Directly after our Lamaze training, Michelle and I headed off to attend two days worth of Breastfeeding Education provided by the Texas Department of State and Health Services. The courses were free and took place at Baylor Medical Center in Garland, Texas. The first eight hour class, titled, Breastfeeding Management, taught by Hellen Sullivan, RN, IBCLC, was INCREDIBLE. I learned so much and I can’t wait to use it for not only myself but for moms that I will be working with and educating in the future.
Honestly, I can’t get over how much I learned. I will slowly digest it all and share it with you on this blog but my few favorite tricks are this:
- Want to know if your baby is full…look for soft, open hands, a sign of “milk drunk.” If baby falls asleep with tight fists, baby did not get a full tummy.
- Can’t get baby to open their mouth wide enough? Turn their hips/legs to a 90 degree angle. Their mouth will pop right open.
- Baby has poor suck response? This is a neurological issue and a pacifier can help teach them how to suck.
There’s so much more, and lots that I learned about pumping and how to properly bottle feed (breast milk only please.)
Did you know that the United States has just ten approved milk banks, with another six in the works? Two of those milk banks are in Texas! Did you know, by comparison, Brazil has 180? Did you know that if you’re interested in donating breast milk you can contact your WIC office and they will help you get connected?
The next day, Michelle and I sat in another class called, Breastfeeding the Compromised Infant. This class was also taught by Helen Sullivan. Michelle and I were the only ones who attended the course who were not L&D or NICU nurses (which is my plea to all the doulas out there to go get ’em tigers!). Again, I gained valuable and significant information on breastfeeding pre-term and late pre-term babies. The evidence based research on the value of getting breast milk to our NICU babies is outstanding, and makes me wonder why more Doctors aren’t aware of the benefits. Also Kangaroo care is vital in bringing our NICU babies home faster.
One thing that was interesting to note, was that when our instructor asked our class who there became nurses in the last five years, a majority of the class raised their hand. She went on to ask how many of those nurses received any breastfeeding training in their schooling, only ONE NICU nurse raised her hand. When Helen asked that ONE NURSE in a class of 20 how much time was devoted to breastfeeding instruction the nurse said, “two class hours.”
I’m challenged to continue to pursue my education and training. There is an obvious need for skilled breastfeeding educators and I hope to be one. I have a long-term goal of becoming a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, but for now will take baby steps towards this.
If you are interested in learning more about the classes I attended or perhaps attending one yourself check out this link: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wichd/lactate/addtrain.shtm
And as, always, I still recommend this wonderful video if you are interested in learning about proper breastfeeding latch and technique: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/FifteenMinuteHelper.html