THIS online class (as opposed to many others out there) kicked my butt. I had about 30 hours of videos to watch, 14 tests to take, 8 clinical hours in a hospital, 3 hours observing in a lactation course, about 10 long papers to write, and to top it all off, had to write a detailed curriculum plan for a 3 hour lecture on breastfeeding, complete with a 40 slide Powerpoint Presentation. And yes, I waited until just the past 2 weeks to complete 80% of it. This past week has consisted of me getting NO naps (not a good thing in this household), staying up until about 1am every night, and working about 6-8 hours a day on it, interspersed with trying to care for my children, get dinner on the table, be nice and kind to my family, etc...
Anyway, all THAT to say, it is OVER! I finished it all! In about a month I'll be a Certified Lactation Educator. I learned so much through this course - I thought I already knew a lot about breastfeeding (considering I was the poster child for problems in that department), but I was so wrong. Here are some interesting things I learned along the way (in case you're interested):
-Babies are not born hungry. They are born full (of fluids from the sac). True hunger doesn't kick in until about the 3rd day or so, right about when the mother's milk comes in. (You might be asking right about now "Then why do they push breastfeeding so soon after birth? Because after birth the infant has the highest need to suck, and this helps develop the nursing relationship, help with bonding, help bring the milk "in", etc.)
-Every mother begins producing milk between weeks 10-14 of being pregnant. Crazy, huh?!
-There are VERY few cases (less than 10%) of a mother not producing enough milk for her baby. Many mothers give up nursing in the early days, thinking that they are not getting enough milk, but the baby's stomach is only the size of a shooter marble for the first few days (only holding about 1 teaspoon per feeding), then a ping-pong ball, then the size of the baby's fist around week 2.
-Breastfeeding is often possible even after having breast surgery (including implants).
-Babies have a growth spurt around Day 14 where they want to eat a lot more, and many mothers also give up breastfeeding around this time because they think they are not producing enough milk. In fact, most women are - it's just that the baby wants to eat more because it's growing so fast.
-All babies have trouble digesting formula because it is made with milk proteins. We are the only mammal that drinks another mammals milk. Yet the fat content and other nutrients in milk help with brain development, so it is a better choice than soy. Horse milk has actually been found to have the most similarities with human milk, but nobody really drinks that. It is better to give your baby another mother's milk than milk from a cow (because it still gives the baby antibodies), but very few women feel comfortable doing that. Also, 50% of babies allergic to milk (and there are only 7% with a true milk allergy) will also be allergic to soy.
-A mother does not need to avoid anything in her diet while breastfeeding (unless the baby has a true allergy to something the mother is eating - most often nuts or milk); in fact, the more spices and flavors, the less chance of having a toddler who is a picky eater.
I also found a terrific study done on colic, which found that when mother's eliminated about 5 known allergens from their diet (including dairy, nuts - including soybeans, and wheat), a significant reduction in colic symptoms was seen (lessening crying by over 1 1/2 hours per day).
Now I know I just gave a ton of information with NO resources, but at this moment I am a little exhausted from resourcing info. (I just finished all of this yesterday) BUT rest assured, I will try to post references later. For now, here are some GREAT sites if you want more information: