Since it’s been three months since we became parents, I wanted to write a post on the 4 classes you should take as new parents. We took these classes in preparation for Roark’s birth and most were worth attending.
We took almost all the classes available to us and even purchased a class for my mom. As a first time grandparent, we thought it would be a great way to her to catch up with the new norms of child care. A lot changes in 30+ years!
All the classes that we took required monetary ($40-70 per class) and time commitment (3-12 hrs), but were a great way to meet other people going through the same experience as us and to have our questions answered by nurses or certified instructors. We found that very valuable and would recommend that others take at least one of these classes.
However, if you have budget constraints, there are many wonderful resources online that cover some of the same topics. The drawback is that it’s hard to know what you don’t know. The internet is a black hole sometimes and it’s hard to stay on point. Even though the in-person classes required time commitment, when you think about it, it takes a lot more time to do all the research yourself.
The second drawback is the hands-on practice that you get. For example, in the Infant CPR class, a doll is provided which allows you to blow air into the doll’s mouth and massage its chest. The doll is built to mimic the body of an infant.
For all these reasons, we think that the in-person classes are the way to go. We took our classes in hospitals near us and found it helpful to take classes in the hospital I was delivering so we could get information on the hospital’s practices and philosophy beforehand.
4 classes you should take as new parents
1) Birthing Class – by far the biggest time committment required for a total of 12 hrs of classes over 4 weeks. It was however, one of the best classes we took. If you have no concept of what birth is like and want to know the ins and outs, this class is for you. We found it great to learn from other couples and also as a place to learn more about how men handle childbirth versus women. One benefit of this class is that it covered most of the decisions we needed to make during your delivery so that we were prepared for it. Another benefit was that the role of the support partner was discussed almost every class, making it easier for moms-to-be. Lastly, the last thing we always did was to enjoy a massage from our partners and practice the breathing exercises. Believe me that when you are in a lot of pain, it helps to have done all this before, so everyone knows their “job” and there is some muscle memory of what works for each person.
2) Breastfeeding – this class covered the different techniques, latch positions, storage and common problems of breastfeeding. Although completely natural, breastfeeding is hard!! Having great information on how to make it somewhat easier is so valuable. I went back to the class materials for the first two weeks postpartum to troubleshoot some issues we had and to have some reassurance that what we were experiencing was normal.
3) Infant CPR – if budget is a constraint for you, of all of these classes, this is one class I think you must take in person. Although we all hope to never use these techniques, a lot of us will actually need it at least once while raising kids. For us, chocking was an issue from day one, so it was reassuring to know that we had some training if Roark were to stop breathing. In addition to CPR, the class covered additional risks like SIDS, poisons, car seat safety and common household products that are fatal to toddlers. Did you know that toothpaste can poison toddlers? I didn’t either until I took this class.
4) Boot Camp for New Dads – this is a men only class taught by new dads that took the class and come back to teach it 4 months after the birth of their kids. They bring their babies and let the other men change diapers, soothe, feed and hold their babies. The content is very hush, hush, but I was able to get some nuggets out of the hubby to share. What impressed me the most is that the men talk a lot about how to be a supporting partner to the new moms. A keeper class for sure! In some places this class is also available for women.
As I mentioned, we took almost all classes available to us. In addition to enrolling my mom in a grandparent’s class, we also took an infant care class. The latter was probably overkill after so many great classes. I would say everything that was taught during this class is readily available online or falls into common sense. In addition, the hands-on practice will come in the hospital with the nurses. Changing diapers, bathing, feeding and burping a baby, how to swaddle and so on… So this class was not as helpful as the others, but my list of 4 classes you should take as new parents posted above will provide anyone with a comprehensive knowledge of real life situations you will be dealing with when delivering and taking care of a baby.
Have you taken baby classes? What was your experience? Feel free to share your best tips on the comments below.