Loving Arms Childbirth Services
I'd recommend both Loving Arms/East Bay Lactation Services (https://www.eastbaylactationassociates.com/) and Happy Milk (https://happymilk.us/). Ellen at Happy Milk is based in Berkeley, and will come to your house or do virtual consults.
My personal experience: I was very stressed about using a nipple shield with both my kids, especially because there seemed to be so much pressure to stop using it in case it was impacting how much the baby was getting, my production, etc. Weighing the babies showed that the shield was not impacting how much they were able to drink in a feeding session. We tried every other day or so to nurse without the shield, but they just didn't get it. Then, around 8-12 weeks both kids seemed to become more coordinated/stronger in their nursing, and very suddenly were able to latch without the shield. Doesn't happen for everyone, but wishing you luck and patience!
Welcome to Berkeley! My husband and I took an 8-week class at Loving Arms with Molly as our instructor. The class was great - we learned a lot and felt prepared going into our birth. It was a good way to meet other young couples who will have similarly-aged babies. I've heard almost universally wonderful things about Molly though not as amazing things about other instructors at Loving Arms. Loving Arms does have a natural birth bent, which may or may not be what you're looking for. We didn't cover much newborn care-related information in the class, but for what it's worth, I found that you learn that stuff pretty quickly by doing. On the soothing front, I highly recommend googling the "5 S's" - they were a lifesaver in the early days when we needed to help our baby calm down!
Congratulations! My husband and I took the Loving Arms childbirth class last fall, and we were really happy with it. Our teacher was Molly Brannigan, who is also a lactation consultant, and she was really great! Our class was about half Kaiser/half Alta Bates deliveries, and half midwives/half OBs doing the deliveries, and the class covered a lot of different viewpoints and scenarios, which I really liked. We got a lot of information in the classes, but it didn't seem like too much either. Our class was eight couples, I think, which was a good size. We live by Lake Merritt, so the class wasn't super close, but the drive wasn't too bad for us.
I haven't experienced any classes at Then Comes Baby, but we're actually going to start a baby sign language class there this weekend! My husband stopped by there earlier this week to check it out, and he though it looked good as well.
I am taking the Loving Arms class right now and I would highly recommend it! Not only does it cover more content and go more in-depth than other classes, it's a great venue for meeting other soon-to-be-parents and connecting with your partner on a deeper level.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I also wanted to do Bradley but it didn't fit in my schedule. My midwife recommended Loving Arms instead of Birthways, and people I know who've done both have preferred Loving Arms. I'm currently taking a Loving Arms class and it's fantastic. It incorporates the Bradley Method and other methods and is very comprehensive in only 8 weeks: http://www.lovingarmschildbirthservices.com/ Expecting & Informed
Loving Arms (http://lovingarmschildbirthservices.com/Janaki/Classes.html) in Albany teaches a great refresher course, and if classes are full you may be able to get on a waiting list or arrange for a private session. Heather
Try looking at Loving Arms childbirth prep classes . The class is 8 weeks long and includes breastfeeding and newborn care/postpartum. Me and my husband took this series in Spring/Summer 2006 and they were very thorough, interesting and useful. They provide a mix of ideas that they have put together after YEARS in the birth business which gives these classes lots of credibility (in my opinion). These classes definitely lean towards natural childbirth, so if you are interested in learning how to get an epidural as quickly as possible, or scheduling a c-section this series is probably not for you.
Everyone I know who has taken these classes would provide rave reviews.
Contact Janaki Costello for enrollment at (510) 525-1155
By the way, in case you didn't know, she is THE lactation consultant around these parts and teaches a fabulous session on breastfeeding. susie
Last year I birthed my daughter and she birthed me as a mother...and thanks to the birthing class offered by Loving Arms Doulas (I think that is the name) I had a fabulous NATURAL birth experience with at home labor and in hospital birth. Call Janaki Costello she is listed) for class info. Natural Birth Mama