Sunday, September 06, 2009

Preparing for Baby: Classes

To have a baby these days, it seems preparation is the key. You can read books and watch DVDs but if you are fortunate to have access to classes, by all means take them. Because Ken and I are nerds at heart, we took and are taking as many classes we can. After all, there is something to be said about having the wisdom of others passed on, have the benefit of a live session where you can ask questions and being around other people in the same boat as you.

The hospital system where we are delivering (Swedish) has an extensive "curriculum" that soon-to-be-parents can attend. They even have a grandparents class that sadly none of the Wetus grands will get to take. (But I know the Testas are going to do this so perhaps we will get a report...) If you are eager to learn and interact, it's best to get the Welcome package for a lump sum of $250/couple. That let's you sign up for almost all of the flagship classes and keeps the transactions quite easy. Once you sign up and pay your fee, you just use a code to register online for the classes/times of your choice.

We've taken:
  • Childbirth Preparation class--Planned Cesarean Birth w/Hospital Tour: It's good to know what to expect and some of the nitty-gritty details of this type of deliver. Though they don't tell you "everything." You have to consult close girlfriends for those gems.
  • Postpartum Preparation: How it's normal to feel overwhelmed and under the control of "aliens" right after baby is born. But really it has to do with hormones, sleep deprivation and a brand new creature who relies on you for its very survival. Coping skills.
  • Newborn Care: Swaddling, diapering, bathing, warning signs and more.
  • Breastfeeding: There is a lot more to know about this than you may think. Especially if you want to do this with some level of success.
  • Infant Safety & CPR: A very empowering class. To know how to do CPR-- and on an infant even, you feel pretty tough and prepared.

Still to take in the next few weeks:
  • Conscious Fathering (Ken only): We've heard many dads enjoyed this one.
  • Car-Seat Installation and Safety: 80+% of car seats are installed incorrectly. I know we both have college degrees and astute minds but this is something we have to get right.

But one of the most rewarding classes which is not included in the Welcome package is a 2-day workshop designed by John & Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute @ UW. It's called Bringing Baby Home. It's taught in the Swedish system and is more about how your marriage or relationship is affected by the new baby. You work on tools and skills to help you stay connected with your partner when you are both sleep-deprived, emotionally drained and vulnerable to high relationship dissatisfaction--all of this due to the new addition. Even if you have rock solid relationship, it's a good way to arm yourself with tools and understanding that the challenge of parenthood will place a strain on a marriage. How you deal with that affects not only the couple but the children. We highly recommend it.

While I did an entry on books earlier, I want to plug a book that just came out that I REALLY like. It's called Baby 411, by the same folks who wrote Baby Bargains. Based on good science, it is straight-forward on all the 1st year topics and very easy to read/retain with no-nonsense chapter about vaccines. Again, it's based on actual scientific evidence, which we respect and will uphold.

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