If any of you out there already have a child, you’ll know that the first couple of months with a newborn can be pretty terrifying. You wake up every time your baby makes a peep and often have trouble falling asleep because you just want to keep staring at your him/her to make sure he/she is breathing. I can’t tell you how many breaths I have watched go up and down inside of Lily’s tiny belly. One of a new parent’s biggest fears “what if my baby stops breathing?” and unfortunately in some very rare cases, it does happen. This week Andy and I took an infant/child CPR class as a refresher. We took one when I was pregnant with Lily and luckily never had to use any of the skills we learned, but I definitely couldn’t have remembered everything we learned after two years. If you’re a new parent, parent-to-be or have never taken one of these classes before I cannot recommend it enough. Unfortunately, we never know what could happen to our little ones and although paranoia isn’t good for anyone, being prepared is. I thought I would share the 4 classes Andy and I took before having Lily that I would recommend to all parents-to-be!
Infant & Child CPR
These classes are offered at most hospitals so be sure to ask your OB/Midwife or call your hospital/birthing center to see if they have one! It’s, of course, best to take while you’re still pregnant because the early days at home are among the most dangerous. Your hospital may only offer Infant CPR, not child (they ARE different) so once your child gets past the first year, it’s great to sign up for a child CPR class somewhere else. We actually took our first CPR class at a hospital we weren’t even delivering at, so if yours doesn’t offer classes be sure to look around! They’re usually between 20-60$ and last between 2-3 hours. This is also a great class to take with grandparents or anyone else who may be taking care of your child. As a rule, I never let anyone watch Lily for an extended period of time without knowing CPR & the basic skills to help a child who is choking (you will learn that in CPR class).
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that breastfeeding was ridiculously challenging for Lily and I. It was easily the most difficult part of being a new parent. Breastfeeding isn’t as challenging for everyone, but most mothers will tell you it wasn’t a walk in the park. Breastfeeding classes can’t and won’t prepare you fully for all of the challenges you may face on your nursing journey but it can at least arm you with some basic knowledge. You’ll hear over and over again that breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, so you think it will just come to you…not so much. Unfortunately, not many people tell you about all of the challenges: low supply, oversupply, bad latch, tongue tie, cracked nipples, pain, plugged ducts, mastitis, pumping issues, lack of sleep, your child’s dependency on solely you and the endless hours of having someone attached to you. Breastfeeding classes can tell you how often your baby should be eating, how much they should consume each feed, how to properly latch a baby, what you can do to maintain a healthy supply & how your partner can help in the process. I would definitely recommend bringing your significant other along with you so they can be a part of breastfeeding. I think our class was about 80$ for both of us and was 2 hours long. I would also recommend finding a highly regarded IBCLC in your area and contacting them BEFORE you have a baby. You can tell them you plan to breastfeed and would like to call back after you’ve had your child to have an evaluation. I would have definitely stopped nursing if it wasn’t for the help and support I received from my IBCLC.
I would say the single most useful class we ever took was our birthing class. We enrolled through our Doula company for a class called “Birth Bootcamp”. These classes are offered nationwide and can also be taken online. I would recommend this class to ANYONE who is pregnant whether she is a first-timer or not. The course is 10 weeks and each class lasted about 2-3 hours. I’ve had some people tell me how crazy it was I spent all of that time preparing for birth but honestly, I think I would be crazy not to. Giving birth to Lily was the most important thing I had ever done in my entire life so why wouldn’t I take the time to prepare for it? I was passionate about having a natural birth but even if that isn’t something that is important to you, it is critical that you are an informed mother and can be your own advocate. There are a lot of sketchy things that happen in the labor & delivery rooms that can have a huge impact on your health and the health of your baby. Birth Bootcamp taught me how to find a health care provider, labor techniques, the types of medications used and why/when they should be used, how to track my contractions, labor techniques, and all of the stages of labor plus some basic newborn care skills. I was SO prepared for my birth that I honestly had no fear. There was no panicking, no begging for medications, no rushing to the hospital way too early just to be sent home. You can check out Birth Bootcamp’s website to see if a class is offered near you or contact me and I’d be to put you in touch with someone that can help. I’m seriously so grateful for those classes & I am about to start diving into my workbook to get re-familiar for birth #2!
I prepared SO much for my birth but when I left the hospital I was like “omg what do I do with this child?!”. Luckily, we did take a small at-home class with two ladies from my doula company called “Newborn Essentials”. They came by and went over all of the basic to-dos after you bring your baby home. We learned how to swaddle, diapering, what temperature the baby’s room should be at, how to check her temperature and her ears, bathing techniques, how to suction her nose and mouth, and breastfeeding basics. It was really helpful to have the women at our house because we were able to show them some of the products we bought and they helped us figure out how to use them. If you can believe it before I had Lily I had never changed a diaper before let alone swaddle a baby, so it was definitely helpful to at least have some basic skills like that to get me by!
Hope this was helpful for all of you mommies and mommies-to-be out there. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or need suggestions for classes! You really can never be too prepared for having a newborn, so feel free to load up on those classes/courses that can help you and your partner be confident parents!