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What do you think about Kirstie Allsopp's view on NCT Classes?

(71 Posts)
LaurenCaddy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:11:04

So Kirstie Allsopp (Kirstie's Vintage Home ect) has slated NCT classes.

The NCT - despite being a rite of passage for middle-class parents to be - does not prepare women sufficiently for the possibility of birth complications, she has claimed after she had to have 2 cesareans not by choice. She said she was made to feel like a failure for them not being natural.

She described its classes as "politicised”, “dogmatic” and “scary”.

I have booked some NCT, and my first is on January 19th, and i too have been warned about the stereotyping to younger mums/couples.

Me and my partner are 21, and if someone was too look down upon me, and talk to me like a child, my mouth may get the better of me.

Your thoughts/opinions?

Full statement:

MrsHerculePoirot Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:23

Sophie it sounds like you had an awful teacher. Interestingly our bf session was very truthful - I went into it knowing that bring can be difficult early on, that I might end up permanently attached in the early days etc... I did find it difficult to establish bf for various reasons and the bf lady was so helpful. It really does depend on the teacher and the individuals. We did it as DH was keen too to meet other dads to be - many

MrsHerculePoirot Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:42

Of them are still in touch too.

ladymia Thu 10-Jan-13 11:16:18

I decided not to do the NCT classes because of the mixed reviews I kept on reading about them and did not want to risk going to a bad class. Also it seems the only good thing I ever heard about them was "I made great friends" and I don't really have a need for that.

I assumed some things about the NCT classes from what i read/heard and what Kirstie said about it confirmed what I thought and made me happier about the decision I made not to go.

Lorrainbow Thu 10-Jan-13 14:26:22

I went to NCT classes in York and they were very useful. Not at all pushy or hippy thinking. She kept saying it's all about choice - you choose your birth plan, you have a right to choose your pain relief, etc. It was a really good class. I felt very informed.

I still meet up with all 6 women (and babies!) I met through the class. Before the class my husband and I didn't know anyone with a baby and yes I could have met other mum's through other classes, which I have - but there's something about us 6. We've been pregnant together, we've watched our children grow together and I feel more comfortable with those 6 than any other mum I've met in the meantime.

LaurenCaddy Thu 10-Jan-13 16:52:17

Out of interest, how long was people's NHS run Antenatal classes?

My NCT ones are over 3 Saturdays; first 2 are 9.30am-4.30pm and the 3rd session which is BF is 9.30am-11.30am

The NHS ones we've signed up to are on 2 completely different days, and are both 2 hours long. So in total 4 hours.

Was everyone's that short? Moreover do you think that will cover enough?

ubik Thu 10-Jan-13 16:56:00

it's just a middle class introduction agency

coffee mornings are held in these enormous houses, the host had just completed her MBA. I knew i could never invite these women to my little flat so i never went back.

EbbNFlow Thu 10-Jan-13 17:00:30

I found them horrendous and left after the first two. You learn NOTHING you cant read in a decent pregnancy guide and I hated all the mummy-bonding crap. They were also totally irrelevant to someone having a planned section (for medical reasons) and the teacher we had was out of touch with the reality of hositals and the health care system here - all the talk of birth plans and 'your midwife' as if we were all booked in at the Portland. It was bollocks.

Having said that, I have friends who have had good experiences and made lifelong friends through the NCT, and I believe they do sme valuBle campaigning on maternity issues, so fair dos...

louschmoo Thu 10-Jan-13 17:42:46

My NCT classes were fairly balanced, but we didn't cover CS in anything but the most general terms - no role play for us. As 4 of us ended up with CSs it would have been helpful. And CSs are common, they're hardly an unusual complication so there is every reason to cover them in a class.
Where I really feel my NCT clases failed were breastfeeding and lack of organisation. We didn't cover the 3rd stage of labour at all, mainly because the teacher lost track of time and went off at tangents. I thought this was a real omission.

The BF sessions (we had one formal session then spent 2 hours of our women only sessiondiscussing it as well, as the teacher wanted to 'recap') were very focussed on our 'feelings' about BF, biological nurturing and bonding etc. There was no info on how to spot a bad latch, mastitis, what to do about cracked nips etc. In my group we all wanted to BF and our partners were all supportive. None of us needed to be persuaded. And all of us bar 1 did BF, successfully, for at least 6 months. But we ALL had problems in the early weeks. I was the only one who wasn't surprised that it wsn't easy - and that's because I'd been lurking on mumsnet during my pregnancy. The NCT info we had was so far removed from the reality of BF a newborn. It is easy to see how women feel like failures when something has been painted as easy and instinctive and then they find it hard. You feel like you're the only one, so the problem must be you.
Sorry, that's a bit long! Basically I think the NCT needs to have core syllabus which must be covered, with time allowed for the teacher to add in extra stuff if required. And they should be a lot more upfront about BF and how challenging it can be.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Thu 10-Jan-13 18:46:19

LaurenCaddy the NHS classes round here are two hours long, and they do 5 sessions. 2 from the midwives talking about birth, 1 session from a physiotherapist, 1 session on breastfeeding, and 1 session from the health visitors about early days after the birth and what support is available.

So I guess if your area just focuses on the labour and birth itself, it should be enough - the first two sessions for us talked about labour signs, when to go into hospital, phases of birth for a "normal" birth, interventions, pain relief options... I think that was more or less it.

Whitetara Thu 10-Jan-13 20:31:07

oh dear. just lost my post. In sum, they are pro natural and dont' always give you the whole story of what might actually happen. The breastfeeding advice from mine was rubbish to my and another woman's detriment, and in my view a bit unsafe.

