Helpful, right? Well, let me explain…
I am a soon-to-be first time mom with 5 weeks left in my pregnancy. For me, I found the classes EXTREMELY helpful. I am the first out of my group of friends to become pregnant, so I’ve had relatively little experience with the whole baby growing, child birthing, breast-feeding, newborn raising process.
I read all of the baby books I could, but I just couldn’t seem to get the information to stick in my head. That’s because I’m what you call a ‘hands on’ learner. Since I couldn’t get my hands on any real babies, I figured some hands on classes were the next best thing.
I’ll admit it… When I first looked into the classes, I had quite a bit of sticker shock. The cheapest class was $50 and there were at least 4 classes that I wanted to sign up for! After talking it through with my husband we decided to give the classes a chance.
The first two classes we signed up for were a breast-feeding class and a ‘Baby Essentials’ class. These classes were all offered through my local hospital. I thought that I knew everything there was to know about breast-feeding, I had read a ton of books on the subject after all. But boy oh boy was I wrong! I came out of that class with a 45 page booklet and 3 pages of notes. This may seem daunting or extreme to some, but for me it was empowering. I walked into that room with 8 other pregnant and clueless couples, and we all walked out rock stars. And that hands on practice I was talking about earlier? Yeah, we practiced with teddy bears. Better than nothing, right?
Not only did the class make me feel more knowledgable about the subject, it also made it feel more ‘real’ for my husband. We spent a lot of time talking about the dad’s role in breastfeeding and how much of a difference having someone knowledgable there to support you can make. The same goes with our second class.
The second class we took was the ‘Baby Essentials’ class. This class taught you how to swaddle, change a diaper, give your baby a bath, how often to feed, etc. Again, we found this class helpful but that’s coming from a complete newbie. There were a lot of little things we learned that I would not have learned about otherwise. For example, when you wash your baby’s face, you don’t need to use soap. Am I the only one who didn’t know that? Also, after taking this class we promptly returned our forehead thermometer and bottle sterilizer (that I wanted so badly!). The nurse explained that for an otherwise healthy and non-premature baby, there is no need to sterilize your bottles. Babies are not sterile to begin with, and once that bottle touches your baby’s lips, neither is the bottle. That right there was worth the $50!
Our final two classes? Infant CPR and child birthing. Those two are scheduled for next weekend.
So back to the original question – are maternity classes worth it? I’d say if you don’t otherwise have the experience, go for it! You really don’t have much to lose.