Healthy Mom and a Healthy Baby
Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Center Provides Vital Support
Cameron Warren, the first son of Stephanie and Clayton, was born last December at Washington Hospital. He arrived a little early - three weeks before his due date, but his parents were already ahead of the curve.
Stephanie and Clayton had already taken the "Prepared Childbirth" class through Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Center. The class provided the couple with detailed information about labor preparation, childbirth techniques and postpartum recovery tips.
Stephanie says the childbirth preparation class was a great way to learn about all the stages of labor and meet other couples that were having their first child.
"The birthing class was a great forum for all of the couples to ask lots of questions and make informed decisions about what we could expect during labor and delivery," Stephanie remembers. "Being able to take the class over a few weekends was also very convenient for my husband and I."
Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Center, which recently moved into its new stand alone location - and its staff members and instructors are there to help make pregnancy and parenthood as smooth as possible. All class and program instructors are certified and credentialed in their respected fields of expertise.
Stephanie, a 5th grade school teacher who works in the New Haven Unified School District in Union City has been very impressed with the amount of knowledge she has received from each specific class she has taken.
"As an educator, I really appreciate life long learning and I know that my son has really benefited from the support I have received through the Maternal/Child Education Center," she says. "I know that over the last few months, I've become more confident and pleased about my son's early development."
Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Center provides outpatient support to new moms to help them learn how to effectively breastfeed. The Center offers a free latch clinic twice a week and during the hour long clinic, a lactation consultant helps moms learn how to nurse effectively. The group setting also allows breastfeeding moms the opportunity to interact and share their experiences that can help validate what they are feeling.
"My son was underweight when he was born and it was sometimes difficult breastfeeding him which was a little nerve racking," Stephanie says. "But thanks to the support I received from the latch clinic, I learned to focus on specific techniques that really helped and my son's weight went from being in the 5th percentile to the 50th percentile in just two months."
Sharing experiences with other new moms
When Stephanie finished the latch clinic sessions, she tried out what has become one of her favorite programs - the Free Baby 'n' Me Support Group, a group for new moms to trade tips and information as well as enjoy social interaction with other new moms and their babies. Supervised by trained facilitators Trisha Marell and Arlene Fryling, the support group is conducted in a relaxed environment and is an excellent way to enhance the transition into parenthood for new mothers.
"The Baby 'n' Me Support group has been a great way for me to interact and discuss parenting tips with trained experts," Stephanie says. "The social bonds and connections I have developed with other new moms has been a huge plus as well."
Karen Smith, Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education Clinical Coordinator, agrees that Baby 'n' Me is a great way for new moms to adjust to life with a brand new baby.
"The group not only helps moms network, it also supports them when they feel most alone in some ways," Smith says. "However cute they are, newborns are very needy and new moms can sometimes feel like they barely have time take a shower. You're on 24-7; it's like being a doctor on-call. You wear many hats as a mom, and this is great support group."
Baby and You
To learn more about Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education classes and programs, including breastfeeding support, visit www.whhs.com/childbirth-classes or call (510) 818-5040 for class dates and locations. For lactation appointments and phone advice, call (510) 818-5041.
Washington Hospital's Maternal/Child Education is now located at 3569 Beacon Avenue in Fremont. The center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. And moms who work during the week can purchase or rent a breast pump or other breastfeeding supplies from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.