There are many classes you can take after your baby is born. You can learn things there to make your life with child easier. Some of the courses on offer are designed for you to do something good for your own body, such as sport classes and postnatal classes. In others, you can learn how to breastfeed your baby properly, how to carry them in a way that is easy on your back, or how best to encourage your baby's development. There aren’t just courses for mothers, but also for fathers, for couples and even for grandparents who want to be brought up to date on how to care for and feed babies. Many of the courses can be found at family centres or what are know as ‘parent schools’ in Germany. Parents can also get advice there. Such courses are also meeting places for mothers and fathers, where you can exchange ideas with other parents and learn helpful tips. Midwives and paediatricians can tell you which courses are recommended for you and your family.
There are no fixed medical guidelines for when a new mother can start exercising again after giving birth. It is possible, however, as soon as the birth injuries have healed during the postpartum period and you have attended a postpartum class. Physical activities such as yoga and Pilates are well suited. Many of these courses let you take your baby along. If you delivered via c-section, you should wait a little longer before you start exercising again. It is also important that you do not exert yourself too much during the first period after giving birth.
There are many courses where parents can learn how to properly handle, educate and support their baby. Some of these offerings are classes for expectant parents that start before the birth. They usually run until the end of the child's first birthday. Other parenting classes don't start until after delivery. They are called Parent Training, SPIN, STEP, TAFF or SAFE and have different focuses. For example, SAFE is about how to build a secure bond with the child and how to correctly identify the child's needs. Children who feel secure and understood are more resistant to stress, more persistent in learning and behave more socially in conflicts. SAFE stands for the German words that mean ‘Safe Education For Parents’. SPIN was developed to treat families with parenting difficulties. In these courses, parents learn how to find good solutions to conflicts. Parenting classes also offer the opportunity to ask questions about having a baby and being a parent that you may not have thought of during childbirth preparation courses. It is also about how to properly identify your child’s needs. Because these courses are held in fixed groups over a longer period of time, the participants get to know each other well and can always exchange experiences. Family centres and midwifery practices can tell you what services are available locally.
Developmental classes are primarily about the baby's physical development. One of these is called the Prager Parent-Child Programme, or ‘PEKiP’ for short after the German title. Parents get tips on how to encourage their child to play and move in different ways to acquire new skills. Babies also get contact with other babies at these classes and the relationship between you and your child is strengthened. You can also talk to other parents about questions concerning your child’s development and upbringing. These courses also usually take place for a longer period of time in a fixed group so that the participants get to know each other better.
There are also numerous courses on offer for fathers to help them adjust to the new situation after the birth. These include fathers' courses, fathers' advice, fathers' meetings and fathers' evenings. These classes and evenings are all about practical tips on baby care, parenting, changing diapers, recognizing needs and much more. They’re also about discussing issues such as how men divide their time and energy between job and family, how a partnership changes due to a child, how to deal with a possible separation or where to get financial support, if that is necessary. Information on this is available from family counselling centres.
Babies love massage. In baby massage courses you can learn different techniques on how to massage your baby properly. This is good for your baby in many ways. Baby massage can prevent colic and flatulence, improve circulation and stimulate metabolism. Regular massage at the same time of day can also help your child find a good daily rhythm between waking and sleeping.
There are many types of music, play and exercise classes for babies. Children are delighted, for example, when they discover rattles, drums and much more. Even the smallest children like music. They also enjoy water. Baby swimming is about your baby rediscovering the movement in the water that it already knows from your tummy. Baby swimming has a positive effect on the development of your child's mobility and senses. This also applies to crawling courses and baby gymnastics.
In many towns and cities, parents-to-be can take part in courses, seminars and meetings with like-minded people without having to make a firm booking. Participation is voluntary. You can choose a different offer each new day, but you don't have to. That is why these events are also called ‘open offers’. They are usually led by midwives or educators. The range is wide. For example, there are meetings for new parents where you can ask all your questions. There are also separate meetings for single parents to make contacts, exchange problems and experiences or simply to do something together. Many of the offers are free of charge.