Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Laugh and Learn DVD Series - Review and Giveaway!

It's only been about a year but it feels like eons since I was pregnant, sporting a big 'ole belly and wondering what in the world to expect next. I had become an expert on infertility and trying to conceive but I had no clue about how to handle actually being successful. Everyone assured me my life was about to change and I wanted to do everything I could to prepare for the main event. I spent a fortune - buying up every book I could get my hands on in the Pregnancy/Parenting section at Borders to educate myself. From the time those two pink lines popped up on the pee stick, my mind was consumed with questions. Some so embarrassing that I was too intimidated to ask my own doctor, much less my family and friends. As my tummy protruded, I was given so much unwelcome advice and told so many horror stories that my fears overwhelmed me. I looked forward to our scheduled childbirth and breastfeeding classes so I could get the real scoop and make the right decisions for our soon-to-be family.

So, when I was contacted to review the Laugh and Learn DVD series, I happily obliged. I could wax nostalgic about all the first-time wonder, excitement and anticipation. And having now been there done that, I thought I could provide a true objective opinion on the content.

The Laugh and Learn series is hosted by Sheri Bayles, RN, an award-winning Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She draws upon her extensive career as a OB/GYN nurse, her education and her own personal experience as mom to twin boys to provide us with 4 videos that chronicle everything from labor to taking baby home.

A 2-DVD set, Laugh and Learn about Childbirth is an all-inclusive childbirth class divided into (6) 45-minute segments covering labor, delivery (both Cesarean and vaginal births are discussed in detail) and postpartum. There is also a special feature on cord blood banking.

I was very impressed with this class. It certainly lived up to its name, as I found myself chuckling at many points in the video. Sheri was very personable and created a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. I felt as though I was sitting in her class, observing her as she spoke with other expectant couples. She included the fathers just as much as the mothers in the discussion, which was refreshing. There were no "crotch shots" or up-close-and-personal videos of live birth. Just conversational lecture, some visual aids and Q&A. It is apparent that Sheri is a natural childbirth advocate but was respectful and realistic in the fact that natural is not always possible. She also advised mothers to trust their body and motherly instincts and that it is okay to question medical staff, which I found interesting (in a good way) considering her profession.

I was particularly happy that Sheri did not gloss over the postpartum recovery for vaginal deliveries. The class I attended did not focus much on this and I found myself unprepared to handle the pain and complications that arose after my second degree tear. I was relieved to hear an honest explanation of what to expect physically after the baby arrives.

I wasn't expecting to learn anything new - having recently experienced this all firsthand - but surprisingly, there was information tailored to subsequent pregnancies and births. Not only would this DVD be useful to first-timers but it would also serve as a great refresher course for second or even third timers.

The only minor thing I wish I could change would be to cover more breathing techniques. I found those to be particular helpful during my personal labor experience, but I understand that the majority of couples focus on the most popular approach featured in the video.

The next DVD, Laugh and Learn about Breastfeeding, is a 45-minute class covering topics such as nursing positions, burping techniques, pumping, breastmilk storage guidelines, diet, apparel and challenges. Breastfeeding multiples is also discussed. Demonstrations of breastfeeding positions were given with baby dolls but live examples were also provided, which I found particularly helpful.

I found this DVD to be comprehensive and Sheri was just as witty as in the Childbirth class. I do think more attention could have been paid to the subject of pumping, perhaps with demonstrations of how to work both electric and manual pumps. The task of pumping can be daunting so a presentation would have been helpful for me.

The final DVD in the series, Laugh and Learn about Newborn Baby Care, is a 45-minute class covering bathing, dressing, diapering and swaddling. I personally found this session to be common sense. There wasn't much here that I didn't already know or couldn't figure out on my own. I believe this DVD would be best for those who have little to no experience with newborns. I would have liked to see some discussion regarding sleep issues and colic, but Happiest Baby on the Block remains my favored resource in that area. Formula feeding guidelines for those not breastfeeding would also be a good addition.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with the Laugh and Learn set and would highly recommend for any expectant mom or dad. I wish I had known about the series last year. Not only could I have saved myself over $50 - I spent $130 on our local hospital classes and the retail value of these DVDs are $79.95 - but I could have watched them at my convenience from the comfort of my own home. How perfect would this be for bedrest mamas? Or for the couples with hectic, incompatible schedules?

