In the world of parenting, there are all too many occasions to wish kids came with an instruction manual, and at some point, almost every parent has voiced this desire. As a new parent, you’re in the “sweet spot” because at no other time will you ever have some many suggestions, hints, information and knowledge thrust upon you! From websites and blogs to books and DVDs, mother-in-laws and best friends, everything and everyone is here to help! In fact, it’s rather difficult to sift through all the information and triage what you need to know now, and what can wait until later.
If you’re feeling information overloaded, or if you’re just starting to wish you had some expert guidance on this journey, classes for new parents can be a great solution. Yes, just like English Lit and Statistics, Computer Science and PE, there are actual courses out there, geared specifically for new parents. Not only can you learn, first hand and in person, what you need to know about this bundle of joy that will inhabit your house, but you can do it from trained experts and healthcare professionals who have the knowledge and experience to do it well. But just like shopping in Babies R Us, it can be overwhelming to identify what you need. To make it easy for you, we’ve narrowed down the top 3 classes for new parents that should fit everyone’s needs. So, relax, sit back and read about our New Parent Course Catalog!
- Birthing classes: Typically offered at your local hospital, Women’s Center or healthcare facility, a birthing class is a great way to learn what to expect during labor and what your options are. There is a variety of birthing techniques so a class might follow one school of thought or introduce several others. As an expectant mother, it’s a good idea to attend this class with whomever will be by your side during the delivery – be it your spouse, mother, sister, friend or another labor coach. Your instructor will walk you through the labor process, discuss strategies for handling it, and often give you the opportunity to tour the hospital or birthing facility. The best time to take a birthing class is several months before you deliver – after all, many women want to have a plan in place well in advance, whether it be written or just voicing your preferences. Additionally, since these classes are popular with new parents, they do “sell out” so you want to get in on the action early. A birthing class is also a great time to get familiar with the facility, learn if there is a pre-registration process and develop a comfort level that will alleviate stress on the actual delivery date. More than one sitcom has parodied the freaked-out dad and the breathing/whistling mom on the floor with their pillows, but in reality, a birthing class is an educational, involved and informative way to prepare for Junior’s arrival.
- Breastfeeding classes: Breastfeeding looks and seems like the most natural thing in the world, and for some lucky women, it is. For others, it is a physical, emotional and mental struggle – trying to get your baby to successfully latch on, wondering if you’re producing enough milk, and of course, feeling guilty if it’s not the wonderful bonding experience you imagined. If breastfeeding is your preferred choice for feeding your newborn – or even if you’re thinking “maybe”– a breastfeeding class can give you the know-how and confidence you need. All those tips and techniques that look like they should be easy will be discussed and explained, and you’ll love learning this information before you become a sleep-deprived new mom. You’ll learn the answers to questions before they arise and be able to approach breastfeeding with a well-deserved comfort level. Much like birthing classes, your local hospital or physician can provide you with information on classes and even steer you towards lactation consultants who can be a wonderful resource for a new mother.
- New Parent classes: Do you know how to bathe a 2-week-old infant? Or how to care for a baby boy, post-circumcision? When was the last time you practiced your swaddling technique? Does your spouse know how to change a diaper? For new parents who don’t know, a parenting class is just the perfect answer! Interestingly enough, having knowledge about newborns is not a prerequisite for becoming a parent so many of us embark on this journey completely clueless! And while you can definitely learn on the job, isn’t it so much easier to figure some of it out before you have a wriggling, fussy little baby in front of you (and you haven’t showered in 3 days)? Parenting classes are often available through your hospital, community center or sometimes even a local church and are your opportunity to learn the basic routines that you’ll go through many, many – yes, many – times in the first several months. Diapering and diaper rash, feeding and mealtimes, bathing and general hygiene, sleep schedules and developing routines are just some of the topics that can be discussed. Typically taught by a healthcare professional, social worker or counselor, a parenting class is a fantastic resource and can give you some peace of mind as you begin the toughest job you’ll ever love.
So, there you have it. In a crazy world where schedules are hectic and there’s never enough time, these are what we think any new parent could use. Parenting is a journey with twists and turns, peaks and valleys. Think of these classes as your roadmap, helping you to navigate and stay on course.
Bon Voyage and Happy Parenting!