If you’re expecting a baby, it’s time to think about baby care classes. Yep, every parent should take one! Here, the five most compelling reasons.
You’re entering your third trimester, and you’re dreaming of those hazy newborn days filled with peaceful snuggles and cozy nursing sessions.
Unfortunately, the immediate postpartum period often looks more like this:
You laugh because you think I’m kidding, I laugh because I know I’m not
- You’re totally drained.
- Your bottom is sore.
- You’re supposed to be prepping your sitz bath, but baby is crying.
- And now your breasts feel engorged.
- The laundry is piling up and you haven’t a clue what to make for dinner.
- Aaaand now you’re crying.
We’ve all been there, mama!
While there’s no telling what the first few weeks with baby will bring, one thing is for sure: You can prepare yourself with parents-to-be classes.
In this post, we’ll cover the five reasons every parent should take a parenting class, and answer all of your most burning questions.
First Thing’s First: What IS a Parenting Class?
Baby care classes go by many names: parenting class, parents-to-be classes, new parent classes, newborn classes… the list goes on.
Regardless of what you actually call your baby care class, the goal of the class is the same: to prepare you and your partner for taking care of a newborn.
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Why Everyone (Yep, Even Second-Time Parents) Should Take a Parents-to-Be Class
You already took a birthing class… do you really need to take a baby care class?
You betcha. Here’s why.
1. Learn how to parent a newborn calmly and confidently
Mother confidently caring for baby after parents to be class
Perhaps one of the most advantageous benefits of a newborn care class, you’ll learn to parent a newborn with confidence. This is especially important if you’re expecting your first baby, or it’s been a few years since you last had a newborn in the house.
Knowledge is the first step to doing anything—especially parenting—with confidence.
When you’re confident in your abilities, you’re more likely to be calm, too. And guess what? Baby picks up on your energy. So a calmer, happier parent equals a calmer, happier baby.
2. Gain the knowledge you need to thrive in the fourth trimester (and beyond)
Mother confidently breastfeeding after parenting class
Parenting a newborn is as much about you as it is your baby. A good baby care class acknowledges the fact that, yes, you are parenting a newborn, but you’re doing so while you’re in the fourth trimester.
You need time to recover and heal during this period as well.
A baby care class can provide valuable information—like how to comfortably nurse a newborn when you have a C-section scar to deal with—so you can thrive during this transition.
3. Discover practical tips and insights from experts in baby care
Father bathing baby after parents to be class
A baby care class doesn’t just explain how much a baby needs to eat or sleep, it also provides useful tips. I like to call these the “how-tos”: how to bathe a slippery, tiny newborn baby, how to swaddle a newborn so the baby’s arms stay perfectly snug, or how to dress a baby for all types of weather.
You’ll learn practical tips for all facets of taking care of a baby including:
- Diapering (“Is this poop normal?” is a totally common—and completely normal—question!)
- Safety, including baby proofing, car seat safety, and feeding safety
- First aid for a baby, including an overview on CPR
- Baby ailments, including what to do if you think your baby is constipated
- How to play with a newborn
- Essential baby gear and how to use it
4. Connect with a dynamic tribe of new mothers just like you
Mother browsing an online support group after a parenting class
Taking a parenting class can help you meet a dynamic tribe of new mamas. This is true for in-person and online classes.
In today’s digital world, we’re often isolated from one another. Sometimes it feels like the whole “it takes a village” concept is just non-existent. But we don’t have to feel isolated, and we don’t have to let the digital world disconnect us. We can use the online world to connect with a whole tribe of new mamas.
Is there anything as satisfying as finding a fellow mama who completely gets what you’re going through? Sometimes a “me too” moment can turn acquaintances into fast friends.
5. And—bonus—you might even get more sleep!
newborn and parents getting more sleep thanks to a parenting class
Studies show that learning baby care principles can promote better sleep for babies and children. And, seriously, what new parent doesn’t want a little (or a lot!) more sleep?!
Where to Take Newborn Classes
If you’re asking “Where can I find a newborn class near me,” the answer is simple: right in your own home.
Of course, you can find newborn classes in your city—many hospitals and birthing centers offer them, but who can resist the benefits of taking a newborn class right from the comfort (and convenience!) of your own home?
There are many benefits to taking online baby care classes. Online parenting classes are:
- Flexible: If you’re taking in-person classes, you’ll have to attend the class on the instructor’s schedule. If you can’t attend the class at that time, you simply miss the class. Online classes are more flexible, so you can take the class when it’s most convenient for you.
- Individualized: If you’re not formula-feeding, you don’t need to waste time sitting in a class while the instructor talks about formula-feeding. Online classes are more flexible in that you can skip parts that don’t apply to you, which saves you time in the long run.
- More time-efficient: With online classes, you don’t have to sit through others’ questions. You get to focus on what you want to learn.
- Long-lasting: Imagine your baby is struggling with constipation, and you know your instructor said something about remedies, but you just can’t remember what they were. With in-person courses, it’s nearly impossible to go back and get those answers. Not the case with online classes! Online courses enable you to revisit the course at a later date so you can get the tips you need when you need them.
- Inclusive for grandparents or caregivers: Is a grandparent or other relative going to help out with baby? You can take an online course together—no extra cost associated!
- Easy to access: Most online courses allow for access to instructors and support after the course. So even though you won’t be face-to-face, you’ll still have plenty of support.
What About Parenting Classes Near Me?
While we really recommend online classes, there are some topics—like infant CPR classes—that are better suited for an in-person class. In fact, if you want to earn full certification for CPR, you have to attend an in-person course.
You can find parenting classes near you through:
- Your local hospital or birth center
- A recommendation from you midwife or doula
- Your local community center
If you’re unsure, talk to your OBGYN or midwife.
Many healthcare systems (including hospitals and birth centers) offer birthing classes and newborn basics classes. Some are free parenting classes, while others have fees.
Keep in mind that free classes are more likely to be short and extremely basic. If you’re looking for a fully comprehensive and in-depth course, expect to pay for the course. Investing in a parenting class can give you peace of mind for the next several months.
We polled the moms in our community to see what they thought about parents-to-be classes; here are some of their responses.
- “My husband learned a lot—and didn’t feel like I was ‘telling’ him. It was great for first time parents.”
- “The course I took had lots of good info, but it was too short!”
- “I liked it for the knowledge and bonding with partner, especially for a first time mom.”
- “I liked that it gave some ‘what to expect’ and ‘what to watch out for,’ so that I had an idea of what is normal and what isn’t.”
- “I liked learning newborn patterns and what it was like to care for a newborn. What’s normal, what’s not, etc. It was very helpful, though I did forget a lot before the baby was born. I think I would have liked to have digital resources to refer back to once the baby was born.”
- “As a FTM it made me feel more confident.”
- “I liked the breastfeeding and basic baby care info you’re too embarrassed to ask people about.”
- “I was 1,400 miles from my family so I appreciated having support and getting some questions answered.”
I’m Ready: When Should I Start Taking Baby Care Classes?
There’s no time like the present! Ideally, enroll in your class while you’re still pregnant. If you take your parenting class during your third trimester, the information will be fresh in your mind.
How About You?
Have you taken parent-to-be classes? We’d love to hear your experience!