Last Saturday I attended, all be it online, my first Antenatal class. The Baby Academy Ireland were hosting it and it was a 2 hour course all on the topic of Baby Care.
When my wife told me she had signed us up for this free workshop. I immediately thought, antenatal class, I better get ready to do some breathing exercises. Mind you, some breathing exercises might have come in handy for what was in store in one particular segment that I'll get to later.
However, I was delighted to find out this workshop was all on Baby Care. It was almost like the bread and butter crash course on baby care. And absolutely what first time parents like ourselves needed.
It was just the straight forward simple things you need to know in the days after your baby arrives. It covered things like bathing your baby, how to hold your baby, changing nappies, dressing them, sleeping, controlling their temperature and much more. (They also send the slides at the end to look back over)
Now, if you're like myself and looking to learn as much as you can prior to the baby arriving to build up your confidence. This workshop will be music to your ears. It's run by fully qualified and trained Midwives and the woman Sue that hosted the workshop was fantastic and made everything so simple and easy to follow.
Hand on heart at the end of the 2 hours, you'll have definitely said "I never knew that", "I'd have so done/used that, had she not said that" and "that seriously cannot come out of something that small".
Now, before anyone starts thinking "This fella must be being paid to write this about them...blah, blah, blah", I want to reiterate that I certainly am not. I'm sure there are other fantastic providers of baby care workshops and antenatal classes out there and all doing an incredible job putting soon-to-be parents minds at ease. This just so happened to be the one I did, because my wife signed us up. I'm just sharing it, and my experience, so that ye lads know where to go for the information.
Where were we, ah yes. I mentioned a few things that were covered in the workshop. I'll share a few of my thoughts on the work shop while I watched it.
First up was bathing your baby. Now I was surprised to find out for the first 6 months, you're only meant to bath them no more than once a week. This may come as shock to you, as I thought surely these miniature pooping machines will definitely need more than one wash a week. Imagine the pong of you, if you only showered once a week for the next 6 months.
The reason for this is due to natural oils on the skin, which help moisturize and protect baby's skin, and not washing those away. The workshop did say you would naturally have to clean their face, ears, neck and hands with milk spillages etc. which they show you how to do.
There may be other guys reading this and agree with me on this. But on a Sunday evening, there is nothing better than sitting down for NFL Redzone with a beer or two or three. Back and forth from different games with non stop American Football action for hours all brought to you by Scott Hanson. If you're sports mad and haven't watched it yet, get on it.
Now as I watched Sue the midwife demonstrate how to hold the baby as she bathed the doll. I couldn't help think that's how running backs in the NFL hold the ball. The ball, I mean baby, is going no where. The ball, sorry baby's, head & neck is secure, the body supported with the forearm and she has it tucked in nicely to the body for extra ball (baby) security. She could bounce of tackles as she made her way to the bathtub and that baby would be fine.
All joking aside, she was brilliant and detailed about things like; how many towels you'll need, the temperature of the water, how many cotton pads you'll need, how many nappies you'll need, the positions to use to wash baby's front/back/sides and how the wrap them up quickly to maintain warmth afterwards. You'll spend more time getting ready for the bath then the time you'll spend washing the baby lads.
But it was these details I was looking for and it was music to my OCD Planner of a wife. I could actually see her brain calculate how many cotton pads we will need to buy before the baby arrives to cover 6 months of baths.
Next up, and this comes with a warning gents, is nappy changing. If you're like me and a first time Dad. Be prepared as once it's seen it cannot be unseen. The Baby Care workshop tells you how many wet nappies you should have in the first 7 days and afterwards. They also tell you how many dirty nappies you should expect in the first 7 days. Then, with the help of some visual aids, show you what a dirty nappy should look like on day 1 right through to day 7.
All I can say lads is Day 1 is grim. Perfectly natural and healthy... but fucking grim. So, so, grim.
You've been warned. I've seen the pictures and I still feel I'll need to mentally prepare myself for that day. Or have the midwife & my wife hold my hand for support.
Once you come to terms with what you've just witnessed, the course runs through how to change a nappy which seems simple in theory but when you've never done it before, like me, it's great to see the practical side of how to move and position the baby safely as you change them so as to not put pressure on their neck & spine. How tight the nappy should be and how to fold the nappy under the chord until it eventually falls off. Also, which I didn't know before hand. Is that on all new born nappies, there is a a line on the front that will tell if it's a wet nappy or not. Very handy.
They also run through nappy sizes as a newborn will only need a size 1 for the first 2 weeks and size 2 then afterwards.
Again, something that brought me piece of mind is that they go through how a baby sleeps in the cot next to the bed. Feet to foot of the cot, on their back, on a flat surface, getting rid of fluffy bedding & toys and the type of blankets needed and clothes then. This is all about controlling the baby's temperature as you'll find out.
Last thing I'll touch on is that they also share all the information on the combined care program, when your baby should get their checks ups ( 2 weeks and 6 weeks), how to apply for the under-8 GP card and also all the info you'll need on vaccinations bookings. I thought this was a great idea for Dad's to get really involved in the early baby appointments. Either by booking them in or bringing the baby for their vaccinations.
I've booked in for the full online day course in December now. I'm looking forward to it and to learning more about how I can help or get involved during pregnancy, at birth and afterwards. One last thing lads, the Baby Academy Ireland have a great Instagram page with loads of tutorials in their saved stories and feed. Worth checking them if ya have a couple of minutes.