Expert Advice

Are breastfeeding classes worth it?

Although breastfeeding is natural, it doesn't always come easily. Here's why learning about feeding can be beneficial...

By Fiona Wright

The nurturing instinct of new parents often leads them to focus heavily on their baby's feeding. Is she feeding enough? Too much? Are we doing it right?
Breastfeeding classes aim is to provide expectant parents with the knowledge and confidence to successfully breastfeed. One of the most important skills that a new baby and mother have to learn together is how to position and attach baby to the breast.

Kate Mortensen, manager of the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Lactation Resource Centre says learning about breastfeeding before your baby is born can be the first step to helping you to reach your breastfeeding goals. For some mums, it can be quite overwhelming to start learning the basics of breastfeeding during the period when both mother and baby are recovering from the birth.

"There is a misconception in the community that breastfeeding comes naturally, but there are many barriers to breastfeeding," explains Kate. "Breastfeeding is actually a learned skill and the vast majority of mothers need help along the way."

Breastfeeding is a learned skill. *Image: Getty Images
Breastfeeding is a learned skill. *Image: Getty Images

Why attend a breastfeeding class?

  • Find out how breastfeeding works, what help is available
  • Discuss questions and concerns you may have about breastfeeding
  • Learn how to hold and attach your baby to the breast
  • Understand your milk supply
  • Role of partners in breastfeeding – they can be your major support and it really helps for them to learn everything with you. If your partner is unable to attend, consider bringing along another support person.
  • Adjusting to parenthood - common concerns and problem solving

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Breastfeeding basics

  • Breastfeeding is the perfect time to bond with your baby, so make it a calm and enjoyable experience for you both.
  • Her mouth must be open wide when you aim the nipple towards the roof of her mouth.
  • Try to make sure your baby gets a big mouthful of nipple and breast every time.
  • She will usually bring her tongue down and forward over her gums in readiness to attach.
  • Allow your baby to finish at one breast before offering the other.
  • If your baby falls asleep at the breast, don't worry. As long as you're confident she has fed well, it's fine to put her to bed.
  • Hold her in different positions to find the most comfortable one for you both.

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