I've been receiving WIC checks and attending WIC appointments for almost 7 months now. I am not a fan of the WIC program, and in my very opinionated way, have dreamed up all sorts of ways to make it more efficient, more streamlined, and better for everyone. But that is another subject entirely.
Part of the WIC program is education: They make you take little classes in order to keep getting your WIC checks. Last month at my WIC appointment I was told that I needed to attend the WIC breastfeeding class, which I met with incredulity, as I was told this while breastfeeding my 22 month old.
"I know how to breastfeed. I actually want to be a Lactation Consultant one day."
"Yeah, looks like you've got it down, but it is required."
"Well, ok, I do love my LLL meetings. I'm sure this will be just like them!"
"Next week then?"
"No. Next week is my actual LLL meeting. There is no way I am going to miss it. Do you have one in two weeks?"
"How about three?"
And so, today, I showed up at the WIC breastfeeding class required for all pregnant mothers. It started fifteen minutes late, because the teacher was late. She came in and tried to get the video to play, but it wouldn't, so after five more awkward minutes where no one said ANYTHING She finally stood up and said:
"Well! It will just be short and sweet today! Let's get started. What do you guys know about breastfeeding?"
"How many of you are expecting your first baby?"
-Everyone but me raises their hand-
She looks at me. I am actively breastfeeding Alexa at this point. My boob is out and everything. "Were you able to breastfeed?"
"Yes. She will be 2 next month and we are still breastfeeding."
"So what do you know about breastfeeding? "
"Well, first off, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breastfeed for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years."
I shoot my hand into the air. "Um, actually the AAP recommends a minimum of one year, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years."
She is not pleased. "Well, we go by the AAP recommendations here and they say a minimum of six months."
Lady. Do not challenge me on a subject I am passionate about while I am pregnant. I am irrational, emotional, and right. You are dead wrong. There is no way the AAP recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 6 months. NO WAY. Also, you are making up that they say maximum of two years. They do not say that. They do not put ANY cap on breastfeeding. You seriously just made that up. But I do not say that. I smile and nod pleasantly and she smiles back. She goes on to explain the size of a newborns stomach and how "some women choose to breastfeed exclusively, while others chooses to use both formula and breast milk, and just let WIC know, we were here to support your choices." She then explains how you get more WIC checks if you exclusively breastfeed until 6 months and the class is over!
It took longer to drive to WIC than for the actual speaking part of that class.
I do not believe anything helpful was said in that class, except that WIC will give you more to breastfeed exclusively. Nothing was said that helped me. Nothing was said that would have helped me breastfeed my first, What was the point of that meeting? And just to clarify, that was NOTHING like a LLL meeting, which are all group discussions where we work together to solve everyone's breastfeeding problems using the experience of other moms. LLL meetings are fun. This meeting was awkward and a waste of time.
As soon as I got home I looked up the AAP recommendations:
In the policy statement, "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," published in the March 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. - found here
I was so right. Minimum of one year, minimum EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for six months, and no cap. You can't tell a room full of soon to be moms that their goal should be to be done breastfeeding at six months! YOU CAN'T SAY THAT!!
So of course I called WIC and talked to the supervisor and then emailed her my results. The supervisor already knew the correct information, it really was that the teacher was making stuff up.
Now I really want to teach that class. I would do such a better job. I would say helpful things like newborns nurse ALL THE TIME. They nurse, then sleep for five minutes, then nurse again. They are nursing 24/7 for the first month. When your baby does that, do not be alarmed. Do not think your baby is not getting enough milk. Do not think there is something wrong. Do not think you are not producing enough milk, do not think that you have to breastfeed 24/7 for the next year. That is a normal newborn thing. The eat and sleep and poop. After a month they will calm down on the eating part.
I would say thing like: the more you educate yourself about breastfeeding before your baby is born, the more success you will have. Read books. Browse breastfeeding pins on Pinterest. Observe other women breastfeeding their babies. Go to LLL. Do SOMETHING to educate yourself.
I would then ask everyone to take a turn stating a concern that they have over breastfeeding, and we would address each one.
How do I volunteer to teach that class with no credentials?