I started my breastfeeding education by reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, a book published by La Leche League that was recommended to me by multiple mom friends. It is a great and helpful book. I still use it as a reference when new problems or questions pop up as we go along this journey. However, one of the greatest tools in my breastfeeding education journey was a breastfeeding class we took as a part of our childbirth education series through Bloomington Area Birth Services.
Our class was wonderful! Taught by an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant), the class had about 8 couples and was pretty low-key. It reviewed what happens before and right after birth, what a good latch hold look and feel like, and reviewed some common problems moms have when breastfeeding. The one point they didn’t want us to forget is that breastfeeding should NOT be painful and if it is, there is something that needs fixed. It was mostly a refresher class for me since I had done some reading but it was good to hear other people questions and concerns. I remember one woman said that she hoped to breastfeed but wasn’t going to stress herself out about making sure it works. I thought to myself, “We don’t have a back up plan. We can’t afford formula every month and we know that breast milk is the best thing for the baby. Whatever it takes is what we are going to have to do to make this breastfeeding relationship work.” To my surprise, we ended up doing a lot more work than we thought but it has been totally worth it!
My partner, Anna, had not done the same reading as I had and learned a lot from this class. It was really helpful for her to hear everything even though she wasn’t going to be the one breastfeeding because between the two of us, we could usually remember what we learned at the wee hours of the morning when Ellie was crying and what we could do to help her. I have heard that a non-supportive partner is just as bad as a neutral partner. Anna encouraged me to keep going, helped me (and Ellie) fix any problems that arose and now, 8 months into my breastfeeding relationship with Ellie, Anna still thanks me for giving myself to Ellie for her nutrition, growth, and development. Well, my lady, I couldn’t think of a better gift to give my daughter! And it’s free!