Babycare class

Last night the husband and I attended a local organization’s class teaching us how to care for a newborn.  I will admit, I was mostly interested in taking the class to be there in support of the husband.  After all-I’d babysat a ton when I was a teenager (15 or so years ago) and I handled my new nephew without managing to break him (a few weeks ago) so how hard can this baby thing be?

Except that I had never considered the mechanics of bathing a baby.  Or seen, graphically, a diaper “blowout” (ew).  Or swaddled a baby.

As it turns out, the class was pretty helpful for both of us, although it definitely was comforting to my husband to be in the company of a bunch of other guys, all who were equally clueless and inexperienced.

I didn’t like that I mostly heard endorsements for products that “hey, guess what!” the store connected with the organization carries, but that didn’t suprise me either.  Examples–we like Mai Teis and Ring Slings more than MOBY’s…because hey, we sell Ring Slings and Mai Tei’s!  Truth–if, like me, you have a bad back, the MOBY is far superior because it spreads the weight evenly across your back and both shoulders as opposed to slings that put all the weight on one shoulder.

I think we paid around 50 dollars for a 3 hour class, and it’s likely we’ll get it back from our flex spending, which means we paid much less than 50 when you account for the fact that flex spend money is pre-taxed income that you get reimbursed.

There are two more classes coming up-breastfeeding and infant cpr.  I feel like those will be incredibly helpful, especially the breastfeeding one because that is totally new territory for me.  I am, however, concerned as always that the bf class will be totally crunchy granola party line stuff.  Sigh.

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8 Responses to Babycare class

  1. What do you mean by “Crunchy granola party line stuff”? Hospital nursing classes are not usually like that.

  2. Taking a Chance on Baby says:

    Ah, but it isn’t a “Hospital Nursing Class”–it’s run by a private company connected to a store, but it’s where everyone goes and it’s better than La Leche League, which I find militant and scary.

    Around where I live, in my socio-economic bracket, there are trends…trends that I generally find annoying and refer to as “crunchy granola”. It’s a prevalent attitude that pervades most books on nursing (I almost threw up in the first 5 pages of “The womanly art of breastfeeding”–not counting the puke I swallowed back when I read the title) that it’s all so magical and wonderful and bonding and blah blah blah. Seriously? Just explain how tab A fits into slot B and how to prevent mastitis…kthnxbai!

    When it comes to breastfeeding, these include…

    –WE DO IT FOR BONNNNNNDING. (I’m offended by the idea that bottle feeding isn’t bonding time…which can then be extended to the idea that the way our husbands/partners bond with our children is somehow “less special” than the bond created by breastfeeding)

    –NO PACIFIERS, EVER (The APA recommends using them, because they help prevent SIDS–you can argue about when, because of so-called “nipple confusion” but many women I know are militantly anti-pacifier)

    –HOW DARE YOU PUMP??? (The venom is especially present when I say “no, I’m not returning to work, it’s so my husband can do some of the feedings” The prevalent attitude is that I’m depriving my kid of something by letting her dad feed her).

    –YOU CAN NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT SUPPLEMENTING OR STOPPING IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT—YOU SHOULD SUFFER…SUFFER FOR THE BAY-BEEE’S SAKE (Ok, this is just martyrlicious nonsense. I live in a first world nation with a clean water supply, so formula would not be THAT big a deal–yes, she wouldn’t get the anti-bodies, but formula fed babies do JUST FINE. I have the means to get help from Lactation Consultants, a Post-Partum Doula should I want one, and anyone I can throw money at to help me out with the breastfeeding thing. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me. If I hate it, I have the right to close up shop and to do it without judgment.)

    –THOSE EVIL FORMULA FEEDERS (It goes on for quite some time but I usually tune out about there. Formula isn’t bad. Yes, it’s a breastfeeding class, but let’s not slam other people’s choices, mmmkay?)

