Being a new parent is never easy, whether it’s your first or fifth child. Each one presents a new set of challenges and quirks, including how they eat. In an effort to help moms and babies around Carver County, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia will be starting a Mom and Baby Connection program this July to help mothers through their baby’s first months.

A few readers may be familiar with the Mom and Baby Cafe that Park Nicollet, and the Connection that Ridgeview and Carver County Public Health are working on is their own version of this program according to Shelby Erickson, nurse manager at Ridgeview’s birthing center.

“We think it’s going to help our patients because they associate with us as a community,” she said. “We want them to feel comfortable, like they’re coming home and getting similar support they had in the hospital as a patient.”

The current lactation service is offered at bedside. This new program would allow lactation consultants and counselors to be utilized by anyone, not just a patient in the hospital at that time. The program is also open to anyone, regardless if they are breastfeeding or formula feeding, though the focus will be on breastfeeding.

“We really wanted to help our moms in a relaxed setting where they can kind of just drop in,” said Erickson.

Part of the program, too, is helping mothers adjust after birth. Instead of simply staying home or running errands, the program hopes to offer the opportunity for new mothers to interact and share their successes and struggles in a relaxed environment.

“It’s an extension of that overall experience for mom and baby that we provide from the start of the pregnancy journey to this extension,” said Lisa Steinbauer, director of marketing and communications.

The program was created with the help of a SHIP grant, or a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grant. The state provides these grants to help medical centers and counties create these kinds of programs in order to benefit communities.

Breastfeeding itself, according to Erickson, has numerous health benefits, which is why Ridgeview wants to provide this kind of support. As well as boosting an infant’s immune system for the first few months, mothers and babies also bond through the process. There’s even been research showing that obesity rates are lower among infants that breastfeed, according to Erickson.

“We at the hospital really do encourage breastfeeding because we feel that it’s best for the baby after birth,” said Erickson.

Still, non-breastfeeding moms are invited to join in. Weight checks, questions about breast pumps, going back to work, and even ideas of when to start solid foods are going to be a part of this program, hence why this program is a “connection” program. After all, every baby is different, and sometimes even the more experienced mothers can have a question that they’ve never had to ask before.

Steinbauer did want to emphasize for the community that while advice can be given at these connections, any medical concerns and questions should be taken up with a pediatrician. The staff at these meetings cannot give medical advice aside from pointing the mother to a professional.

The Mom and Baby Connection starts on July 10, and will be held every Wednesday in suite 34 at Ridgeview Professional Building at South 560 Maple Street from 10am-11:30am. Fun note for the community as well: the Birthing Center is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and invites mothers to share their stories on Facebook as well as recognizing the staff.

Being a new parent is never easy, whether it’s your first or fifth child. Each one presents a new set of challenges and quirks, including how they eat. In an effort to help moms and babies around Carver County, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia will be starting a Mom and Baby Connection program this July to help mothers through their baby’s first months.A few readers may be familiar with the Mom and Baby Cafe that Park Nicollet, and the Connection that Ridgeview and Carver County Public Health are working on is their own version of this program according to Shelby Erickson, nurse manager at Ridgeview’s birthing center. “We think it’s going to help our patients because they associate with us as a community,” she said. “We want them to feel comfortable, like they’re coming home and getting similar support they had in the hospital as a patient.”The current lactation service is offered at bedside. This new program would allow lactation consultants and counselors to be utilized by anyone, not just a patient in the hospital at that time. The program is also open to anyone, regardless if they are breastfeeding or formula feeding, though the focus will be on breastfeeding. “We really wanted to help our moms in a relaxed setting where they can kind of just drop in,” said Erickson.Part of the program, too, is helping mothers adjust after birth. Instead of simply staying home or running errands, the program hopes to offer the opportunity for new mothers to interact and share their successes and struggles in a relaxed environment.“It’s an extension of that overall experience for mom and baby that we provide from the start of the pregnancy journey to this extension,” said Lisa Steinbauer, director of marketing and communications.The program was created with the help of a SHIP grant, or a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grant. The state provides these grants to help medical centers and counties create these kinds of programs in order to benefit communities. Breastfeeding itself, according to Erickson, has numerous health benefits, which is why Ridgeview wants to provide this kind of support. As well as boosting an infant’s immune system for the first few months, mothers and babies also bond through the process. There’s even been research showing that obesity rates are lower among infants that breastfeed, according to Erickson. “We at the hospital really do encourage breastfeeding because we feel that it’s best for the baby after birth,” said Erickson. Still, non-breastfeeding moms are invited to join in. Weight checks, questions about breast pumps, going back to work, and even ideas of when to start solid foods are going to be a part of this program, hence why this program is a “connection” program. After all, every baby is different, and sometimes even the more experienced mothers can have a question that they’ve never had to ask before. Steinbauer did want to emphasize for the community that while advice can be given at these connections, any medical concerns and questions should be taken up with a pediatrician. The staff at these meetings cannot give medical advice aside from pointing the mother to a professional.The Mom and Baby Connection starts on July 10, and will be held every Wednesday in suite 34 at Ridgeview Professional Building at South 560 Maple Street from 10am-11:30am. Fun note for the community as well: the Birthing Center is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and invites mothers to share their stories on Facebook as well as recognizing the staff.

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