It’s that time again – we are in the middle of our course of antenatal classes. Love them or hate them, they are a part of the preparation that many parents go through in anticipation of the birth of their new baby.
Back when Reuben was brewing in Cathy’s tummy, Scott was blogging elsewhere and he wrote a post on his experience of the antenatal class that we attended. As we’re away on holiday this week, we thought we’d re-post it here with light editing, for your enjoyment!
Today Cathy and I went to our first antenatal class – it was all about breastfeeding
A number of things struck me. One was how awkward it can be to walk in to a room full of people you don’t know. As we crossed the circle of shame and sat facing roughly 15 people shifting nervously in their seats, no one breaking the deafening silence, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. We got a slight peek into the cracks of a fractured humanity there in the antenatal day room.
Many walk in to church or a seeker Bible study for the first time and no doubt share some of my apprehension – but for them it’s coupled with a greater fear of the unknown than we experience – what will these crazy religious people do, now that we’re in a room that they’re in charge of? We need to do all that we can to make that initial impression better than ours was today.
That was a negative observation. But what was more striking was how clever, as they suggested, “Mother Nature” apparently is. Here are some facts we learned:
- When breastfeeding, some of the calcium stores in the mother’s bones are taken to feed to the baby and strengthen his bones. Bad news? Well no, actually. After breastfeeding these Calcium stores are not only replenished but actually made greater, reducing the risk of osteoperosis in old age.
- Breastfeeding has been proven to greatly reduce the mother’s risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- In breast milk, the antibodies that the mother has built up through her lifetime as she’s fought off various infections are passed to the baby, thus building his immunity and protecting him.
- Here’s a fascinating fact. Immediately after the baby is born, ‘skin-to-skin’ contact is encouraged, where the baby is placed straight onto the mother’s tummy. I find that slightly gross, to be honest. What’s astonishing though is that the mother’s thermoregulatory system (internal thermostat) will adjust the temperature of her tummy by +/- 1 degree to warm or cool the baby, as needed. Isn’t that cool (or warm!)? Even though the baby is now external to the mother, the altruistic body serves the baby regardless of what the mother needs. (A small picture of our Father?).
- Just after this aforementioned skin-to-skin contact, the baby will naturally seek food from the mother. To do this, it performs this crazy crawl (crazy given how young this 5 minute old person is!) to reach the milk. Youtube it – it’s almost unbelievable!
Here’s a thought. Could it be that it’s not Mother Nature coming in from the land of tooth fairies and Santa Claus that makes all these things possible. Perhaps it’s God, who has revealed himself time and again in history to be outrageously good and supremely wise, who has fashioned us in this way?
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.”
We hope you enjoyed that little thought from the past. We know that for various reasons not everybody chooses to or is able to breastfeed, and there’s not necessarily a right and wrong way here. We actually used a combination of formula and breastfeeding. Still, regardless of how your baby is/was fed, these facts are still pretty extraordinary so we thought it worth sharing anyway.