SureBaby Blog

Parenting Classes: Worth the Money?

Posted by Alissa Robson

Preparing for baby isn’t cheap, so I’m always looking for opportunities to cut back where I can. I went back and forth on whether to sign up for a parenting class or not – and here’s what I decided.

Actually, before I get to that, here were the options I weighed:

On the most economical end (aka, free) was no parenting class at all. I got many opinions saying these classes are just a waste of time, you can find all the info in books, you can’t really ever be prepared anyway, etc. Some of the arguments were pretty convincing and had me rethinking getting out my cheque book.

The next option was a middle of the road online course – half the price of a regular parenting class, do it on your own time at your own pace, etc. It seemed like if we did decide to take a course, this one would work well for our busy lifestyle.

Finally, there was the in-person, bootcamp, marathon-style session, which was the priciest option of all three and would involve dedicating 6 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday to sitting in a room with a bunch of other couples talking everything from labour to diapering. Oh, and there would be a video of, you guessed it…a birth.

Hmm. What to do.

My husband, who is a dad already, made the valid point that he’s been through it before and we’ll be a great resource if I have questions and need help on things. But the more we talked about it, the more we thought about how a lot has changed in nine years, and how, while he may have been through the birth process before, this would be the first labour experience he went through with me.

What it really came down to is that I still had anxieties and questions, and that I needed him to be with me while I got the answers.

Don’t get me wrong, books are fine, and even an online course would probably do, but what I really found I was craving was someone to talk to face-to-face about the upcoming weeks to delivery, the delivery itself and how to care for a newborn. I needed to ask all my stupid questions and then be reassured that they aren’t stupid, they’re actually quite normal.

So, as a couple, my husband and I signed up for a labour and parenting course offered by Tummies to Toes, recommended by our midwife.

Let me tell you, it was worth every penny and every minute of the two days we spent there.

Yes, there was a lot of overlap between what our instructor said and what I’d read in the books or heard from my midwife, but there was so much opportunity to expand on topics and really get down to the bottom of what things actually mean. For example, while I understand that an epideural freezes you from the waist down, it never occurred to me that that would mean I’d need help sitting up or adjusting my position – obvious now, but I just never thought that way.

We also got the opportunity to try things – like diapering, swaddling for the baby (okay, the Cabbage Patch doll, but still, it’s something!) and even various positions that might help us with pain management during labour. It’s one thing to know that your spouse can hold you in a reverse squat, but who would actually try it unless the opportunity arose? Not us, that’s for sure.

And that brings me to the best part – so much of the class was dedicated not only to the mom, but also to how the husband or partner can support the mom through the whole delivery process – and these weren’t just the standard ways you can read in a book. We actually talked, brainstormed and experimented at length as a group and with our partners about what will work for us specifically.

At the end of the class, I felt a little overwhelmed to be sure – it was a lot of info to take in and it’s true, there is no way to really be sure of anything till that baby is actually here and you’re putting things into practice. But I also felt so much closer to my husband, like we were on the same page and could face anything together. I learned so much from how he interacted with the class, as well as from how I did. And I give full credit to our wonderful instructor and her great program for bringing that out.

So while I can’t say what will work best for everyone, I will say that, for me, parenting classes are something I’m glad I didn’t scrimp on. A secondhand playpen and Baby Bjorn, on the other hand? No problem.

Parents and parents-to-be out there, did you opt for classes or just go your own way? I’d love to hear your experiences in the SureBaby comments!

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