Laugh and Learn sent me a set of DVDs to review. Each DVD gives a class in childbirth, newborn care, or breastfeeding. The classes are presented by Sheri Bayles, BSN, RN, IBCLC. Overall I enjoyed the DVDs very much (and my children did too!) and I found Sheri to be an excellent public speaker with a confident and easy manner. Please read on for my individual reviews of each class I have a few comments about the Laugh and Learn about Breastfeeding in particular that are important if you are considering buying this set of DVDs. Then stay tuned until next Monday when I will be offering a free set of DVDs in a giveaway!
Laugh and Learn about Childbirth
Sheri Bayles has taught over 4,000 couples in the New York area and worked over 20 years as an Ob/Gyn nurse. The Laugh and Learn about Childbirth class is a 2-DVD set for a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes. Of all the DVDs, I enjoyed these the most. When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I took a Lamaze class offered through the local hospital. Frankly we would have been far more comfortable and invested a lot less of our time watching this DVD class at home! Sheri talks about normal birth and what happens when a cascade of interventions begins (such as in my first labor when I decided to get an epidural, needed IV fluids, had to have a catheter, and nearly had to be given pitocin when the epidural slowed down my labor).
One of the most powerful things presented in this class is how to talk to the doctor and nurses about managing your own labor. Want to breathe through the pushing stage but the doctor and nurses are telling you to hold your breath and push to a count of 10? Confidently say that you would like to try breathing and pushing for a while and see what progress you make, and if that is not going well you will switch.
The DVDs came out in 2007 and contained a lot of information from studies up to that point. The only change I would have liked to have seen was with the information presented and paper insert given about cord blood banking and a particular company. While I think its important for parents to learn about cord blood banking and make an informed decision, that felt more like an advertisement than information. It doesnt diminish my recommendation of Laugh and Learn About Childbirth though and I highly recommend it.
Laugh and Learn about Newborn Baby Care
This short newborn baby care class covers everything the hospital nurse tried to teach me in 10 minutes before I was discharged from the hospital. I wish I had had this DVD to watch in the comfort of my home before I gave birth!
The class would be particularly helpful for husbands or partners to watch so that they can become comfortable caring for the baby as well. The lessons cover giving a sponge bath, diaper changes and dressing a newborn, swaddling, tub baths, diapers and dressing for a 3-month-old, and baby supplies. I recommend Laugh and Learn About Newborn Baby Care highly as well.
Laugh and Learn about Breastfeeding
As a breastfeeding blogger you know I watched Laugh and Learn About Breastfeeding first! As I said, Sheri is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She nursed her twin boys for nine months, which is an admirable accomplishment! The nine lessons offered are generally helpful and present some good information. There are just a few things I want to note. Sheri recommends breastfeeding for 10-15 minutes on one side, then breaking the latch, burping the baby and switching to the other side. For many mothers and babies that might work fine, but I see an awful lot of women at breastfeeding support meetings who have low supply because they followed advice to limit feedings to that short of a duration. Ideally babies should nurse on one side until they are done, and they are done when they either fall asleep at the breast or pop themselves off. Sheri also mentioned starting a bottle at two weeks, and ideally I think that should wait until four weeks. She talks about pumping a bottle for the partner to give in the evening so the mother can sleep: the mother last nurses at 8 or so, goes to bed, the partner feeds the baby at 11 or so, and then the mother gets up at 2 to feed the baby again. That could give the mother 5-6 consecutive hours of sleep, which I agree would be heavenly. However, nighttime is some of the most important time for nursing sessions to build up and maintain the mothers milk supply. Some mothers who do have a good supply might experience engorgement, which is not only painful but can also spiral over time into lower supply as the body signals itself to stop producing as much milk because the breasts are uncomfortably full. Again, some mothers have success with the relief bottle but others need to be careful with that.
I have to mention one other thing, simply because I found it so funny! Sheri demonstrates different breastfeeding positions (and by the way I love the footage of the mothers breastfeeding their newborns in those positions!) In the DVD there is a written banner across the screen with the title of each hold. After the Cross-Cradle and Football holds, some sports-loving man must have been a little confused, because the banner read Sideline position (as in the sideline of a football field?) instead of Side-lying position. It does not affect the quality of the information presented, but it gave me a giggle!