A few nights ago Ronny and I went to the breastfeeding class. I know, you might wonder why the heck we would need to go to a class for something so natural that it should be an instinct. But I’ve heard plenty of horror stories, from incorrect latching to engorgement to mastitis to breast infections (is that the same thing?) to running out of milk before you’re ready. And you may wonder why I asked Ronny to attend with me when his breasts are pretty much nonfunctional. But, first of all, just as I’m afraid I won’t know what the heck I’m doing with all other aspects of becoming a mother, I’m also afraid that I’ll screw up something so simple that all other mammals have managed to do since the beginning of time. I’ve had a few girlfriends tell me that it’s worth the $40 to just go take the class, if for nothing else but gaining a sliver of self confidence.
I think Ronny was a little shocked by the videos, and honestly, I think I was too. It’s not every day that either of us sees a super closeup video of someone squeezing white goo out of their nipples. But poor Ronny, whom I had brought to class so that he could see that it wasn’t so bad (or gross), managed to make it through the entire 2 1/2 hours of class in under 10 audible jokes. He was thrown off a bit by the “80’s boobs,” as he called them. Sure, the video couldn’t have been younger than 25 years, and the hair styles were WAY outdated, but Ronny seemed really caught up with how outdated the boobs themselves actually looked. Apparently boobs are things that also change with the times.
Anyways, we did actually learn a little. We learned that it’s important to get the very first “latch on” right, otherwise you’ll have to re-train the baby to properly take a drink. We watched a video of a newborn trying to learn how to do it, and one of the ways to get the baby to open its mouth wide enough is to tease it with the nipple. The poor little baby was trying so hard to latch on, eyes closed, licking and sucking its own lips in frustrated anticipation, opening its mouth when touched by mama’s nipple, and the whole process took a good five minutes. It may sound weird, but just like when you watch someone apply lipstick and you instinctively put your own lips into the lipstick-application position, so I caught myself, completely frustrated and sympathising for this little baby, opening my mouth in an effort to help it along.
We also learned a few holds. My teddy bear got held in the cradle hold, the across-the-chest hold, and the football hold. We learned about colostrum and all of the different shades of baby poop. We learned about the many benefits of breastfeeding, and we learned that breastmilk comes “on demand” and that “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” The most important thing to come out of the class, though, in my opinion, is that Ronny now understands that breastfeeding may not be as easy as it seems. And, after talking it through, we’re both convinced that the health benefits of breastfeeding will make it worth trying to do it for a good six months or so at least.
I’m really looking forward to the whole experience, and hoping that it’s easier and more natural than I’m expecting. I’m looking forward to the bonding between our baby and me, and I’m looking forward to knowing that I’m providing all of the nutrition that the baby needs, naturally, with my own body. And I’m thrilled that the baby will get the same nutrition whether I eat salads and grilled chicken or Double Decker Taco Supremes from Taco Bell. Ronny, most of all, I think, is looking forward to witnessing the engorgement that I’m bound to be plagued with. (With which I’m bound to be plagued?)