Thursday, February 9, 2023

MSU presents Lactation Education Series for parents and partners

September 13, 2022
Karen Hopper and her daughter, Josephine, 3 months, at Capital Area Baby Café on Sept. 7, 2022 at Pennway Church of God in Lansing. Baby Café is a lactation class and support group for breast feeding parents and their families sponsored by the Expectant Parents Organization.
Karen Hopper and her daughter, Josephine, 3 months, at Capital Area Baby Café on Sept. 7, 2022 at Pennway Church of God in Lansing. Baby Café is a lactation class and support group for breast feeding parents and their families sponsored by the Expectant Parents Organization. —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

MSU launched a series called Lactation Education hosted by Natosha Sage-EL Bylsma of the Expectant Parents Organization. This educational opportunity will serve to provide parents and their partners information on preparing to breast or chest feed.

The schedule of classes will be as follows:

  • Week 1 (Sept. 9, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.): Introduction to Lactation: Benefits, How Lactation Works
  • Week 2 (Sept. 16, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.): Baby is Here! Getting Started: The Mechanics of Lactation Positioning, Latching On, Feeding Patterns, Challenges
  • Week 3 (Sept. 23, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.): Maintaining Lactation: Lifestyle, Expressing and Storing Milk, Returning to Work
  • Week 4 (Sept. 30, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.): Lactation Transitions: Introducing Solid Foods and Weaning

“The mission of the MSU WorkLife Office is to create an inclusive, responsive work environment where all faculty and staff are respected and supported toward well-being in work and personal lives,” Lactation Education Series coordinator Rachel Perez said in an email.  “When employees feel supported as a whole person, they are more likely to feel overall job satisfaction and achieve a healthier work-life fit. With this in mind, we are seeking to provide information, resources, and guidance around lactation for our MSU faculty and staff.”

The four-part program is designed to provide pregnant parents and their partners with information on preparing for breast/chest feeding and strategies for continuing to breast/chest feed upon their return to work. 

“We are pleased to partner with the Expectant Parent Organization to offer this webinar series free of charge to MSU faculty, staff, and their families,” Perez said in an email.

Anyone who is interested in gaining more information about how lactation works, strategies for proper latching, feeding patterns, expressing and storing milk, as well as returning to work and transitioning out of breast/chestfeeding can sign up for the webinar.

“Expectant Parents Organization has been offering prenatal classes in the Greater Lansing area for many years,” Lactation Education Series speaker Natosha Sage-EL Bylsma said in an email. 

Natosha graduated from Michigan State University and has worked for the Expectant Parents Organization as an instructor, primarily teaching Newborn Care, Breastfeeding and Infant Safety. As co-owner of Next Generation Lactation Service, she is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, serving the mid-Michigan area. She serves as the Chair on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Breastfeeding Network. Natosha is CPR certified as well as a Child Passenger Safety Technician. 

“Studies show that when families are able to access prenatal education, they are typically more successful in their parenting journey whether that is the labor process, transitioning to having a newborn/infant and/or being able to be successful with lactation.  Studies also show that when families have support of their workplace and/or school environment when growing their families then they are typically more successful and able to excel in their work and/or studies as well as in raising their family,” Blysma said.

Former Expectant Parents Organization client Iris said the four-week class benefited her.

“I hadn’t really thought about what my breast-feeding journey would be before I took the class,” Iris said in an email. “I knew that it was something I wanted to try but I had no idea what that entailed. Some of the most helpful things I learned were how to get started, maintain your supply, and what supports were available locally if I ran into challenges breast-feeding." 

Iris also found that the sessions about expressing and storing milk when you return to work were useful. Coming back to work at MSU four months postpartum, she had to pump three times a day in a nursing mother's room.

“I definitely used everything that we learned in that class in my real life," Iris said in an email. "I had some initial issues of breast-feeding, and I actually went to Natosha as a lactation consultant to get help. It is also helpful to have it through the work life office because it wasn’t something I had to pay extra to attend, and it was over lunchtime so I didn’t need to take any time off work.”

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