Preparing New Moms and Dads
Listen to the medical experts. Most hospitals have childbirth, infant care and breastfeeding classes for expectant parents. Missouri Baptist Medical Center has customized their offerings by providing several private classes for moms and dads including pregnancy massage, sibling-attended birth class, infant care for the adopting family, and special circumstances childbirth class. The hospital also provides an online infant care class for moms who find themselves on bedrest. Call 314-996-5751 to discuss the options at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
Join a new mom group. Several support groups exist to help new moms and dads adjust to pregnancy and life with a new baby. Many offer playgroups, adult activities and opportunities to borrow, trade and sell baby gear. In addition to offering free lactation consulting and support for nursing moms, Kangaroo Kids in Glendale also organizes toddler play groups, and a nursing moms group. Moms generally After hours emergency call. For mothers of twins and multiples, consider the Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club. In addition to having a two great "Re-Sell-It" sales, members support each other at monthly meetings, family activities and message boards. For moms looking for a faith-based organization, Mothers of Preschoolers, or MOPS, consistently gets good reviews.
At right: Kangaroo Kids in Glendale provides support for nursing moms and opportunities to connect and form playgroups with other moms (they have coffee, too!).
Make a list of places to enjoy once your baby arrives. There's nothing worse than being stuck in the house with a demanding new baby. Before the baby is born, scout out a few places you and your family could visit with your new baby. In the early days when your infant is still very unpredictable, you might be most comfortable planning a free outing at a location where you can come and go as your please. If you have an older child, look for a place where that child can play safely and independently while you're meeting the needs of your baby. Use the Sprout calendar to brainstorm for some options by searching for "free," and be sure to have your older child help you create your list of places to go with your new baby. A few recommendations when an older sibling is involved include local playgrounds, free story times, Whittle Shortline Railroad and Suson Animal Farm. First baby? Grab your stroller or bjorn and take a hike or see a movie (cry baby matinees and sensory-friendly films are great ways to enjoy a flick without worrying about a babbling baby).
A little exercise does a new mom good. Most doctors agree that yoga and exercising with a personal trainer are generally safe ways for moms-to-be and new moms to feel good and stay in shape. Maria Carella, a certified prenatal yoga instructor and counselor, teaches a prenatal yoga classes. By focusing on breath, their bodies and their babies, Carella's class helps expectant moms relax, build flexibility and strength, and prepare for birth and life postpartum. A personal trainer and registered nurse leads Mommies Night Out for Fitness at St. Luke's Hospital. The class is designed for moms at least 6-weeks post-delivery and focuses on cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and relaxation.Preparing Siblings
Read a book about new babies. For a great selection of children's books, visit Main Street Books in St. Charles. Owner Vicki Erwin has several recommendations for families anticipating a baby. For a general becoming-an-older-sibling book Erwin recommends "I'm a Big Brother" or "I'm a Big Sister," both by Joanna Cole. Older children love to hear their own birth stories, and you can honor their entry into the world with "Tell Me My Story, Mama," by Deb Lund. There's nothing like a pregnancy to prompt questions about where babies come from. To answer that delicate question, Erwin recommends the classic "Where Did I Come From?" by Peter Mayle. (Read more about Main Street Books.)
At right: Main Steet Books is a cozy place to find books to help older siblings adjust to a new baby.
Enroll big bro or big sis in a class. St. Luke's Hospital offers a Big Brother, Big Sister Sibling Celebration class for children ages 6-10 and children ages 3-6. Big siblings will play games, read stories and watch videos to learn more about life with a baby. Younger children will visit the newborn nursery and make a special gift for their new brother or sister.
In addition to classes for younger children, St. John's Mercy Medical Center also offers an Older Sibs class for children 7 and up. During this class, children and preteens can practice diapering a baby doll and have the opportunity to talk about their feelings related to mom's pregnancy and a new baby.
Play in a pretend nursery. Children get a hands on look at a baby nursery at the Children's Village Hospital at the Magic House. This new resource for expectant families allows curious kids to put on scrubs and lab coats so they can play doctor or nurse and care for newborn baby dolls.
At right: Kids can pretend to care for babies at the Children's Village Hospital at the Magic House.
Got a nervous "Nana" on your hands? Send her and Grandpa to a grandparents class at your delivering hospital. These classes generally include hospital care for mother and baby (ie. reassurance that their baby and grandbaby will receive exceptional care!), the latest infant safety information and tours of the delivery rooms or birthing suites. St. Luke's Hospital, St. John's Mercy Medical Center and Missouri Baptist Medical Center all offer courses for grandparents.
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