Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Breastfeeding NHS session and Birth Choices Workshop

Breastfeeding NHS session:

Last week I attended a breastfeeding session in my local children's centre. I was told about this session on one of my appointments with a midwife and I thought that even though I'm reading a book about breastfeeding and can research online it's very important to meet expectant mothers and to talk to a specialist.

At first it was slightly awkward as mums-to-be didn't really talk much between each other and we had to wait for the midwife who was running late. When she eventually turned up I was under impression that she has a very "vibrant" personality, to be honest with you I didn't know should I laugh or should I sit there with a face "what's going on here". Anyway the story is not about her (she turned out to be a very knowledgeable person in the end), so we spoke about:

Benefits of breastfeeding for a child:
- lowers risk of gastroenteritis
- lowers risk of ear infection
- lowers risk of diabetes
- lowers risk of obesity

Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:
- lowers risk of breast cancer
- helps to lose pregnancy weight
reduces risk of depression

We were told though that it can only work out if we breastfeed exclusively.

Midwife also showed us comfortable positions for breastfeeding:
- to hold a baby like a rugby ball (can be good for those mums who had c- section)
- a position when a baby is lying on a side and his/her face, stomach and knees facing mother
- to nurse while lying on a side in a bed
In all positions showed we had to hold baby's head with our hand by making a C-shape around the neck, which I felt was slightly uncomfortable for me.

How to express milk by hand:
- to slightly massage the breast
- to use thumb and the rest of our fingers in a C-shape and gently squeeze the area (where texture of the breast feels different)
- if milk doesn't flow to try moving fingers slightly towards nipple or further away

Benefits of using our own expressed milk and/or Lansinoh cream and how it can soothe sore and cracked nipples, feeding cups and syringes as it can be an alternative to breastfeeding in these early days when a new mum struggles with breastfeeding.

Midwife also showed us breast pads and nursing bras, we were told that it is more practical to use washable breast pads and the most comfortable and cheap nursing bras are from Mothercare.

At the end of the session we had Q&A, everyone decided to use their opportunity to ask not just breastfeeding related question but what bothers them the most, but here I will mention only few of breastfeeding related questions:

Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding? Yes.
Do I need to use both breasts for nursing? Yes and no, we need to watch our baby, if we feel she\he might be hungry to offer a second breast.
How do I know that my baby is latched on correctly? We need to check the position of our baby, to place our baby with his/her nose level with the nipple.
Can flat- chested women breastfeed? Yes.
Can I breastfeed in public? Yes, all women are different and some feel comfortable without covering themselves, where as others may prefer to go somewhere quieter and/or cover when breastfeeding.
Can breasts leak when I hear mine or someone else's baby cry? Yes they can, therefore we were advised to use breast pads as it can happen in the public place.
Do I need to burp my baby if I'm breastfeeding? Typically breast fed babies don't need to be burped as much as bottle fed babies, some breast fed don't need to be burped at all.
Why baby can seem drunk after breastfeeding? It is a satisfying look of a well fed baby.
Do I need to avoid food or drink while breastfeeding? No, but obviously be very carefully with the food we eat and watch what we drink.

Birth Choices Workshop:

The first free 2-hour workshop we had last week was more about us all getting to know each other, therefore it is hard to say that I have learnt something new except from learning more about other mum/dads-to-be. Sessions themselves are facilitated by 2 local antenatal teachers, one of them is a student midwife and the other one knows parenting from a practical side.

We have discussed benefits and drawbacks of home and hospital births through a small group work (hands up who likes group works) and generally it was more of a discussion between all of us rather than teachers talking to us.

During these 2 hours we were divided into groups most of the time where we had to guess from pictures what does the baby do (my husband had to show it to the class by using toys, I actually thought that mum do all the job), what does the woman's body do and how can we make the process of birth work effectively.

Our teachers also covered physiology and the role of hormones (Adrenaline stay away!!), dispel myths and talk about our options of where to birth our baby (I think most of us picked hospital anyway).

I can't say that I have learnt much but before we even started antenatal classes I knew that I want to know more about labour and coping skills more. Let's see what we will do on our next paid session.


