What We Learned from Couple’s Yoga for Labor and Birth

Couple’s Yoga for Labor and Birth, with Susan Cline Lucey

This one-time workshop is a great way for you to bond as a couple in preparation for sharing the birth experience together. We will cover yoga poses, breath work, relaxation and meditation techniques helpful in labor and birth. A strong focus will be placed on labor support techniques and ways to build confidence in your ability to birth without intervention. This workshop is a must for first time parents, as well as for those second/third time parents who are not planning on taking a birth class but would like a class to connect around the baby and a refresher on labor support techniques. (source)

Back in June Neil and I took a Couple’s Yoga For Labor and Birth Workshop at my yoga studio along with eight other couples.  We started out the class by first setting our intention for the class and for birth. We then wrote down an affirmation to help us focus in on the birth; mine was “I trust my body to birth this baby” and Neil’s was “I know Lindsay’s strength and confidence will guide her through the birth and I am here to support her.”

Much of the class was focused around learning relaxation techniques to help during labor and birth. We discussed breathing techniques (which I ended up using throughout my birth):

  • breathing–> relaxing the jaw = relaxed pelvic floor; tried goddess pose with focus on breathing through it just like breathing through a contraction
  • groans, moans and screams–> focus on low moans and groans b/c it keeps the pelvic floor open versus high pitched screams/shrieks which tense up the body –> go ahead try it! shriek and see how your body reacts, feel the tension in your abs, your chest, your pelvis? now do a low moan or groan- can you feel the difference?

Along with the breathing techniques we also tried a variety poses for laboring in such as a supported squat.  We used this a little during labor as well as the massage that we discussed but the biggest thing I took away from the class was the breathing and the loan moans and groans.

We both loved this class it was very intimate. I really wish that it had been a series and not just one night! Although I learned a lot from our private birth class it was great to be in a room with others practicing the techniques, especially since a few of the moms-to-be were familiar to me from prenatal yoga.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Breastfeeding Class & My Experience So Far

We briefly covered breastfeeding as part of our Natural Baby Care Class and actually we learned quit a bit from our Doula(Sarah), however she suggested that we also sign up for a breastfeeding education class. So I registered us for a 2.5 hour breastfeeding education class.

We arrived at the class to find eight other couples and our instructor. The first thing we learned from the class is that we were so glad we took private childbirth and natural baby care classes because you never know who you are going to end up with in a group class. Unfortunately, we ended up in a class with a number of couples who thought that the sight of breasts in breastfeeding videos were funny among other things that we don’t need to get into here. But, let me tell you, they made my jaw drop.

Anyways, on to the good things that we learned from our amazing instructor who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the breastfeeding coordinator for the Vermont Department of Health, among other things.

Things we covered in the class:

  • Hospital practices that support breastfeeding
  • Who to call for lactation support
  • Breastfeeding Basics
    • Positioning and Latching
    • How milk is made
  • Breastfeeding Videos
  • Challenges and Solutions
    • The first week
    • Perceived low milk supply
  • Separated from Your Baby
    • Expressing milk and breast pumps
    • Storing breast milk
    • Introducing a bottle- paced bottle feeding
    • Considerations for your day care provider

Honestly I am writing this nearly 2 months after having taken the class (I had the best intentions of writing this earlier) and now I don’t completely remember the details of what we learned.  Overall I felt like the class really covered what you needed to know about breastfeeding and how to actually breastfeed from positions to latching and we watched a few videos that provided good examples of positioning and proper latching.  We also covered a number of challenges and how to overcome them and where/who to turn to if you find yourself struggling. Lastly, we covered breast pumps, storage and what to do when someone else is taking care of your baby.

What I have learned from breastfeeding:

We are going on almost 4 weeks of breastfeeding now and let me tell you it really does get easier. Don’t get me wrong, we still have some challenges, but it does get easier.  Although Edie did pretty well at latching right off the first few days of breastfeeding were the most challenging and I ended up with sore, bruised nipples.  I also struggled with finding a hold that worked for both Edie and me.  When I left the birth center I felt pretty comfortable with breastfeeding but when I arrived home I started to have a few doubts so I watched a few videos online to help me.  I soothed my sore nipples by expressing a little breast milk onto my nipples (oh and my milk came in within 72 hours of Edie’s arrival) and I changed my hold from the cradle to the football hold and found it made all the difference.  A few days later we had an appointment at our pediatrician with the family nurse practitioner(who is also a certified lactation consultant) and she observed me breastfeeding and was impressed but made one suggestion that has been a game changer- bring the baby to the boob NOT the boob to the baby.

Since making these changes I have had almost no more nipple soreness and breastfeeding is going really well.  The only challenge that I have had since making these changes is cluster feeding which is exhausting and at times frustrating.  I ended up having one huge breakdown during our first week home after a particularly exhausting evening/night of cluster feeding that lasted around 7 hours.  Today I still find it challenging at times to sit and have back to back nursing sessions especially when we want to try and get out of the house or when I am exhausted and want to sleep but overall things are going well and I am loving breastfeeding.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post all thoughts and opinions are my own.