    –NO BOTTLES FOR AT LEAST A MONTH!!! NIPPLE CONFUSION (I just don’t buy into nipple confusion. Anecdotally, second and third time moms don’t get all worked up about it and their kids do just fine with bottles and pacifiers from day one. Beyond that…so what if she has nipple confusion and prefers the bottle? I spent close to 300 dollars on my breast pump…I’m perfectly capable of hooking myself up to the milking machine, putting the milk in the bottle and giving it to her that way)

  3. Thanks for your detailed answer. It sounds like you are having difficulty finding factual information not loaded with judgment and exaggeration. People who support breastfeeding tend to get emotional about the subject. On the other side, formula companies put out information that is subtly biased against breastfeeding.

    It sounds like you are surrounded by some judgmental and opinionated people. Hopefully the person teaching your class has been trained both in breastfeeding skills (and not by a formula company) and empathy.

    Did you find a useful book? Dr. Newman? Janet Tamaro?

    La Leche Leaders often say at meetings, “Take what you like and leave the rest.” That is good advice for many situations. LLL still has the best collection of technical breastfeeding information, and the lactation consultant industry sprang out of LLL. The best IBCLCs came up through LLL. So don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. A well-trained LLLL will not be militant and will not judge you.

    Breastfeeding is as much about putting slot A into slot B as sex is. In other words, about 10%. You can treat breastfeeding like a feeding method and that works for many women. However, 90% of my counseling time involves the emotions and logisitics surrounding the breastfeeding experience, not the nursing itself. Even experienced breastfeeding mothers often have difficulty at the beginning, and they need support, both technical and emotional. How you help the mother is as important as what you say–as you have seen yourself–you wrote previously that you the extremism you have encountered made you question your decision. You are right not to want help from judgmental people. A good counselor or LC gives information but lets the mother make her own decisions.

    New mothers are likely to have questions about how often the baby should nurse, how long, is he getting enough milk, why is he crying, why is she doing x, y, and z when he is eating or not eating. And this is on top of the fatigue and hormonal changes and outside pressures she is dealing with.

    Breastfeeding is not like bottle-feeding. The positioning is different, the schedule is different, the feelings are different, the reaction from others is different.

    I respond point by point below with ****:

    –WE DO IT FOR BONNNNNNDING. (I’m offended by the idea that bottle feeding isn’t bonding time…which can then be extended to the idea that the way our husbands/partners bond with our children is somehow “less special” than the bond created by breastfeeding)
    *****That’s ridiculous; anyone who cares for the baby can bond with him or her. Breastfeeding is no guarantee of bonding or of good mothering. But, breastfeeding hormones do play a role in early attachment. They make it easier–if the mother has good support. If she’s in pain, that’s a different story.

    –NO PACIFIERS, EVER (The APA recommends using them, because they help prevent SIDS–you can argue about when, because of so-called “nipple confusion” but many women I know are militantly anti-pacifier)
    **That is extreme. Pacifiers are not necessary for bf babies, but they can be useful. They can also interfere; for instance, a pacifier can mask signs of hunger in a placid baby.

    –HOW DARE YOU PUMP??? (The venom is especially present when I say “no, I’m not returning to work, it’s so my husband can do some of the feedings” The prevalent attitude is that I’m depriving my kid of something by letting her dad feed her).
    **Judgmental. However, pumping is more work than nursing, which (should be) fun and relaxing most of the time. And skipping a feeding can lead to . . . mastitis.

    –YOU CAN NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT SUPPLEMENTING OR STOPPING IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT—YOU SHOULD SUFFER…SUFFER FOR THE BAY-BEEE’S SAKE (Ok, this is just martyrlicious nonsense. I live in a first world nation with a clean water supply, so formula would not be THAT big a deal–yes, she wouldn’t get the anti-bodies, but formula fed babies do JUST FINE. I have the means to get help from Lactation Consultants, a Post-Partum Doula should I want one, and anyone I can throw money at to help me out with the breastfeeding thing. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me. If I hate it, I have the right to close up shop and to do it without judgment.)
    **Of course you can stop whenever you want–after one feeding, one day, one week, one month, or whatever.
    –THOSE EVIL FORMULA FEEDERS (It goes on for quite some time but I usually tune out about there. Formula isn’t bad. Yes, it’s a breastfeeding class, but let’s not slam other people’s choices, mmmkay?)
    ***I totally agree with you on that one.

