Because this is our first baby and we don’t know what to expect, we decided to sign up for as many classes as we could. Grace’s doctor gave her a list of classes offered through the hospital that we could sign up for, some were free, others we paid a small fee for.
The first class was a “Birthing class”. This was an all-day class on a Saturday where we were bombarded with information. I went in thinking birth would be just fine and that the doctors would take care of everything with no problem whatsoever, but I left with so many questions! That being said, I think the class was extremely helpful, and it made me realize how ignorant I was to what giving birth is really like. Now, I know that everyone’s experience is different, but it was good to hear and see so many stories through the class, so that we know what to do if things don’t go exactly as we had planned. At the same time, I think the class was very beneficial for me as a man, as I was able to learn about the different stages that Grace will go through at the hospital and what I’ll be able to do to help her. If there’s one class to go to, this is it! Yes, it was long, and some of the videos were very graphic, but definitely worth the time…especially for soon-to-be-dads! We need to understand how to support our ladies during birth.
The second class I attended was a CPR class. If you’re like me and have never taken a CPR class in your life, DO IT! Unfortunately, I never worked as a lifeguard or in any other position growing up that required me to know CPR. And I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be useless if my child starts choking or stops breathing suddenly. For that reason, I immediately signed up for a “Friends & Family CPR” course offered through the hospital. I not only learned about infant CPR and choking, but also adult CPR and the steps to take when faced with such an emergency. Again, if you have never taken a class, please do! Or if it’s been years since you took one, it never hurts to get a refresher!
Shortly after the CPR class, Grace and I attended a breastfeeding class – Grace will be trying to breastfeed for as long as possible. Although we understand that not everyone is able to breastfeed, and many formulas out there do a fantastic job, we wanted to make sure we tried to breastfeed before attempting anything else. Our hospital really encourages skin-to-skin and breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth and in turn they offered a breastfeeding class for expecting parents. On the way to class, I kept asking Grace if I was really supposed to be attending the class since I won’t be doing any of the breastfeeding…but I’m so glad I went (I also wasn’t the only male there). It was incredible to learn about babies’ instincts when it comes to feeding and to learn the signs to look for when the baby is hungry. They also helped with techniques for latching and explained the benefits of breastfeeding – my favorite benefit? It’s free!!!!
And finally! The last class we attended was an infant care class. This was probably the easiest of all. The nurses taught us how to hold and swaddle a baby, change diapers, and how to give baby baths, plus they gave us some other tips and tricks to handle infants when at home. It was good to finish our long week of classes with this one – definitely made us look forward to bringing our baby home.
If you’re still expecting and haven’t signed up for any classes, I would recommend you speak to your doctor and ask them about classes that the hospital offers for expecting parents. Even though I think we’ll learn most of what we need to be parents as we go, it is good to feel somewhat prepared prior to the baby arriving!
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