Breastfeeding class today. Two hours total, so about one for each breast. On any given Sunday, this is probably not one of the best ways to spend it. Even if the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Blackhawks both did not have playoff games today, (which they did) going to breastfeeding class is not all that fun. Informational, but not fun. It is however, a great way to feel awkward around strangers if you were looking for a great way to feel awkward around strangers.
The one we went to was at the hospital where we will be giving birth, and was taught by a woman who had had over half a dozen babies of her own and is a RN, BSN, and IBCLC, so I’m guessing she’s as qualified as they come. Here’s what we did:
- Walked into the room and found the folding table which holds the sign-up sheet and about 40 different flyers and brochures. Signed in and grabbed one of every one of the 40 flyers since we did not want to miss anything. 39 of them got dumped later that day after a brief look over them (mainly ads or things we already knew). One of them was used as an impromptu Kleenex.
- Picked up a fake baby from the pile of them left unceremoniously on a cart. They come in all colors and sizes and we got a big ‘flesh’ colored one. This is the first taste of awkwardness. Is there a politically correct way to pick a fake baby? If I pick one that looks like me am I being close minded? If I pick one that definitely not like me am I trying too hard? Am I being judged by my fake baby choices?
- Sat in the rows of seats which all faced a podium with a projector screen behind it. There was a welcome slide on the screen in the beginning, but I had a pretty good idea of what would be on that screen shortly.
- Listened to the instructor talk about the pros and cons of breastfeeding and how to do it properly. Lots of awkwardness happened here, like hearing a strange woman talk about words and phrases like colostrum, hand expression, and football hold for babies. Please try also to imagine the hand and body gestures that were going along with the talk.
- Watched a video of these things happening. I immediately asked myself why the video looked like it was from the 80’s. This question was immediately answered when the men in the video showed up. They were wearing gold colored, square, wire-framed glasses straight from the 80’s, confirming for me that yes they and the video were both from the 80’s. I then asked myself why this video hadn’t been updated in the last 30 years. This question is still unanswered, but probably has something to do with the fact that boobs haven’t really changed since the 80’s.
- During the video, I also watched another poor guy a row in front of me battle the sandman. He had the full-on eyelid fluttering going on, the one where you know he’s struggling mightily to keep his eyes open but the damn eyelids are winning. There were several head drops the times he fell asleep, each of which was followed immediately by stern looks from his lady. This gave me much joy.
- More awkwardness comes when the breasts make their first appearance on the screen. I am now in a room full of strangers watching basically what I have to equate to soft porn. Not since sex-ed in school have I watched a video with as many boobs that wasn’t some kind of porn, so pardon me, but that’s the only perspective I’ve got.
- Then a little sadness hits me as the thing that I have cherished since puberty and chased for a good decade or two of my life was transformed before my eyes from a mysterious, sexy thing, to a utilitarian means of feeding a person. Please, tell me that this will pass.
- The video ends and we are instructed to practice what we have learned. I use ‘we’ loosely, as I am even more useless during this part of the class as I was during the not-porn boob video. I still only have a man chest so my wife had the fake baby and put him in different holds while I watched. There was also no way I was going to start groping her right there to show her how the women in the video had done their hand expression. So I basically sat and gave generic words of encouragement. For the record the instructor came by and said my wife was doing a great job.
That was about it and we were let out. I can say that there is some useful information that comes out of this class, and the feedback from my wife is that she got a lot out of it. So if in the end my presence was mainly for moral support, then I’m all for that as well. And hey, if my wife’s hands are ever full while she’s trying to breastfeed, I’m confident I can hand express a breast as well as any lactation consultant out there.