Our hospital offers MANY, almost too many, baby prep classes that they HIGHLY recommended (and one series they require) each couple/family take prior to giving birth at their hospital. I decided to make a list of the classes we took, my thoughts, and if I would recommend them!
Let’s jump right into it!
The Breastfeeding class was the shortest of them all, informative, and nerve-wracking. I’ve always said that I’d like to breastfeed, but that I’m not putting pressure on myself (because some things are just out of our control). With that being said, though, HOLY PRESSURE…from everyone!
Anyway, back on topic! When you register for the class, they ask you to bring your support person with you. At first I thought that this was quite odd–what on EARTH will a second person (who can’t feed baby) do?!?!
The answer? They will do OH SO MUCH! You’ll have their memory, a second set of hands for the “dad/support person sandwich” (yes, that’s a thing), a diaper changer and burper, and just an overall cheerleader…that support person will be SO helpful. Just make sure your support person for breastfeeding is someone who you don’t mind getting up close and personal with!
I HIGHLY recommend this class! As nervous and overwhelmed as I was walking out of the class, I left with so much information (the breastfeeding process, support groups, free in-hospital help, at home care). More importantly, I felt like we started the solidification process on our “team effort” mentality.
Childbirth Series (2 Part)
The next class was a 2-part, two and a half hour each, class. Let me start by saying that this was the class that I was most looking forward to. I wanted to dive deeply into the Lamaze techniques I’ve heard so much about and really practice the steps with my husband/birthing partner.
This series was the required hospital class and honestly one that I will NOT recommend. The class description (and I’m paraphrasing) said that it was a Lamaze technique class that discussed the 3 delivery options (vaginal/natural labor, vaginal/induced labor, and c-section). We were to bring a pillow and be comfortable practicing different Lamaze techniques in a group setting.
What the class actually turned out to be was very long and drawn out.
Day One: We watched a video of two births (vaginal and c-section) that talked about “how showing your emotions was a physical manifestation of how you are feeling on the inside”. No, s**t! Then we talked about pain management and what to expect during labor (contractions, back labor, pushing, etc.).
We left thinking that the next class would be learning the Lamaze techniques. We also left in agreement on some birthing topics and goals. So, overall we gave Day One a weird thumbs up.
Day Two: We recapped (discussed everything we had in the class prior) the pain management and labor expectations, discussed postpartum care, answered audience questions, and delved deeper into a c-section birth. The last 15 minutes was practicing Lamaze techniques! That’s it, just 15 minutes!
We were given a sheet of paper with different positions, quickly reviewed the “he-he-who” breathing, and were told to practice. This is NOT what I would call beneficial. Especially, when the class is described as “Lamaze technique class”. I think we will get more out of a free YouTube video than this class, which is very disappointing.
Safe and Sound at Home Class
The last class was a 3 hour class all about taking care of baby from 24 hours old through the newborn stage. They reviewed swaddling, bathing, diapering, problem solving methods, car seat safety, CPR/First Aid…really anything you can think of, they touched on. It was a Baby 101 class.
As someone who has grown up around babies, worked as a nanny, and purposefully tries to surround herself with small children, this was a nice refresher course. For someone who hasn’t been surrounded by babies, or had little interest in them growing up, this was a great hands-on class!
The instructor was fantastic! Funnily, enough she has been our nurse during one of our Labor and Delivery stints. She gave just enough personal insight, without being pushy, and balanced her thoughts with the American Association of Pediatrics information.
The only thing I would change about this class is the CPR/First Aid portion. Both my husband and I have our CPR/First Aid certificates and wished that we could have taken the class without this section. It would have cut the class down by 45-60 minutes and we could have focused more on the at home, day-to-day, care of baby.
This is another HIGHLY recommend class.
In order of what classes I’d most to least recommend…
- Safe and Sound at Home
- Childbirth Series– I would check with your hospital to see if what the description reads is actually what is taught in the class. If it is not, or you’re not wanting that type of class, see if they’ll allow you to take a class outside of the hospital and show proof of attendance. Just know that you may have to pay for an outside/private practice class.
When all is said and done, though, I am glad that we took the classes we have. We walked out of each one more on the same page as when we walked in. We had a good laugh at the videos we had to watch, a better idea of what to expect, and an inexpensive (weird) date night. In the end, we felt like we solidified that “team effort” mentality even before the parenting begins.