It's not hard to see why Laugh and Learn are the #1 DVD classes for pregnant couples in America, with their entertaining, easy-to-comprehend style.

BUY IT: Purchase the Laugh and Learn DVDs for $79.95 or watch the series online for $69.95. For a limited time, you can watch the Anatomy and Preliminary Signs of Labor segment online for free!

WIN IT: Laugh and Learn is offering one lucky reader the entire 4-DVD set! Interested? Read on!


1.) Visit Laugh and Learn and leave me a comment telling me which DVD you are most interested in and why. Feel free to share if this is for you or a loved one. This entry is mandatory and no other entries will be counted unless this one is fulfilled. If your email address is not visible on your profile, please leave it in your comment(s) so I can contact you if you win!

Bonus entries (max 1 entry for each):

2.) Follow my blog (see sidebar) and leave a comment telling me so. If you're already following me, this counts! Just leave a comment telling me you're a follower.

3.) Follow me on Twitter (see sidebar) and tweet this giveaway. Leave a comment with your Twitter name and/or tweet link.

4.) Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the post link.

5.) Expectant moms: what is your biggest fear about childbirth or breastfeeding? BTDT moms: was your labor and delivery experience better or worse than you thought it would be?

Giveaway will run from July 1 through July 15, 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. addresses only. One winner will be chosen at random using Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited. In case of forfeit, a second winner will be chosen.


Anonymous said...

I went to the website (I actually was there just last week on my own!). I'm a certified childbirth educator and I'm interested in the DVDs for that reason.


Kim said...

I so want the Newborn Care- to give to my sis

Kim said...

follow and tweeted

Courtney said...

i would like the newborn DVD because i am pregnant!

fun said...

The laugh and learn feeding DVD is one that I would just love to give to my sister-in-law. We just found out she is pregnant!! Yay!! I thought breast feeding was going to be a walk in the park. How hard could it be, right? Yeah right! Getting started was anything but a piece of cake between the baby's clamp reflex that made it feel like a crab was suckling to a condition that made my nipples turn white and blue to the pinched nerve from a too small nipple guard that made pain shoot down my arm into my finger tips. Who wants to hear all of that!! It was so worth sticking out the initial really really hard months and the bonding is something truly cherished. What I want for my sister-in-law is that aspect-- the beautiful, happy, and wonderful experience that breast feeding is supposed to be. I think this particular DVD would be so so perfect. Thanks for hosting this cool product review!

Keyomi said...

I like the Newborn essential one!

AmandaSue said...

I'd be most interested in the Childbirth DVD since I'm hoping to have a all natural birth and feel its important to learn all that I can learn and feel it would be important to know about C-sections too even though I'm hoping it won't come down to that. Thanks for the chance.

shopannies said...

the breast feeding video because daughter wishes to breast feed her next baby

wigget said...

i like the About Childbirth DVDs

Misusedinnocence said...

About Breastfeeding. I have a friend who is really worried about breastfeeding and I think this would help her.

~Sandy~ said...

I think the about breast feeding looks interesting....I think Mommy's need to get all the information possible. I would love to win this for my friend/neighbor who is preggo with her first baby! thanks so much...what a great DVD Collection

~Sandy~ said...

i follow your blog!

~Sandy~ said...

my first birth experience was wonderful and basically text book (the pregnancy was a different story though!) but with my second birth it was very traumatic and helped to finalize my decision of only have 2 kiddies :O)

~Sandy~ said...

follow you on twitter @Shopaholic_Mama and tweeted too!

tina said...

breastfeeding would be my pick because i plan on trying it this time thanks for the chance to win

tina said...

i follow your blog thanks