Though I’ve heard great things about antenatal classes, I thought it was merely a good-to-have and not a must. And then the baby came…
It’s one o’clock in the middle of the night, and my four-month-old decided that it’s play time. “Sleep? Nah, that’s for the weak. I want to play,” he seemed to be saying in his baby talk. No matter what my husband and I did, he just won’t go back to sleep… until four in the morning.
My husband and I weren’t expecting parenthood to be easy, but we certainly didn’t expect it to be this tough. We found out later that he was going through the infamous fourth-month sleep regression. While we’d heard of it, we weren’t prepared for it.
And I guess that last bit perfectly illustrates everything about being new parents: nothing in the world can fully prepare you for parenthood. However, being somewhat prepared is always better than being completely unprepared, which is why I wish I had attended some antenatal classes.
“Everything can be found on the internet, anyway.”
Famous last words of mine that I will never forget. I was aware of the antenatal classes offered by many organisations. Most focus on preparing parents for the birth process and the basics of caring for a newborn. There are also comprehensive ones, like Hegen’s, that cover the 101 of breastfeeding on top of childbirth education, postnatal care, as well as newborn care. Both my husband and I had friends who strongly recommended these classes, saying we’d learn so much from them.
When my husband asked if I would like to attend a class together, I confidently replied that we didn’t need to. After all, isn’t that what the internet is for? We could find similar resources, and probably more, for free just by Googling, I reasoned.
Was I wrong? Not exactly, but I definitely overestimated the power of the internet and the benefits of a good antenatal course.
Hands-on learning is always the best
It used to take me almost ten minutes to put on a diaper for my son in the first month. Fast forward 18 months later, I could do it in under a minute; I could even get a taped diaper securely on him while he’s standing up. Practice makes perfect, and I’ve been doing this multiple times a day for over a year.
Nothing beats hands-on learning. Sure, there are diaper-changing tips and YouTube how-tos, but none of these really comes close to the learning experience you get when you’re actually doing it. Antenatal classes can provide you with that hands-on learning experience. Even if you’re changing diapers on a doll or learning how to burp by carrying a doll; these are the closest you can get to the real deal (unless your relatives or friends have babies whom you can practise your skills on).
Asking questions and getting answers is part of the learning experience too
The first night we spent with our son was the most stressful time of mine and my husband’s lives thus far. Nothing we did could settle him. We rang for the nurse, who checked and concluded that he was still hungry. But I’d been nursing him for over twenty minutes, and my nipples were already super sore. It’s only after the nurse helped me through hand massage and expression that I realised that my breasts were engorged. My baby, who was only just learning to suckle, had no strength to get the milk out.
It was only after checking out of the hospital that we were told by friends that we could’ve brought donated breast milk, just in case. I also found out later on that I could’ve engaged a lactation consultant to help with colostrum collection before I was due. As antenatal classes are run by infant care and medical experts, we would’ve gotten this information as well as professional advice from attending them. Most importantly, we would’ve had the chance to listen and ask questions on the spot.
You’ll have a clearer picture of parenting duties and how to share them
If you’re a parent-to-be and you think that you’ve got all your parenting duties figured out, think again. That was exactly what my husband and I thought. Caring for a baby goes beyond feeding, bathing, and diaper changing. For starters, you’ve got to have a backup plan for everything. What happens if your baby decides that they don’t want to nurse? What can be done to keep them occupied while you express? Who’s going to bottle-feed them? Who’s going to burp the baby? The list goes on.
Attending antenatal classes as a couple ensures that both you and your partner are aware of the duties and possible challenges. You’ll avoid a lot of last minute “my job or your job” discussions, as well as minimising the possible unhappiness as well.
So, what should you look for in an antenatal class?
If I could travel back in time, I’d definitely look for an antenatal course that covers everything from pre- to postnatal care, baby care, as well as breastfeeding basics. It would be run by experienced and certified professionals, too, as I would like advice that is backed by science and industry experience.
Being a breastfeeding solutions company, Hegen has a Lactation Centre that offers a full suite of courses and services to prepare couples for the amazing journey of parenthood. This includes the popular Caring For Your Newborn Class, as well as Pre- and Postnatal Lactation Consultation. In the latter, you’ll be taught how to get a good latch, hand expression techniques, breast care, how to overcome nipple rejection, and more. Its Prenatal Lactation Consultation even offers colostrum collection, which is undertaken by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. There’s also a Childbirth Education Class to prepare you for everything related to D-Day: from what to pack in your hospital bag, pain relief options, and even postnatal intimacy. For working mums, the Back-To-Work Breastfeeding Class is perfect as it teaches you how to create a work pump schedule, milk storage tips, and how to get a caregiver or infant care to offer the bottle.
Interested in any of Hegen Lactation Centre’s classes? You can find out more via its website and can book a slot for a class today.
This post is in partnership with Hegen.