Why taking a breastfeeding class is essential!

by Laura Howells
6 mins reading time
(Updated )

Parent smiling while feeding their baby at the breast or chest

Hey there new moms, bapas, dadas, parents and caregivers!

Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your little one! I know how exciting and overwhelming this time can be. Parenting a newborn can feel like so much and can be intense and beautiful. The thing about new borns is they are pretty simple creatures, they eat, poop, sleep and communicate (so basically cry). The most complicated to learn to help them with as their parent is often the eating part. Sometimes the sleep can be a challenge too but thats a topic for another day.

Breastfeeding or chestfeeding your baby has many benfits, health (for both you and your little one) as well as practical and cost benefits. This blog post I wrote goes into the details of the benefits of breastfeeding or chestfeeding. I am not in the business of pressuring people to breastfeed or chestfeed who don’t want to for whatever reason but you are here and still reading so I am going to guess you are hoping to be able to breastfeed or chestfeed. But, let's be honest, breastfeeding can be challenging, especially for first-time moms. That's why taking a breastfeeding class is essential. There’s a lot of talk about how natural and it is but most of us have not grown up seeing people breastfeed or chestfeed and we have lost a lot of cultural knowledge. Good news is there are classes like the one I teach that can fill in the gap.

Fixing problems before they start is always easier for everyone

I spent over an hour a few weeks ago talking to a colleague about how she wanted to practice lactation consulting differently. The model where we don’t give parents hardly any information and then when they are really struggling, they call, they wait for an appointment and by the time they see us they are distraught, their babies are distraught isn’t working. I whole heartedly agree. This is one of the reasons I made a virtual breastfeeding class. Understanding what is normal in early breastfeeding or chestfeeding, what to do if something isn’t going to plan or at least who to contact so you can get help straight away is so important so that you and your family can be successful in feeding your baby the way that you want to.

Its natural why do I need a class?

Here’s a great story that explains why we need a class for something that “should” come naturally. This adorable story of a new born orangutan is a great example. Zoe, an orangutan had her second baby at a Richmond, Virginia zoo! She just gave birth to a sweet baby girl but was having some trouble nursing her little one. But you won't believe what happened next - one of the zookeepers started breastfeeding her own baby boy in front of the orangutan, and the mother quickly caught on! The zookeepers even gave the mom an extra blanket so she could cover her baby while breastfeeding, just like the zookeeper did with her own baby. It's so heartwarming to see the orangutan learn how to breastfeed from watching the zookeeper. It's just amazing how we can learn from each other and help each other out, even across species. I'm just so happy to hear that the baby orangutan is getting the nutrition and bonding time she needs with her mother!

Orangutan baby in the arms of its mother with her nipple available to feed

Okay so we are not Orangutan’s but most the clients I meet have never held a baby let alone seen one breastfeed or chestfeed. Even the ones who have, it has not been in close enough detail to learn how to trouble shoot issues when they come up. I had worked as a nanny with many babies 6 weeks and up by the time my first was born and it still felt like I had so much to learn. Its normal for us to need to learn some of the basics before jumping in. Babies don’t come with manuals but a breastfeeding class or chestfeeding class can help get you going in the right direction.

Benfits of taking a breastfeeding class

There are numerous benefits of taking a breastfeeding class for new moms and parents. A breastfeeding class can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to breastfeed or chestfeed successfully. Here are some of the most important things you will learn:

  1. Learn proper latch techniques: One of the most critical skills you'll learn in a chestfeeding or breastfeeding class is how to achieve a proper latch. A good latch ensures that your baby is getting enough milk and helps prevent nipple pain and soreness.
  2. Increase milk supply: Breastfeeding/chestfeeding is a supply and demand process. The more you nurse, the more milk your body produces. A breastfeeding/chestfeeding class can teach you techniques to help increase your milk supply.
  3. Build confidence: Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially for first-time moms or parents. Taking a breastfeeding class can help build your confidence and give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.
  4. Avoid potential problems: Breastfeeding/chestfeeding can come with a range of potential problems like sore nipples, clogged ducts, and mastitis. A breastfeeding/chestfeeding class can teach you how to avoid these issues and how to address them if they do arise.
  5. Connect with other new parents: A breastfeeding/chestfeeding class is an excellent opportunity to connect with other new moms and parents who are going through the same experience. You can share tips, offer support, and build friendships that can last a lifetime.
  6. Improve bonding with your baby: Breastfeeding/chestfeeding is not just about feeding your baby; it's also a special bonding experience that can help build a strong connection between you and your little one. A breastfeeding/chestfeeding class can help you make the most of this time and strengthen your bond with your baby.