On the other hand, I met some lovely people and am still in touch with one couple after 5 years and we all used to meet up for quite some time afterwards as well.

AlexanderS Thu 10-Jan-13 20:53:20

I did NHS classes, I think I went to a 2-session once a week for 4 weeks.

To be honest, I'm not sure any classes totally prepare you. We covered everything but every time they talked about interventions and c-sections I just thought to myself, "I'm a young woman, I'm going to have a straightforward birth, none of that is relevant to me". Oh ho, pride before a fall! I had a 31-hour labour, nearly every intervention going and an emergency c-section sad At least as they were intervening I knew what they were doing and why.

After DS was born I was an NCT volunteer. Some elements in the NCT are very pro-natural birth...I'm on the fence, coz though not everybody can have a natural birth more women could than do. In my case I think I might have had a better birth if I'd stayed at home - I was labouring well at home, it was after I went into hospital that I stopped dilating. That's quite common.

Purplelooby Fri 11-Jan-13 21:00:07

The breastfeeding advice from mine was rubbish to my and another woman's detriment, and in my view a bit unsafe.

To be fair, I found this in the NHS-run session that attended too - and I agree with the poster (sorry lost your name!) who said that the truth about breastfeeding should be covered. I was told again and again when pregnant that giving a bottle would cause nipple confusion. The consequence of this was that at 4 days old DS was rushed into A&E having not eaten anything for 18 hours (he didn't properly recover from this until around 2 months old). Typing that, I sound like a total idiot, but I was desperately hormonal, sleep-deprived and anaemic... all I could do was keep shoving my nipple at his (unconcious) mouth.

LaurenCaddy Fri 11-Jan-13 21:40:14

Oooo that sounds horrible purplelooby

This is what i'm worried about. I'm hoping to breastfeed (fingers crossed), but also express with a pump, for bottles so OH can have some daddy time with baby and bond also. I'm worried if i say this i'll get the nipple confusion talk and disapproving looks.

I think i may write a list of questions i specifically want answering, and take no shit til i get the answers!

louschmoo Fri 11-Jan-13 22:30:42

Yes, sounds awful Purple. Laurencaddy - whether you do NCT or not i would highly recommend rummaging around the breast and bottle feeding forum on here, especially any posts by Tiktok, who is a breastfeeding counsellor/lactation consultant. She gives eminently sensible advice. Also the website is great for info on breastfeeding and expressing milk. I found both of these invaluable when i was BF my son, i BF him for 5 months exclusively ( with 1 bottle per day of expressed milk). I then mix fed formula/BF for a further couple of months before moving to formula (plus solids as he was weaning by then).

Sorry, end of the thread-derail!

LaurenCaddy Fri 11-Jan-13 22:33:55

Thanks louschmoo, will take a gander smile

HoldensPhonies Sun 11-Aug-13 12:42:50

Hi, just wanted to let you know that our NCt group has had a pretty bad experience and I felt the need to re-animate this thread. I am thinking of starting a twitter campaign to let new mums to be aware of what NCT does not cover. I did not become a mumsnetter until after our baby was born so did not pick up on this. Our NCT teacher could and should have given some practical tips - eg told us to have some formula in the house - that would have avoided the midnight run to the 24 hour tesco to get some. But no - they give unrealistic expectation that breastfeeding is without hitches. What she did say was "Its nice to ask your baby for permission before you change it - you'll know if they agree or not". What piffle. I feel quite angry about this, so feel like igniting a twitter campaign and seeing what happens.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 11-Aug-13 14:05:11

holdens why don't you complain to your local NCT about the teacher? Our nct classes were very balanced and covered cs and pain relief in much more detail than the local nhs classes. The bfing classes spent a lot of time on highlighting the various problems that might occur and how to get support for them. They also covered how to supplement without affecting supply etc. We were also told the safe way to make up a bottle but that specific formula has specific instructions so beyond telling us to read the carton what more advice do you want?

Most bf experts agree its a bad idea to keep formula in the house when you are trying to establish bfing.

Oblomov Sun 11-Aug-13 14:51:50

Never did NCT. But our AN classes were completely useless, for the reasons Kirsty gave. So I'm sure she has a point. As others have said, depends on the person taking the class.

LynetteScavo Sun 11-Aug-13 15:07:42

The NCT classes I attended were at worst crap, at best hilarious (I howled with laughter all the way home each week).

I have since sat in on some which were very good.

I also went to NHS classes, which may have don't more harm than good. That particular midwife was a nutter.

Both, however, covered baby care to some extent.

With DS2 I went to hypnobirthing classes, where I learned more about birth than I already knew, which impressed me, as I had already given birth. (But didn't cover anything about caring for a baby, which was fine by me)

LynetteScavo Sun 11-Aug-13 15:08:45

So for once, I guess I do agree with Kirsty.

(But I'm still not going to make bows from reclaimed ribbon to stick on my shoes)

Harriet6919 Tue 13-Aug-13 09:27:34

I strongly agree with Kirsty. Childbirth, as many here have noted, and the individual experience has very little to do with your state of mind rather the position of baby, health of baby and mother. I had a wonderful first birth and a horrific second where I nearly lost my son. I know very well the attitudes of some on breast feeding too. How dare anyone lecture a distraught mother who has not managed a natural birth or managed to breast feed, and how dare any individual or organization place a value judgement on something that is completely out of a mothers control. No surprise that this debate is still raging and if those NCT who are offended by Kirsty do sue her, I could barely believe what I was reading, I for one will be fundraising for her defense.

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