One sentiment I find with many of my first time parents – and I can relate! – is the idea that the hospital staff actually lets you leave the building with a newborn baby. What a weird feeling, right? Like…what do I do here?! Thankfully, there’s an answer to that! Liz Brady, a friend and client, is an educator at one of the best baby classes in Philadelphia. She let me pick her brain about how to prepare for your newborn, her must haves for baby, and what she found most surprising about being a parent.
Liz, you have so much experience with babies, especially newborns. Tell me a bit about your path to getting to where you are now and teaching baby classes in Philadelphia:
It’s been quite a journey! I saw my first delivery when I was 17, as part of a high school program and I’ve been hooked ever since! I graduated from Villanova University in 2013 with my bachelors in nursing. I started my nursing career in labor and delivery in Pittsburgh at Magee-Women’s Hospital. It is a true baby factory, 12 thousand babies were delivered at Magee during my first year there-I learned A LOT.
After about 2 years I came home to Philadelphia and have been working at Paoli Hospital ever since! Paoli functions a little differently than many other hospitals. At Paoli we’re all cross trained which means I do labor & delivery and postpartum care. I love it! I think this model of care makes my practice much more holistic.
Over the years, education has become a real passion of mine-especially with first time parents. I became a certified childbirth educator in 2018. I taught for Main Line Health for several years but have really found my teaching home with Main Line Family Education. Nicole (the founder of MLFED and a fellow L&D nurse) has really built something incredibly special here, there is truly a class for a parent in any season of parenthood.
You teach baby classes in Philadelphia that I wish I’d known about before I had my children (Newborn Basics) I think many parents feel lost when they leave the hospital with their first baby – like, “Are they really going to let me leave with this baby!?” Tell us about the course, what parents can expect from it, and why you think it’s important for parents to attend.
This class is so fun! It’s super hands on and we cover everything from diaper changing to how to prepare your pet when bringing your baby home. There is so much inevitable anxiety that comes with becoming a parent. My hope, in all my classes but especially this one, is to reduce some of that anxiety and give new parents some confidence.
This class really helps new parents learn to navigate those first 8-12 weeks of life with a new baby. We practice burping, swaddling, diapering, and cover feeding, basic care, safety and so much more. I love an interactive class and encourage any and all questions.
I think Newborn Basics really empowers new parents and even helps couples start to communicate more like parents and not just partners. I’ve also loved having grandparents in my classes-it’s a great way to brush up on those baby skills and ask questions. I really try to share all of my tips and tricks as a labor and delivery nurse and also as a mom!
What is the biggest thing first time parents can do to prepare before their baby arrives?
Let go of some control. I know this is a tricky concept to swallow but hear me out. The only guarantee I can make is that at some point things will not go as planned, and that’s OK! Maybe that’s your birth plan, maybe that’s breastfeeding, maybe that’s sleep training. These little people don’t come with an instruction manual-and the truth is no new parent really has any idea what they’re doing (myself included). Try to take a deep breath and have faith that you really will figure it out along the way.
The most helpful advice I can give is-build up your village. Having resources, even if it’s just a mom friend who has been there is truly invaluable. When you take a class with us at Main Line Family Education, we’re automatically part of your village. Available and in your corner even after you leave the classroom.
For such small people, babies sure seem to accumulate LOTS of stuff. From rockers to play mats to soothers, there is such an overwhelming amount of gadgets to choose from. What three items do you think are the most helpful for parents to have on hand when baby comes home?
There is so much stuff! And so many options. I would say for me… A wipeable changing pad, a pack and play with an infant insert, and velcro swaddles! It’s not an item but- my friends and family set up a meal train for us when Lulu was born and it was truly AMAZING. Just so helpful and thoughtful.
How has your experience with babies helped you as a parent? What was most surprising about babies once you brought home Lulu?
I have had so many patients tell me “oh it must have been so easy-you already knew everything!” to which I respond “only the first 3-4 days then I had no idea just like everyone else”. No, in reality I didn’t have the fear or intimidation that a lot of new parents have when it comes to handling and basic care of a newborn -which was so helpful. It sounds so silly but, the number of diapers you change was shocking to me. And the blowouts!
I think what I was most surprised about personally was more the emotional transition to motherhood. I think it’s so easy to lose yourself a little bit, especially in those early days. Self care is SO important when you become a parent and somehow so easy to overlook.
In those early days I struggled to balance prioritizing my own needs. I learned that to be the best mother to Lulu I had to take care of myself too-something I really try to emphasize to my patients, in my classes, and to all of my friends. MLFED actually offers some AMAZING resources for new moms, including a new mom meet up that I even took advantage of after I had Lulu. It’s so true what they say-it takes a village!
I hope you learned a bit about baby classes in Philadelphia with this interview with Liz from Main Line Family Education! If this course existed when I brought Everett home from the hospital over 9 years ago, I would’ve definitely been there (and maybe learned not to turn on ALL the lights in the room when changing a diaper at 2am). Along with a newborn session, I think a gift certificate for baby classes in Philadelphia (particularly this one!) would be such a great registry gift, too…Lord knows I would’ve used that info!
Veronika Paluch is an award-winning and highly sought after maternity, newborn, baby, and family photographer offering luxury, organic fine art portraits and an impeccable client experience. She specializes in documenting authentic connections and simple moments of children & families and the quiet beauty of motherhood. Stripping away all of the extras – the costumes, the props, the rigid posing – leaves room for her to capture classic, timeless images that showcase love & family connection.
Veronika serves clients in her beautiful natural light studio, as well as on location throughout the Greater Philadelphia area including the Main Line, South Jersey, and Northern Delaware.
Awarded “Best Main Line Maternity Photographer” & “Best Main Line Newborn Photographer” by Main Line Parent