  1. A very interesting and informative post :-) #Sharewithme

  2. Sounds like a really informative session and a good way to get to know your local health workers.

  3. Sounds like a good session although I know at our children's centre they have breastfeeding mums in the session so you can talk to them too

  4. Great tips and sounds like a really good session.

  5. Lots of really helpful info here for mum's contemplating breastfeeding and the pros and cons. It's always good to get to speak to others about their experiences - it's a shame that wasnn't an option available to you.

  6. I'm glad you got a lot out of your session. :)

  7. great tips , i tried with all mine but it was hard so i expresse dinstead , x

  8. Sounds like you got lots of information from the midwife x

  9. I didn't bother going to any of these things, I just winged it and thankfully it worked out for us! Interesting to read that breastfed babies don't need burped as much, mine needs burped every five minutes - trust me to get an awkward one! Hope everything works out for you :)

  10. Sounds like a really informative session. Mine were pretty rubbish first time so I didn't bother with my second!

  11. Interesting post, we went to a breastfeeding workshop before Monkey was born and I got pounced on for disagreeing slightly with a point the *expert* made. I found some of what they said useful, but some of it actually to be untrue. They told as at the class that it doesn't hurt if you do it right - but for me, and many other mummies I know, it really hurts to start with. Once established there's no pain, but initially it is possible it hurts even if you are doing it right! The burping point is really interesting too, Monkey definitely needed to be burped, and he had terrible colic for the first 3 months despite BF exclusively.Another interesting point is what they said about holding the baby's head - we were told this in hospital and really struggled to BF. When we got home I researched positions a lot online and actually found the best positions for Monkey and were actually not holding his head - as it turns out doing so was confusing him. I found supporting his head in the crook of my arm was much better - and felt more comfortable. Trust your instincts when you do it and try different things. I don't want any of what I am saying to put you off though, if you want to do it it is worth it and we BF for nearly 7 months in the end. Really interesting post and best of luck with everything! xx #mmwbh

  12. I like the idea of these workshops to give information as long as they allow you to make your own choice when you have all of the information. I found breastfeeding really difficult but felt so pressured by the midwives in hospital with my first. x x x

  13. sounds like it was a really uselful session, with lots of important tips x

  14. I totally agree that breast is best and am glad women are getting more support to breastfeed now rather than poor advice and bottle shaming which is what happened when I had my kids, despite real medical reasons why neither could feed. Advice and support are definitely the way to go!
    Love Vicky
    Around and Upside Down

  15. What a great post, really informative and some good pointers too. These kind of sessions are really good in providing you with the knowledge to make your own decision. Breast feeding can be tough initially but it's also hugely beneficial and the easiest way to feed. I breastfed my daughter for 6 months before weaning her off before my return to work :)

  16. NHS class are great. They are really informative too. I took a few before my first that really answered a lot of question and helped me. Glad you got a lot out of it too. Thank you so much for linking to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  17. Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately I was unable to breastfeed Maxwell - I did for 2 weeks however I was not producing enough milk. Its great that you have shared this post and I hope it helps lot of other mums! x

  18. I enjoyed all the classes I took before my first was born, it's such an exciting time :)

  19. Glad you got a lot out of the session. I have personally found the Breast Feeding stuff offered by the NHS to be pretty rubbish so it's reassuring to hear things are getting better and they are helping some people. #Sharewithme

  20. It is fab that there is more support to help mums breastfeed. I had a great breastfeeding team available at the hospital when I had the twins and the support continued when I needed it until I stopped feeding them at 10 months. Hope you get on ok at your next class x

  21. Sounds like they have a nice knowledgable team. Reassuring when you see the countries rates

  22. It sounds like a fab workshop......I have breastfed all mine and it doesn't help me lose weight though lol

  23. Its great that you had access to these as I think a lot of areas don't have the facilities. I breastfed all three of mine but the eldest only managed 6 weeks where as teh other 2 where 14 months and 3 years! Always good to learn as much as you can.

  24. really interesting to hear what the NHS workshop is like as I did a NCT one. Sounds like good advice x

  25. Oh thorough advice. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  26. I think these types of workshops are great as a lot of mums find breastfeeding very difficult and it's so good for mummy and baby! Great post x

  27. What a great post hun and a really big help for anyone thinking about Breast feeding their little bundles! Thanks for linking up! #MMWBH xx

  28. I remember going to all these classes although they do seem a bit of a blur now. It's great that you're sharing it. x