Bump & Baby Classes
Everyone talks about NCT classes and how important they are when you're first time parents so Mr H and I decided this was something we had to look into. After a bit of research I found Bump & Baby, an alternative to NCT that covers much of the same ground but in a slightly more relaxed manner and, importantly for us, included a full class dedicated to infant first aid. Given Mr H and I have had no first aid training at any point this was the clincher for us (and was proven right when Mr H pissed himself laughing whilst giving mouth to mouth to the fake baby... real comforting).
We went along to our first of five classes not really knowing what to expect. The classes were held in a local community venue and we were greeted by our fantastic teacher Charlotte, a qualified midwife with over 20 years of experience. The group was a great size with ten couples all with due dates from end of July to end of August. I'm always slightly apprehensive in these sorts of situations, there's a lot of pressure to make friends with these people as everyone tells you they're your life line when on maternity leave especially when, like us, you don't have family close by. However, Charlotte made everyone feel at ease as we went round the group introducing ourselves with a fun fact about our names (as someone who has the most run of the mill always in the top 20 baby names of the year name, this is not an easy task!).
The first class covered the physiological side of labour which, for most of the women in the group was reviewing information we'd already spent hours and hours pouring over in books and "The Bumplett" guide provided by Bump & Baby ahead of the course. I think this first session seemed to be a little more helpful for the Dad's who arguably seemed to have done slightly less reading, I think quite a few were a little disappointed it isn't all high drama like you see on TV!
Before the course started we were sent each others contact details, so following the first class one of the couples set up a Whatsapp group chat which helped break the ice a little ahead of the next class however, having 20 first time parents in one Whatsapp group is not conducive to getting any work done as there are A LOT of messages A LOT of the time to read through! It turns out 20 parents to be have a lot of the same worries and concerns and it's nice to know that you're not the only one worrying about things that probably seem menial to lots of my non-pregnant, non-parent friends.
The remainder of the classes flew over, with topics covered including:
- complications and interventions in labour
- life after birth
- infant feeding (Dad's are there for the first half of the session and then are sent off to the pub)
- infant first aid
I'd say the highlight of the course is the Afternoon Tea which takes place after all the classes are completed. One couple offer to host all the Mums and Bump and Baby arrange for Afternoon Tea to be delivered from Gails Bakery. It was such a lovely afternoon and the perfect way to round off the course (much happier than the final infant first aid class). As the Mums drank pretend G&T's and ate their body weight in scones and sausage rolls, the Dads went to the pub where they drank. A lot.
I think we were lucky that we had such a great group of people who are all pretty out-going and sociable, I've heard of NCT groups who haven't kept in touch at all during the course let alone post course which definitely isn't the case with the group we've met.
As an added bonus, Bump & Baby also offer a great deal whereby if you sign up for their antenatal course you benefit from a £50 reduction in the cost of their Hypnobirthing Course and, given these cost more than the earth at most places, it's another reason to consider Bump & Baby if you know you also want to go down the hypnobirthing route (just make sure you book the Hypnobirthing class well in advance, we didn't and are completing it quite late on in pregnancy!)
I'd highly recommend Bump & Baby, the classes weren't at all preachy, they felt like great value (+£100 cheaper than NCT as well!) and we've met a great group of people from our local area who I think will be a vital life line for me once Mr H has gone back to work.