I’ve reached the point in pregnancy where it is time (or at least encouraged) to take “Parent Education” classes. Since neither Jeremy nor I have any experience with infants, we figured we’d benefit from a few of the classes offered (and oy vey – there are a TON out there).
It is difficult to try to fit in classes around what is available through the hospital with my due date, Jeremy’s class schedule and his finals as well as around work.
This past weekend, we took the “Infant Care Workshop”. It was a 6-hour class that covered such topics as (pulled from their website):
infant bathing, diapering and swaddling, and an overview of breastfeeding will be discussed. Newborn characteristics and a question answer forum will be instructed by a board certified pediatrician. Suggestions for types of bottles and formula preparations and an introduction to solids and signs of food allergies will be reviewed. Signs of illness, how and when to call the pediatrician and what to expect with your new baby the first few days at home.
There were quite a few parents I knew that told me that this class was worthless. But I don’t think people really understand when I say that I have NEVER changed a diaper in my life… let alone even HELD an infant for more than a few minutes at a time (and sadly for less times than I can probably count on my hands). I am ridiculously inexperienced and utterfly terrified that I lack that whole “motherly instinct”. When I find myself in a situation where I don’t know what to do – I don’t instantly snap into some great problem-solver. My mind goes completely blank and I look at Jeremy.
So – you can understand why we thought that just having a class that went over the basics could help us newbies.
Well – we arrived to the class late (great start, right?). We sat through a boring lecture and a disturbing PowerPoint presentation. The presentation had pictures of different but common newborn ailments like “stork bites” and other rashes. That was actually helpful. But then the nurse put up a picture of a newborn girl’s susie.
I tried not to act like a middle schooler or even a total prude – but it just felt strange to stare at a giant picture of a baby girl’s weewee. The nurse talked about some common things seen in a newborn girl and I guess it was good to hear.
Can you guess what the next image was? A newborn boy’s peter… hooray! She pointed out that it was uncircumcised and went on to chat about common newborn boy problems.
She kept that particular image up for a good 10-15 minutes… well past her discussion of newborn boy issues.
The next image she showed was what a newborn boy’s wang looked like right after circumcision and holy hell… I’m glad we’re not having a boy.
So did we find the class useful? I’d say the last hour was useful because it was actually hands-on. She discussed swaddling, diapering and bathing. While I don’t think we’ll be swaddling with a blanket (that’s what those pre-made swaddlers are for!) – it was interesting to hear about the benefits of swaddling.
Also – I’m not sure we really benefited from some of the hands-on stuff. I mean – we learned on a doll. The doll isn’t squirming or screaming. Although when it was my turn to diaper, Jeremy tried very hard to make the situation “realistic” and moved the baby’s arms and legs so that I had a hard time diapering.
Other interesting tidbits that we learned…
- Just because you’re having a girl doesn’t mean her pee can’t get everywhere when you’re changing her.
- Babies can have explosive poops that can project off of a changing table and onto you, the wall and the floor. (this has made Jeremy and I want to buy an area rug for under the changing table – or cover the walls and floors with plastic a la Dexter).
- You should limit as much outside exposure to your newborn in the first 6 weeks. While you don’t need to hole yourself up in your house – you should avoid air travel and things like that since they don’t get their first round of immunizations until 6 weeks.
- You can get pregnant while you are breastfeeding even if you haven’t gotten your period yet. This explains “irish twins” I guess.
- People are idiots. I thought Jeremy and I were completely clueless but the other future parents in the class made me feel like a genius. When the nurse was talking about bathing, she flipped the baby doll over onto its stomach to wash the back. I heard 2 women gasp and one eventually asked if you would just put your baby face down like that… as though you wouldn’t TURN THE BABY’S HEAD so that it wasn’t face down on a towel. Seriously, ladies?
- Apparently there is a type of hold in breastfeeding that appears like you’re holding your baby like a football cradled under your arm.
- The umbilical cord looks ridiculously disgusting as you wait for it to “fall off”. She showed us a picture of what it will look like and holy hell, I thought I was going to vomit.
- If you have a vaginal birth, your baby will probably be born with a strangely shaped head (resembling a small cone). Awesome.
- You’re supposed to feed your baby like 8 times a day… so even if your baby seems to be “sleeping through the night” (and that does not actually mean through the night!) – you’re supposed to wake it up to feed it.
- You must use a rectal thermometer for newborns! Poor things.
And sadly – that may be all that I retained from the class. I know the nurses in the hospital show you how to do the basics before you leave and Jeremy thinks that by hearing this information twice, we’ll actually absorb it. Fingers crossed.