Getting some practice before baby comes

Today, Yuko and I joined two classes meant to help future parents prepare for the arrival of their baby.

In the morning, we went to an event called “dietary education seminar for future moms and dads” (プレママ・パパの食育講習会), organized by the city of Mitaka.

We got to learn a little bit about what to expect and prepare for within the first year after the baby is born, related to nutrition. From preparing baby food to being together around the dinner table, and understanding the hurdles parents may encounter when feeding a baby, making sure everyone in the family plays their part in building healthy nutrition habits and culture.

This was interesting, but as someone who loves eating, likes to cook and had been doing so for years, and with Yuko also cooking very often and getting good at it, the course felt a little light.

We took home a few learnings, ideas anyway (and a locally produced carrot!), so I think it was worth it.

  • Finding room in a Japanese apartment is hard, but I’d like to get a bigger freezer, which would allow us to cook in bigger quantities and do some serious meal prep.
  • We should look into grocery delivery services/cooperatives like Coop or Pal System.

In the afternoon, we had another class, this time at the hospital where Yuko will give birth, Japanese Red Cross Musashino Hospital (武蔵野赤十字病院).

This parents class (両親学級) mainly focused on how to give the newborn a bath. I’m not aware of the details in other countries, and I can’t even remember how it was for me in France 40 years ago, but apparently, giving a bath to a newborn is usually a task conduced by the father! As a consequence, this class had us future dads do the work with an appropriately weighted doll.

This was very instructive, and I’m glad I got a practice round. To be frank, it also made me a little anxious about when I’ll have to do the real thing. A small baby seems so fragile, and there’s so much room for mistakes to be made!

Bath course

I think I did an okay job though. One thing I learned is that I’ll want to get something at the proper height, since sinks and counters in Japan are rather low and I’m on the taller side, or my back could suffer from it…

We also were given the opportunity to wear a pregnancy experience suit, allowing us dads-to-be to get a peek at what moms-to-be experience every hour of the day (and night!) during the last months of their pregnancy. I wore this 8-kg suit for about half an hour, tried to do simple things such as picking up an object on the ground, sitting down, lying down, walking, tying my shoes… This was hard, and I can imagine this to be excruciating for Yuko. And I didn’t even get to experience of having a living, moving, kicking thing inside you, and all the other pains that brings.

Pregnancy suit Sleeping with a pregnancy suit

We ended the course with a 30-year old educational video about how babies can hear their dad’s voice from inside the womb, and how that has an impact on their future relationship. I’m gonna have to talk to Yuko’s belly a little more!