    –NO BOTTLES FOR AT LEAST A MONTH!!! NIPPLE CONFUSION (I just don’t buy into nipple confusion. Anecdotally, second and third time moms don’t get all worked up about it and their kids do just fine with bottles and pacifiers from day one. Beyond that…so what if she has nipple confusion and prefers the bottle? I spent close to 300 dollars on my breast pump…I’m perfectly capable of hooking myself up to the milking machine, putting the milk in the bottle and giving it to her that way)
    **You’re right, nipple confusion, if it exists, does not affect all babies and most will do fine going back and forth. Pumping, though, is double the work of formula feeding and means missing out on many benefits of breastfeeding including some immunological ones–messages are passed to the mother through the baby’s saliva so that her milk can produce appropriate antibodies against infections the baby has been exposed to.

    When bf advocates exaggerate risks it can backfire. For instance, if a baby gets formula in the hospital, some mothers are convinced that their baby will never nurse again. On the other hand, the decision to supplement should not be taken lightly.

    I’ll be interested to hear how your class goes.

  4. Taking a Chance on Baby says:

    The class is Wednesday, so I’ll be sure to talk about.

    Honestly, if I get any mis-information it will be exaggeration about the whole nipple confusion/never supplement/etc side.

    As a plus sized woman, I’ve gotten a lot of mis-information designed to scare me, and so I’m pretty skeptical about most things. I make a point of researching actual stats, especially when I hear somewhat amorphous data like “increased risk.” How increased? Exactly what do you mean?

    I know that LLL is effectively the leader, but I’ve had some fairly negative experiences with them specifically and am very unlikely to ask them for help. I’m much more likely to hire a post-partum doula or lactation consultant after making it clear to them what my views are and that they will need to work around them.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments 🙂

  5. You’re welcome.

    A professional called to help a client, might not appreciate being told what she may or may not suggest. There is evidence on both sides regarding nipple confusion and pacifiers. Dr. Newman sees it as “flow confusion.” Bottles provide a uniform flow, whereas during the initial minutes of breastfeeding, the milk flows slowly. A baby used to a bottle may get frustrated at the breast especially in cases where there is already a milk supply issue.

    In my experience counselling mothers, breastfeeding goes more smoothly if the baby is nursed and held frequently, sleeps next to the mother (surprised you haven’t mentioned that crunchy granola issue esp. in light of the AAP), nurses on cue day and night, and gets minimal bottles or pacifiers. Some mothers and babies will manage fine without doing every one of those things. I messed up my first breastfeeding experience after a great start by being rigid about feedings, esp. night feedings.

  6. Taking a Chance on Baby says:

    Here’s the thing…if I’m going to pay someone to help me, they need to be willing to work with me and my strongly held preferences. Not the best analogy, but–if I were vegetarian, having a nutritionist lecture me for hours about eating meat wouldn’t get us anywhere productive. Having an LC who isn’t okay with pumping, isn’t okay with sleeping separately, isn’t okay with my using pacifiers isn’t going to be any more helpful…and will be a HUGE waste of cash and time on top of that. From talking to professionals, it’s much more helpful if you are upfront about your philosophies and approaches and find someone who can work with you. You don’t hire someone who believes in Ferberizing if you believe in something else. Same goes for LC’s–you don’t hire someone who STRONGLY believes in nipple confusion if you don’t. You screen for what you need and hire accordingly.

    There are things in life that you can and should be flexible about. And there are non-negotiables. Assuming Emby likes pacifiers (and I’ve met plenty of babies who hate them, so it’s all theory now) I am using pacifiers–they cut the risk of SIDS, and are encouraged by the relevant medical authorities until 6 months of age. Pumping isn’t easy, and I realize it’s less fun, and can be painful, but I NEED to be able to leave my child in someone else’s care…so if I’m going to BF, I need to be able to pump. Yeah, I’m doing it early, but that’s my perogative. If I do have issues that make putting it off a week or two, I *will* consider doing it, but not for the reasons I’ve heard thus far for putting off pumping.

