I actually know a bit about caring for kids, although not much about the first year. When I lived in Los Angeles I babysat my oldest niece one day a week. Sometimes for a morning, sometimes longer depending on my work schedule. It was great to get some time with her and I also learned a lot about taking care of a child. I started when she was about 1 and did it until she was about 3, so I got a good amount of experience.
Being able to walk away (or in my case, spoil them and then walk away) is different than being a parent, obviously. But I feel like I understand the basics when it comes to feeding, changing, bathing, dressing, and so forth.
The gap in my knowledge has been that first year, which is where today's Baby Care class came in handy. The six-hour session gave us a good rundown of what to expect with such a young child and how to get through the early rough phase when the kid is just a sleeping-feeding machine. These are the kinds of learning times that quiet my nerves a bit, because I can connect the things I already knew with the particulars of doing it for a young infant.
For example, I practiced swaddling the baby in a blanket. By the time I was babysitting it was OK to have a blanket, but in the early going they sleep more like a burrito. I also learned about feeding and sleeping patterns and when to start emphasizing them.
And I learned about the cool stuff. I get to cut the baby's umbilical cord after it is born and get to hang around the the table taking pictures while they work on cleaning the baby and mom up. It means I get some special time with it immediately while they assess the baby and make sure everything is good. I just can't wait to meet our child and hold it. Only 9 weeks or so to go!
Are we ready? Doubt it. Information is helpful, but we need to figure out how to work that into reality, that funny thing where stuff goes not according to plan. But I feel more ready. That's enough for now.
If you're about to be a first-time parent, check out classes offered by your hospital of choice. We've gotten to tour the maternity ward, learn about child care, and connect with other parents.
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