Although humans have been birthing and raising children since the beginning of time, it doesn’t hurt to take a refresher course every now and then – at least that’s the concept behind many of the classes being offered throughout the county for new parents.
Classes in birth preparation, infant and child CPR, and breastfeeding are offered everywhere, from hospital settings like Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) to private offices with certified instructors.
The wide array of classes obviously meets a need in the county. HUMC’s monthly infant and child CPR classes fill up almost as soon as they open.
‘The value of coming together with other moms and an educator is to put things in context.’ – Erica Lyon
The response was so strong that the organization recently set up shop on this side of the river with hopes of reaching Hudson County’s moms and dads on their own turf.
But what kind of parenting skills can be taught in a couple of classes?
Putting it in perspective
Erica Lyon, author of “The Big Book of Birth” and an educational consultant for Tribeca Parenting, recently gave a free talk about first year milestones at their center in Jersey City to a handful of new and expectant parents.
While she admitted that some things can be figured out on your own or learned in a book, there is still a reason to attend classes.
“The value of coming together with other moms and an educator is to put things in context,” she said.
Context is something parents could find especially important during the “brutal transition” of the first year with a new baby – euphorically beautiful, she said, but a brutal time full of constant feedings and diaper changes.
For instance, for parents lost in the maze of seemingly obligatory educational devices, she said, they may forget that the most important thing is interaction.
“People are how children learn,” said Lyon.
Finding your own experience
“Find an experience that you trust,” Lyon urged the new and expectant parents as she ended her discussion.
That idea of finding a way to relax and follow innate parental instinct is one that runs throughout Tribeca Parenting’s educational programs.
“What we do is a little bit more complex and broad based than what a lot of other [centers] do,” said Tribeca Parenting Director Emily Cohen. “And we have no ‘agenda.’”
That lack of “agenda” means that while they offer classes on natural childbirth, they also have a class for women planning to get an epidural and another for Caesarean preparation and recovery.
It’s about honoring every woman’s experience, said Cohen.
“Even if a mom is hoping for one thing, things can go a different way,” she said.
Birth, babies, and breastfeeding… oh my
For those who do want to plan a specific kind of birth experience, Bradley Method (or husband-coached childbirth), Lamaze, and Hypnobirthing classes are available for Hudson County residents – mostly in Hoboken.
Once baby arrives, HUMC offers a new moms group which attracts residents from surrounding communities like Weehawken and Jersey City as well.
And for breastfeeding mothers, La Leche League of Hoboken and Jersey City is a resource for moms throughout Hudson County.
Rolling out classes
Though it’s a sister organization to Tribeca Pediatrics, Tribeca Parenting operates on its own and is open to parents whose children are patients at other pediatric offices as well.
According to Director Emily Cohen, the organization is in the process of reaching out to Hudson County’s obstetricians and pediatricians to offer their services.
With an aim at attracting pregnant couples and families after birth, available classes and clinics include topics like childbirth, infant care, toddler transitioning, and breastfeeding.
They also offer the popular infant CPR and safety classes.
Costs range from $65 for baby care and breastfeeding one-day classes to $350 for childbirth preparation, which takes place during a 12 to 15 hour course.
For more information on Tribeca Parenting, visit www.tribecaparenting.com.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.