    And yeah, I’m FORCEFULLY anti co-sleeping. Emby has a lovely pack n play about a foot away from our bed, our two plus sized bodies and our 9 pillows and fluffy comforter. Once she’s older and the risk of SIDS has dropped, she will have a lovely crib in the nursery that is 10 feet away with the monitor my husband got all geeky over because it won’t interfere with the bandwith that our wireless internet and cell phones operate on.

    The final thing you have to keep in mind is that I’m really and truly okay with breastfeeding not working out. I’m doing it for the allergy benefits, and NO other reason. If it weren’t for the fact that both of us have allergies I would have bottlefed in a heartbeat.

    I’m going to give this whole breastfeeding thing a try, but it’s going to be on my terms and if after 12 weeks it’s not working, then we switch to formula.

  7. “The final thing you have to keep in mind is that I’m really and truly okay with breastfeeding not working out.” I figured that out. 🙂

    The longer you delay introducing foreign proteins to the baby, the lower the risk. 12 weeks would be very significant.

    The AAP SIDS task force recommends that breastfed infants begin pacifier use one month after birth. And they only suggest it for the nighttime, until the baby falls asleep.

    I don’t think the research behind the recommendation for the pacifier to prevent SIDS is based on much research. There’s much less evidence about that than for the AAP recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months.

    “The final thing you have to keep in mind is that I’m really and truly okay with breastfeeding not working out.” I figured that out. 🙂

    I hear what you are saying about professionals. And it is helpful to me in a counseling situation if the mother is upfront about her views. But if my professional view was that overuse of a pacifier was interfering with breastfeeding, I would not want to feel that I could not express that. Perhaps that is not what you meant.

    I respect you for wanting to give breastfeeding your best shot even though you are so uncomfortable with the idea. My wish for you is that you open yourself up to the possibility that you will not only succeed, but that you will enjoy it.

  8. Taking a Chance on Baby says:

    “I hear what you are saying about professionals. And it is helpful to me in a counseling situation if the mother is upfront about her views. But if my professional view was that overuse of a pacifier was interfering with breastfeeding, I would not want to feel that I could not express that. Perhaps that is not what you meant.”

    I didn’t mean that a professional could NEVER say “this doesn’t seem to be working…this could be an issue.” I just don’t want someone coming in with the goal of getting me to stop doing things that I feel are helpful or beneficial for my family. (Like I said..E may not even LIKE pacifiers…it might not be an issue. But it’s REALLY important to both me and my husband that he get opportunties to feed her… giving that up would be a complete last resort…and I’d want the person to be with us on that instead of saying “nope, stop it…now…no I won’t help you try and find another third option”)

    I respect you for wanting to give breastfeeding your best shot even though you are so uncomfortable with the idea. My wish for you is that you open yourself up to the possibility that you will not only succeed, but that you will enjoy it.

    I’m hoping I will. The hardest part of where I’m coming from is that I feel constantly defensive because I am okay with bottle feeding and while it is what MOST women do (more than 50% I’ve read) no one seems to be admitting it…and I’m tired of the constant barrage of breast is best and blah blah blah. I think that the most tireless supporters of bf’ing undermine their cause by being so obnoxious and confrontational about it.

    At the end of the day, I really do hope it works out. I’d like to breastfeed for at least the first 6 months and ideally her first year. But I never want to be one of the moms in an online group I’m part of who thinks of herself as a failure if I can’t or if it doesn’t work for us. I’m the sort of woman who would be prone to that sort of self-flagellation (see all the self-hatred I sent my own way following my miscarriage) so on some level what I’m trying to do is short circuit that instinct to blame and beat on myself by setting up a lower expectation.

    The truth is that I’ll never live up to my own standards. I just hope to avoid the sort of awful spiral I know I’m capable of sending myself into when I don’t meet the expectations.

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