing it wrong" line. Total bolleaux in the first couple of weeks.

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 00:24:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gaelicsheep Tue 09-Nov-10 00:29:10

And then, if my current experience is anything to go by, at 20 weeks they totally regress back to a newborn feeding pattern. sad Not sure if that's typical, but it sucks (pardon the pun).

In a previous incarnation, I started a very long thread about this very thing. Something about getting more realism into the b/f literature that's handed out.

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 00:40:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gaelicsheep Tue 09-Nov-10 00:42:44

Oh no, I'm sorry! Listen, my DD has been a little bugger dificult from the word go. It's probably just her!

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 00:52:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gaelicsheep Tue 09-Nov-10 00:56:27

Mine's been asleep for 10 mins, after feeding for the third time since being put down at 9:30. Just plucking up courage to take her upstairs - again!

thesecondcoming Tue 09-Nov-10 01:02:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marzipananimal Tue 09-Nov-10 09:57:10

I guess there's a difficult balance to strike between educating people about potential problems and not making them lose confidence in their ability to bf (and after all some lucky sods people do find it easy). If people are anxious about things going wrong, that makes them less likely to succeed I would have thought. However people definitely need to have realistic expectations especially about things like clusterfeeding and growth spurts

tiktok Tue 09-Nov-10 10:04:31

Fanjo - I am an NCT bfc and I would never, ever cover all that stuff you list. I might cover some of it, if it came up from the class themselves.

It is far more important, and useful, for the class to find out how the baby finds the breast - not to 'sell' breastfeeding, but to showcase normal breastfeeding from which an understanding of why things go wrong can come. Day by day changes in the first week is also a good topic to discuss - and to know to expect that life does change day by day at this time.

The men would be with the women for most of the class, surely? You are not saying that men learnt nothing about the process of breastfeeding from the class, are you?

There will have been an acknowledgement that things don't always go to plan - she will have outlined where to get help/where to phone and I would be very surprised indeed if the main issues - soreness and concerns about milk supply - did not appear anywhere

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Nov-10 10:26:35

Hi tiktok, I hope I haven't offended and I do see the benefit of showing biological nurturing, it was lovely. Maybe I have read far too many stories about the difficulties on here and not enough people post their positive problem free breastfeeding experiences?

The men were always in the same room but we were split into gender groups for more than half the class. While us women talked about day by day changes the men seemed to be having a laugh about other things unreleated to breast-feeding, including my DH telling funny stories about me practicing with my sling when I first got it.

The men did learn about biological breastfeeding (from the video we all watched) and they did talk about the myths surrounding breastfeeding in their group session - I am guessing because sometimes it is men who put pressure onto their partners to start using formula?

As far as soreness went we talked about when the milk comes in in the women's group during the tea break as one woman had a friend who's milk 'never came in' and we talked about hand expressing as another woman wanted to know how early her husband could give a bottle.

Why don't you cover things like nipple creams, correct latch etc? I always thought that gettng the right parts of the nipple into the mouth were quite important and yet there was no clear demonstration of this. The video was just a series of lying back on beds and sofas with both breasts exposed while the baby nuzzled them and found the breast and attached themselves, which was lovely and natural but there wasn't really a discussion on correct latch etc.

I plan to breastfeed and if I can I will spend as much time as I can with my top off in the privacy of my own bedroom doing skin-to-skin and letting the baby find its on way ut I don't think it will be possible all the time and I also worried that as it was made to look so easy, what if my DH doesn't realise that I am having problems but instead thinks it must be my fault for doing it wrong because the counsellor made it all look trouble free?

Does that make sense? Sorry to waffle.

tiktok Tue 09-Nov-10 10:48:31

Not offended at all, fanjo It's a shame you didn't get what you wanted from the class. It's certainly the case that while bf problems are common, for all sorts of reasons, reading a talkboard skews things - and often, as we see here, a lot of problems are actually caused by people not understanding how things work. Think of the threads which describe perfectly normal bf behaviour ie a baby feeding in response to his needs and desires rather than to the clock....not a problem with bf, and not something that normally needs a supplement.

There is an educational benefit in men bonding with men - something they find easier in a same sex group. It does not matter a great deal if they stray off topic, really. Indeed, discussing myths is important. Men (we know) are far less likely to read books about bf, and are more likely to hear 'stuff' - a discussion on myths can help dispel some of what they hear.

The idea that we have to get the right parts of the nipple into the mouth is not exactly wrong, but a prescriptive set of instructions about how to breastfeed is, I would say, less common these days. It does not help - when we used to teach this, plenty of women were still very sore and damaged. Biological nurturing research has shown us that babies do a lot of the positioning and attachment 'work' themselves if left to it. Certainly, when I see a mother who is having difficulty with soreness and the baby doesn't get on 'right', I try BN with her and it works most times - she needs to forget all this stuff about lining up the baby and eliciting a gape and getting more of the areola in blah blah blah.

I can't remember when I last discussed a 'correct' latch - this sort of thing just perpetuates the idea that women can 'do it wrong' and makes it sound a fragile thing. I do explain that a deep latch makes effective feeding possible and comfortable and I say something of what is happening in the baby's mouth.

Babies attach themselves, if they're healthy and if they stay in close contact with their mothers and if their feeding cues are responded to. This doesn't have to be nekkid, skin to skin, BN all the time, either, though it does help if this is done a lot in the early days.

The bfc should not leave you with the impresh that it is bound to be trouble free for all of you. But a major part of her class should indeed be on presenting normal breastfeeding.

You should be given a chance to evaluate the class and feedback your concerns to the bfc. I think we should probably explain better why we don't give a set of instructions, a list of creams and a roll call of all the problems - you've made me think, and at my next class I will tell them why I won't do it like that

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Nov-10 10:50:37

Now I feel bad I know you (tiktok) are a great source of advice and help on mumsnet RE breastfeeding and I am sure I will really appreciate any help I might need in the future.

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Nov-10 10:52:03

ooh sorry - Xposted. will read your post now.

Porcelain Tue 09-Nov-10 12:00:44

I think they want to be upbeat and encourage you to give it a go, it would scare some mums to be to hear loads about problems, esp with time constraints, a lot of the class would be negative.
Mine mostly talked about getting off to a good start and encouraged us to call her asap if a problem arose.
I do think she should have covered cluster feeding, and the effect of formula top ups and other things that sabotage your milk supply. One of my group was told by the MW her baby was hungry and advised to give formula at 24 hours old - her milk didnt come in properly and she still thought she physically couldn't breastfeed and gave up.

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