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Healthy Living: Program provides support to first-time moms, baby and families

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 8:14 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Being a mom is hard. Being a first time mom is hard. That’s why programs designed to provide support to moms from the beginning, middle and end of pregnancy are key. In this week’s healthy living, we learn about how a program here locally doing just that.

“This is one of my favorites, the very hungry caterpillar,” said registered nurse Audrey George as she held up a book over zoom, about to read it to one of her client’s 7-month old baby named Willow.

Willow’s mom, Sierra Hawthorne is a first-time mom who had help with her pregnancy along the way.

“Sierra, did Willow make high pitched squeals?” asked George.

“Yes,” said Hawthorne.

George is part of the Nurse-Family Partnership Program at Providence. It’s for first-time moms like Hawthorne, where nurses follow along and offer support from the first or second trimester through the child’s second birthday.

“So theoretically the first 1,000 days, which are a high impact for moms their families for babies to really build a wonderful relationship with their family, but also ourselves as nurses,” said George.

“I didn’t have a lot of friend support and I was really looking for some kind of connection and the program has really helped me with that and especially being a new time mom, things are scary and then throw COVID into the mix and you got a whole new set of challenges and uncertainty,” explained Hawthorne.

Pre-pandemic, visits would be either in the home or at a place where mom’s wanted to meet, but now, virtual check-ins will have to do.

“There’s so much richness that happens virtually, but there’s a different level that happens when you see like the delight in Willow’s eyes when I become a familiar face and those kinds of engagements and interactions opportunities I really look forward to,” said George.

“The nurse partnership program has been that light in the tunnel like when I’ve been working from home, I look forward to speaking to my nurse partner,” added Hawthorne.

Each nurse has the capacity to see up to 25 clients and visits are approximately one to one and a half hours every two weeks.

“We’re not aiming to complete a program, but really to build relationships, offer support to really wrap around families, moms and little ones because it’s so worth it and they are so worth it,” said George.

Time that’s valued by not just mom and baby, but a bond between nurse and family too.

The Providence Nurse-Family Partnership is free for eligible women. Click here to visit the website to learn more.

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