Taking a breastfeeding or chestfeeding class can provide new moms with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to breastfeed successfully. It can also help prevent potential problems and improve bonding with your baby. If you're a new mom, consider taking a breastfeeding class to give yourself and your baby the best start possible.

Risks of not taking a breastfeeding class

Not taking a breastfeeding class can lead to potential risks for both the mom or parent and the baby. Here are some of the most common risks of not taking a breastfeeding class:

  1. Nipple pain and soreness: Improper latch techniques can cause nipple pain and soreness, which can make breastfeeding or chestfeeding an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for new moms.
  2. Low milk supply: Some new moms or parents struggle with low milk supply, which can lead to inadequate nutrition for the baby and cause health issues in the long run.
  3. Breastfeeding difficulties: Breastfeeding or chestfeeding can be challenging, especially for first-time moms or parents especially. Not knowing how to address potential problems like clogged ducts, mastitis, or engorgement can cause breastfeeding difficulties and lead to frustration and discouragement.
  4. Frustration and stress: Breastfeeding or chestfeeding can be a challenging and emotional experience, and not having the knowledge or skills to overcome difficulties can lead to frustration and stress for new moms or parents.
  5. Lack of support: Breastfeeding is a journey that requires support from partners, family, and healthcare providers. Without a breastfeeding class, new moms may not have access to the support they need to succeed.
  6. Negative impact on baby's health: Inadequate milk supply or improper breastfeeding techniques can negatively impact the baby's health and development, leading to potential health issues like dehydration, jaundice, or weight loss.

Not taking a breastfeeding class can lead to potential risks for both the parent and the baby. It can cause breastfeeding difficulties, frustration, stress, and lack of support, and negatively impact the baby's health and development. If you're a new parent, it's essential to consider the potential risks of not taking a breastfeeding or chestfeeding class and take steps to ensure a positive breastfeeding experience for you and your baby.

The benefits of taking a breastfeeding or chestfeeding class are clear. You'll gain knowledge and skills that will help you and your baby thrive during this important time. Breastfeeding or chestfeeding is not just about feeding your baby; it is a way to sooth discomfort, help them to sleep and meet their need to suck. Don't let the challenges of breastfeeding discourage you; take a breastfeeding class and give yourself and your baby the best start possible. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and there's help available for you. So go ahead and give yourself and your baby the best gift of all- the gift of breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

I teach an online breastfeeding class which gives you all the info you need to get started and more but if my classes isn’t the right one for you. Breastfeeding or chesetfeeding classes are very valuable and there are lots of classes both in person and online and there will be one that does meet your needs.


Headshot of Laura

Laura Howells (she/her) is an IBCLC and postpartum doula who works with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been happily supporting growing families during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the first years since 2009.

Book a lactation appointment

Latest posts

Read the blog

Woven newsletter

Free breastfeeding, chestfeeding, & pumping log.

Download this printable baby feeding log when you sign up for my newsletter. Helps with tracking how many diapers per day and how many feedings per day your baby has in the first days and weeks. The chart also features daily notes and reminders about what to expect from weight gain, feedings, temperament, and eliminations. Read more about the resource here.

Parent feeding baby on body as icon Line drawing of baby on scale Line drawing of swaddled baby Diaper/nappy in simple lines

Delivered about once a month, the Woven newsletter includes updates from the blog and occasional offers and giveaways. Your information isn't shared and you can unsubscribe any time.