In our series for educators, we explore new ideas to help you branch out. Read on to be inspired about new topics and effective strategies to help you get creative this year.
Intro to Breastfeeding Workshop
Most breastfeeding classes are two to three hours and cover the basics, such as latching, newborn hunger cues, and pumping. With breastfeeding, there are more topics than could possibly be covered in such a short amount of time. To help alleviate the strain of cramming too much in, and lower the risk of parents tuning out, a free or low cost introductory workshop might be the solution!
An Intro to Breastfeeding Workshop is a great way to give parents an overview of what they will learn in a longer class, and also provides an opportunity to market other services. We review some options below to help you plan and get started offering a fun and engaging introductory workshop.
Benefits for Parents
The transition to parenting can be hard. Preparation and support can ease this transition. Often, parents wait until the end of pregnancy to take a breastfeeding class (if they take one at all). By taking a short intro workshop earlier, they have more time to set up their postpartum support.
Benefits for the Educator/Facility
In addition to helping parents, an intro to breastfeeding workshop can help you and your business:
- Boost enrollment in your breastfeeding, newborn care or other classes.
- Learn about support services you offer postpartum.
- Grow business for breast pump sales and rentals for your facility or a partner business.
- Promote breastfeeding resources in your community and make it easier for parents to get in touch with lactation professionals.
Topics to Consider
An introductory workshop is not going to provide time for a long list of topics, so you will want to prioritize, and cover more in-depth topics in your full course. Use these ideas as a starting point and pick one or two:
- Reasons to breastfeed (benefits)
- Tips for success
- How breastfeeding works (let-down reflex, hormones)
- Hunger cues/newborn instincts
- Kinds of milk and how it changes
- How to tell if baby is getting enough
- Information on local resources (lactation specialists, support groups, clinics, etc.)
Activities to Try
This workshop will be more engaging and interactive if it includes fun activities, such as:
- Demonstrate a good latch using a breast model and doll
- Have a true or false quiz on breastfeeding topics/scenarios
- Have parents practice breastfeeding positions using newborn dolls
- Show images of babies who are content or displaying hunger cues and ask parents to vote if baby is hungry or satisfied.
Anything you can add to the workshop that engages and provides an opportunity to interact/respond will help parents retain information and feel inspired to learn more about your other services/classes.
Launching Your Workshop
There are many ways to format and market an introductory breastfeeding workshop. Identify your target market (i.e. parents in their second trimester who live/work in certain areas of your city) and focus your marketing to reach them. You can write blog articles, share information on social media, post fliers in local business that cater to pregnancy and breastfeeding and/or partner with health care providers to get the word out.
Some formats to try:
- Offer a short (one hour) free or low cost workshop that provides a sneak peek of your longer breastfeeding course. Be sure to collect contact information from attendees and let them know of your upcoming classes.
- Schedule the intro during the lunch hour, a weekend afternoon or before another event/class to maximize attendance.
- Volunteer to teach an underserved part of the community.
- Host an open house where you partner with people or organizations that can benefit all parties (lactation consultants, pediatricians, local Milk Bank, breastfeeding/newborn supply businesses, La Leche League, local WIC office, etc.).
Use a creative title to draw people in:
- Breastfeeding Basics Over Lunch
- The Best Start for You and Your Baby
- You're Making Milk, Now What?
Provide incentives to encourage people to sign up:
- Offer door prizes and/or a grand prize drawing. Bingo, Jeopardy or other games can be played and prizes given to the winners.
- Offer a discount on other classes for parents who attend this workshop.
- Have samples of nursing bras, breast pumps, other related items on hand so parents can browse.
Use these tools to encourage learning and interaction during the workshop:
Parent take-home resources:
- Breastfeeding handouts
- Breastfeeding Your Baby books
- or Custom Branded Handouts for more marketing impact