A PIONEERING style of ante-natal class promises to help expectant parents “survive the crucial first six months” of parenthood.

Pregnant women usually attend classes, often with a birth partner, to help them understand more about labour, birth and breastfeeding, but rarely learn what to do when they get that bundle of joy home.

Classes run by Babies (Birth and Baby Information, Education and Support) take parents a little further along the journey, beyond the breathing and birthing balls.

Babies teacher Amanda Middlewick, 40, said: “Our classes offer parent to parent education on how to get through the early days.”

The mum of three young boys added: “The course is really hands on and down to earth, we cover everything from breastfeeding, bottle feeding, sterilising and expressing to changing and bathing.

Babies, formerly Parentskool, run classes in Hove, Worthing and Shoreham as well as other parts of Sussex and hopes to give a realistic look at what becoming a parent really means.

“Having a baby is a huge adjustment in anyone’s life,” said Amanda. “We do our best to really help parents get prepared, warts and all.

“It can be quite gritty at times and we don’t shy away from the difficult topics such as baby blues, postnatal depression and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“We talk a lot about safe sleeping to make sure all our expectant parents understand the importance of placing baby to sleep on their back rather than their tummy or side.

“This is in support of the Lullaby Trust’s fantastic work in helping to reduce SIDS.”

Amanda and course owner Kerry Fox have worked with a huge range of different parents-to-be in the time Babies has been running.

“Our course attracts people from all walks of life, including midwives and doctors who know all the birth bits, but are keen to learn about the other stuff and meet others,” explained Amanda.

Expectant parents use life-size baby dolls to practice nappy changing, washing, swaddling and burping.

The course covers what you’ll need to buy before baby arrives and how to prepare your home and even your relationships in readiness for the new addition.

Amanda has seven-year-old twins, Jack and Joe, and a third son, Dan, who is three so shares her experiences as a mum with those attending the classes.

“I only wish something like Babies had been around when I was pregnant with my twins, it would have made such a huge difference,” she added.