The Star-Herald

Group helps families navigate baby care

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A new monthly educational and support group for new and expectant parents or caregivers began March 1 through the efforts of Northern Light OB/GYN in Presque Isle.  Baby Steps will meet the first Friday of each month from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle.

“We get lots of questions, and not just from first-time parents,” explained Angela Hartman, RN, BSN, the clinical supervisor for the OB/GYN practice and coordinator of the new Baby Steps program.  

“Oftentimes questions can come from parents who haven’t had an infant in the home for a few years, or grandparents who are taking on responsibility of helping to raise a grandchild — a role they may not have had in decades,” she said.

As staff explored ways to better meet patient needs, the idea of an educational support group was embraced.  They decided to collaborate with the local library to host the event.

“We want all parents and caregivers to feel welcome. This isn’t just intended for our patients,” Hartman said. “By holding meetings away from the hospital, we are hoping that families from across the community, regardless of who they get their care from, will feel comfortable coming and benefiting from this group as they navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood.”

Each month will feature a different educational topic, often with a guest speaker.  In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, the topic of the first meeting was Introducing Solids to your baby’s diet.  

Other upcoming topics will include:  Reading to Babies, Formula Feeding/Iron Supplementing, Finding Childcare, Sun Safety, Breastfeeding, Car Seat Safety, Safe Sleep, Screen Time, and Handwashing.  

In addition to the educational topics covered each month, the group is a great chance for parents and caregivers to connect with other parents/caregivers in the region, Hartman added. It is an opportunity to build a support network and learn from the experiences shared by others.

For more information on Baby Steps, contact Hartman at 768-5944 or email ahartman@northernlight.org.

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