Childbirth and parenting education classes
Childbirth and parenting education classes (NCT classes in the United Kingdom) for first time parents are somewhat helpful. We didn’t have a clue before Ava so a qualified person telling us what drugs I could have, what happens at each stage of labour, how to feed the baby, etc., all very helpful, especially the drugs. But, there are somethings that they neglect to tell you, somethings that when you have to find out for yourselves, you start to question whether having a baby was a major error in judgement. Why aren’t they included?! Here are 6 things they don’t tell you:
Things they don’t tell you at childbirth and parenting education classes that they really should…
With Rafe I went into labour when I was meant to be having a C-section, so I was rushed in, meaning I didn’t have to go too far into labour, thankfully, but I know it’s a messy affair. Even after a C-section there is gross stuff everywhere, and One Born Every Minute teaches me things I don’t want to know (consequently, I stopped watching that when I accidentally saw it on my parent’s gigantic HD TV.)
So, why, in the childbirth and parenting class, do they show a video of a woman having a water birth without a drop of blood or other bodily fluids and functions? Makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong when you have to sit on a puppy training pad and wear a sanitary pad the size of a mattress, and are scared you are going to poo yourself at any moment. At least I won’t be asked to star in the next education video.
2. Dressing a baby
Childbirth and parenting education classes have you believe that it’s such a lovely, peaceful, bonding experience. You can even do some baby massage, gently clean your baby’s beautiful, soft, glowing newborn skin with water and cotton wool, effortlessly change their nappy, all the while they gurgle away, blowing bubbles, cooing at the fun of it all.
The reality of the situation is your squirming, crying, red and blotchy baby doesn’t want to get dressed. Acts like a level of torture is happening whenever you try to put a baby grow on (especially the ones where the buttons are on a diagonal where trying to get that second leg in is impossible). You spend your time trying to bend them into positions they don’t want to get into and you’re worried they might break. Baby massage is a distant memory of the 6 week course you took when the baby was new born, where tummy time was laughable as you didn’t know a baby could scream so much, and one rub of the belly resulted in a poo-nami. As for the new born baby smell, it soon turns to ‘what’s that hideous smell?’, ‘Oh, it’s the baby’ – about time we used baby wash!
3. Changing a nappy
This is heavily related to the one above. If your child doesn’t want their nappy changed, then it’s just not going to happen. With newborn babies up to about 7 months, it’s just general movement that makes it tricky to get them changed, then 7 months to potty training, its defiance of not caring you’ve got to be somewhere in 5 minutes or that mummy is wearing her work clothes and doesn’t want Sudacrem all over them.
And yet, childbirth and parenting education classes will have you believe all you have to do is this, then this, then stick this, and voila, your baby is changed. The midwife even told Geoff off for putting the nappy on backwards! He’d never done it before and it’s not like those things come with instructions.
And why don’t they tell you about the magic baby wipe?! As soon as you take the nappy off a boy, it’s all hands on deck to get the magic baby wipe on his willy or it’s Niagara Falls. You’ll have some well meaning friends who luckily tell you this, but they neglect to mention that girls can do it too! A few years ago, Geoff was on the train on the way to a boy’s day out (see separate post for mummy Vs daddy nights off!), when the lady opposite him started to change her baby’s nappy (some of you may find this gross but I think I’d prefer this to a train toilet). She didn’t employ the magic baby wipe and Geoff was showered in wee. The lady was kind though and handed him one baby wipe. 1!
4. Baby wipes
Childbirth and parenting education classes will tell you only to use cotton wool and water on your baby’s skin, which for a new born, I totally get. So delicate. But then the new born smell ends and the ‘you haven’t washed me properly in weeks’ smell starts. And neck cheese! So much neck cheese. Water just doesn’t cut it so you’ll notice I’ve quickly gone from using cotton wool and water only to using baby wipes because life is too short and because I’m really not sure what I did before them. I clean the house with them, I clean myself with them occasionally (a lot), I clean the kids with them, the cats, literally EVERYTHING. Major mum hack too (see blog post for more) is that after you’ve worn cheap shoes, wipe them out with a baby wipe and they won’t stink!
The education classes drill this into you, and for all the right reasons, it keeps babies healthy. But, by the time you’re on your 2nd or more baby, sterilising the life out of your house turns into sterilising the bottles and occasionally other little things that will fit in the steriliser. You will throw a no more sterilising party when they hit 1, and you will rejoice when you read an article that says ‘sucking your baby’s dummy to clean it when you don’t have any other choice (or do) is in fact a way to help your baby’s immune system’. See above for more baby wipe uses but wiping your baby’s dummy is also one (this autocorrected to fanny on my phone, also see above for more baby wipe users!). Geoff: The baby is eating it’s food off the floor and the cat is helping! Me: great, one less thing to sweep up.
6. Getting rest
I have a toddler as well as a baby, so this is very impossible. Side note: in fact, most of my funny blog posts would have been a much quicker publish if they just said ‘I have a toddler’ and left it at that. You would have all given me virtual hugs and the nod of knowing my pain. Anyhoo…Ava no longer naps so unless we’re watching Frozen for the 5th (455th) time that day, then rest is not an option. Even medical professionals advise 7 to 8 hours of sleep for health reasons, they clearly aren’t parents. But, even when I just had Ava and Rafe, The class’s advice of sleep when the baby sleeps is so far from the reality of what is possible. Obviously you could sleep when the baby sleeps, but you would be choosing sleep over eating, cleaning the house, cleaning yourself, over everything really. So unless the classes change their teaching point to sleep when the baby sleeps, fold laundry when the baby folds laundry, poo when the baby poos etc etc, I would rethink this advice.
I would love for some other advice ideas in the comments. Happy to do guest post/guest sentences for linkys.
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