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Parenting 101: There’s a Lot to Learn!

HealthReach, Winter 2013 | Page 12

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a family’s life. But with so much to learn (and so little sleep!), it can be somewhat overwhelming. Fortunately, Virginia Hospital Center offers plenty of support before and after delivery, and once you take your baby home.

During Pregnancy

Virginia Hospital Center offers a wide range of childbirth education classes taught by registered nurses who are certified in their respective fields. Taking childbirth education classes enhances mom’s confidence in her ability to give birth and facilitates comfort during labor. First-time parents are encouraged to take Preparation for Childbirth, Breastfeeding 101 and Infant Care Skills near their seventh month of pregnancy. For second-time parents, a refresher course reviews breathing, relaxation and positioning during labor, and also addresses how to prepare older children for a new sibling. There’s even a class for grandparents on taking care of infants and how to cope with long distance relationships.

Your Hospital Stay

After delivery, the bedside nurses on the Mother-Baby Unit evaluate each family and tailor parenting education to fit their specific needs.
“From the minute mom arrives on the Mother-Baby Unit, we are teaching her how to care for her newborn— feeding, diapering, swaddling, safe sleep practices and normal newborn behavior,” says Kelly Bonette, RNC, Interim Patient Care Director of the Mother-Baby Unit. There are many demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning, including the baby’s first bath, which can be done bedside with mom. “We try to make sure parents are as prepared as possible to take care of their baby once they go home,” Bonette says.
Nurses also will educate you about the standard newborn tests and assessments conducted during the baby’s Hospital stay and talk with you about support at home with things such as grocery shopping, walking the dog and preparing meals for the first few weeks.

Going Home

The Hospital’s commitment to you lasts long after you take your baby home. Several support groups are offered and many parents find the New Parents Support Group with their baby to be very helpful.
“Parents in our area are often far from their family and there is little support available when they arrive home from the Hospital with the baby,” says Jyl Pomeroy, RN, who has been facilitating the New Parents Support Group for 21 years. “Having a baby is one of the most profound, life-altering events you will ever have. The first few weeks and months can be very hard.”
Pomeroy says she focuses on the issue of isolation in the New Parents Support Group. Talking to other parents who are facing similar challenges at the same time, and developing solutions as a group, can be extremely reassuring.
“Some of the comments we hear are ‘I thought I was the only mom whose baby is not sleeping. Is anyone else having trouble with breastfeeding? Will I ever feel like my old self again?’” Pomeroy says. “After hearing of other new moms’ experiences, they realize they’re not alone. New moms are the best resource for other new moms.”
At any support group meeting, there may be babies ranging in age from a just few days of age up to 10 months or even a year. Some moms attend regularly, while some drop in when questions arise. “I love seeing the new moms share ideas and begin to feel comfortable in their new role. Over the years, I’ve seen long-term friendships, play groups and babysitting co-ops develop when new moms connect with each other over shared experiences,” says Pomeroy.
Whether you’re a new a parent or if you’re having your third baby, Virginia Hospital Center is a partner to educate, encourage and support you through the entire experience before delivery, while you’re on the unit and after you go home.

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