Tips for Choosing the Right Prenatal Class – Part 1 of 2

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Nannies, Parenting, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 03-09-2013

PPL_logoThanks to Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE and Director of Childbirth Education at Port Perry Lamaze for inspiring and contributing to this blog post on the important topic of choosing the best prenatal class for you!

Expectant parents sometimes wonder if they should take childbirth classes at all. With a range of childbirth education options available, choosing the right class can be confusing, especially for those expecting twins or triplets!

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a childbirth preparation class.

1. Credentials

certificateFirst, inquire about the credentials of your potential instructor. Some have formal medical training or educational certification, while others have none. Are they health professionals (registered nurse, physiotherapist, medical doctor, chiropractor, or midwife), or do they have considerable experience with expectant parents and newborns?

Have they completed a recognized, formal course on childbirth education or education in general: Lamaze International certification (LCCE), International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association – Childbirth Educator (CBE), Childbirth International (Dip CBEd), or Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) or a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) with an emphasis on early learning and/or adult education?

The Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) credential is the most widely-recognized and respected qualification in this field. It is the only childbirth education credential accredited by the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a government body ensuring quality in certification programs.

Certification doesn’t necessarily ensure an ideal learning experience, but it can certainly inspire expectant parents’ confidence that they are getting the most current and correct information.

2. Experience

Consider the instructor’s years of childbirth education experience: If they have been doing this a long time, they may offer a wealth of experience, but they may also be “burnt out”. Conversely, a newer instructor may be enthusiastic, but a little too “textbook”, lacking extensive real-life experience with twins, triplets and their parents.

Also, consider the amount of experience in other class content areas such as breastfeeding and early parenting support, especially with multiple births families. The last thing you need as an expectant parent is a child birth educator who has little or no experience with twins, triplets and quads.

3. Testimonials/Recommendations

handshakeDoes the potential instructor publish testimonials and endorsements for their classes? Read the feedback carefully to get a better picture of what past participants have thought of the classes.

Also, consider who is recommending the class. Have you found it on your own, were you recommended by a friend who heard about it or who took the course, or were you recommended by your obstetrician, family doctor, or midwife?

Many providers will collect endorsements from past students, and will publish at least a few of these on their website. If not, ask to see some, or speak to someone else to see what they thought of the class or instructor.

4. Location & Class Size


all-four-300x199Ask where (specifically) the classes will be taught.

Educators teach in a variety of environments. Some teach in hospital classrooms or medical offices, while others teach in community centres; some even teach in their homes or yours! Increasingly, prenatal classes are offered online, even prenatal classes for twins and triplets. Be sure to check the other tips before enrolling in an online class.

Some providers keep their class sizes small to maintain the quality of instruction and to facilitate meaningful interactions with participants. In certain cases, private classes may be offered. This can be ideal if you are in a remote part of town, where there are no other couples expecting twins or triplets, and you don’t want to be the class circus side show with unique prenatal issues particular to your multiples pregnancy.

There can be a lot to think about when deciding to enroll in prenatal classes, but for families expecting twins, triplets or more, the decision is among the first steps to a healthy twins pregnancy, labour and delivery.

More tips coming in Part 2… stay tuned! 

Infant Massage with Multiples

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Posted by vera | Posted in Health, Nannies, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 12-06-2013


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Recently, I had the good fortune of sharing an evening of infant massage with two other families who had 11-week-old twins.

Infant massage is something I address in Class Four of our Twins Prenatal Course, and since it had been a while since I’d done it myself with newborns, I decided to offer a free class through our local twins club.

There is quite possibly nothing cuter than four little babies all lined up on the floor; the sheer sight of them brought a smile to everyone’s face before we even got started!

The benefits of infant massage are well-documented: From soothing fussy babies to helping relieve gas pains, to boosting muscle development and circulation, infant massage is becoming a more and more mainstream way for parents to support the overall health of babies everywhere.

One-On-One Connection with Multiples

One challenge with having twins, triplets or more is how to effectively bond with each baby. Incorporating infant massage into your daily bath-time or bedtime routine can help you connect with each of your babies individually. For the 10-15 minutes you massage your newborn each day, she’ll have your undivided attention as you look into her face and tell her how much you love her, with your voice and your hands.

For our “class”, both partners came with their twins, so there was one adult per baby. But going to a group infant massage session is a great way for single parents with twins, or two parents with triplets or higher order multiples to get an extra hand with the additional babies. Your instructor or class helpers or volunteers are often happy to take one baby while you take the rest.

Infant Massage & Language Development

There is some evidence to suggest that twins, triplets or more can exhibit language delays. Talking to each baby about what you are doing while you are doing it can help “front load” language input.

For example, while taking a little arm in your hand and rubbing oil on it, you can tell your baby, “Now I’m going to put some oil on your left arm, see? Doesn’t that feel nice? I’m going to rub it together to make it nice and warm first, then I’m going to massage your left arm, one – two – three, and now your hand, like this, and each little finger, 1 – 2 – 3-4 – 5…” and so on.

Consider how many full, rich sentences your little ones are hearing, in context, as you gently describe what you are doing, in a soft, soothing voice.

Grumpy Clientelle

It wasn’t long into our group infant massage session that most of the babies were fussing and crying, but we’re pretty sure that’s because they were hungry… Fortunately, both mothers were breastfeeding their twins, so that problem was quickly and easily solved!

Different philosophies exist about what to do when a baby complains during massage: Some people believe it’s best to stop the massage for now, and give baby a break, while others persevere, using gentle tones to soothe their babies while introducing them to this new and not-yet-familiar sensation. (The thinking goes that once they get used to it, babies will learn to anticipate and enjoy their daily massage routine; that was certainly true of my now-9-year-old twins.)

As parents, you know your babies best, and can decide if or how to proceed when one or both twins decide let you know they’re not yet enamoured with this massage business!

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In Search of Mary Poppins

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Posted by vera | Posted in Nannies, Parenting | Posted on 12-07-2010

We have our first guest blogger! This one comes from Janet MacDonald, president of Optimum Childcare and Nannies. Hope you enjoy!

Many parents become overwhelmed when recruiting and screening nannies. Often this leads them to rely on a stereotypical idea of what makes the perfect nanny. But even though Mary Poppins may seem to have a lot to offer, parents require more that a spoon full of sugar and a song to meet their expectations. Read the rest of this entry »