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Parenting 101: Classes for Parents, Siblings and More

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

There are so many things parents need to learn when preparing for ababy, especially when it's the first baby. I remember years agoattending a childbirth class and sitting on the floor, just laughing tomyself at what was so reminiscent of scenes I had seen numerous times inmovies: Woman with big belly, sitting on floor. Husband sitting behindher and both practicing "heeeee huuuuuu" deep breathing. It was a greatway for us to get familiar with the hospital, learn breathing techniques(which I don't remember actually using when it came to the actualbirth), learn infant CPR and prepare mentally for what was to come.

Through three pregnancies and labors, that first childbirth classwas the only one I ever attended. After you go through labor once, youhave more of an idea of what to expect for future experiences. Thoughthat being said, no two labors are alike.

But aside from childbirth classes, there are other fun classes youcan take to prepare yourself for the little bundle. And after the bundlearrives as well.

Last summer, when I was pregnant with No. 3, I signed up my twoolder kids for a "sibling preparation" class. Because they were older,they understood (as much as possible) the changes that were about tohappen, and so we read books together about new siblings and how theycould help.

Even though they pretty much got it, the class was a greatopportunity for them to see the baby ward at the hospital, practicediapering a doll (truly comical) and visit a hospital room so it wouldbe at least a little familiar when they came to visit, all to help themget prepared for the arrival of a new baby sibling. I'd definitelyrecommend such a class for younger kids who are going to be a bigbrother or big sister; sometimes it helps to hear from someone outsidethe family what it'll be like.

After baby is born there are fun classes you can attend, includinginfant massage, nursing and baby care, which usually are held at yourlocal hospital or child-centric establishments. Not only are they agreat information resource for learning about your baby, but they'realso a great way to meet other parents. And more often than not, otherparents often are the best resource.

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