So, one of my readers asked if I could talk a bit about what classes we took in preparation for the impending child. If you are in my area, the courses were taken at Foothill Presbyterian hospital.
Ok, so strictly speaking, this was not in preparation for childbirth. I took this class in undergrad at Vanguard University. However, this course covered the biology of pregnancy and childbirth and included a crash-course in Lamaze. Very little of the material covered in the courses below went beyond what we covered in this course — and this course was often more in-depth.
This was a 4-week class and covered what to expect in childbirth. It also covered breathing techniques and the benefits of breastfeeding. For a first-time parent, and especially for someone who did not have the benefit of the training that I had in undergrad, this is a great course.
Our instructor went over the stages of labor, the biology of the birthing process, and a smorgasbord of breathing techniques taken from Bradley, Lamaze and (I expect) others. She also did a show-and-tell with the tools used in labor and delivery. She suggested a variety of delivery positions, the use of a birthing ball, and talked about when to call 911 (such as with a prolapsed cord).
I would recommend this course, but understand that there will likely be a lot of review.
This was a one-time class that covered latching, the shift from colostrum to milk, and possible problems with breastfeeding, while extolling the benefits of breastfeeding. They did want fathers to come to this class in order to be aware of the process. Like the birthing class there was a show and tell, showing the different pumps and products available to make breastfeeding easier and to care for the breasts.
If you plan to breastfeed, this class is worthwhile. While much of the material covered will not be necessary for most parents (most of the time, kids figure out the nursing thing without any special help!), if you have a problem, this class provides tools to deal with those problems and educates about the types of questions to ask if you do have a problem.
This was a one-time class that covered the birthing process, diaper changing, dressing the kid, and swaddling. Most of the class consisted of a video, showing a part of a delivery, parents getting peed on, what baby poop at various stages looks like, and describing when to go to the doctor.
Ok — I understand why this class exists. There was a guy in the class who squirmed and squealed throughout the video. The guy was legitimately freaked out — and somehow he screamed baby-daddy.
Bottom line, I thought this class was (for me) a waste of time. For many people the material would be useful. If you are truly clueless, take this class. Otherwise, I might recommend finding someone who has a baby and asking if you can come over for the day and help them out. Explain why: I have no idea what I am doing, and was hoping that you could show me how to do this stuff. Chances are, they will be happy to have the help! Just make sure that you have your whooping cough shot first, and ask lots of questions.
Happiest Baby on the Block
We have NOT taken this class. It is offered at one of the bigger hospitals in the area that has a well-respected birthing wing. The material seems solid (we bought the book), but are not sure of the class would offer anything more than simply reading the book. If anyone has taken this class, we would love some feedback!