Shakeila Brown has a 3-year-old son, but as she awaits the birth of her second child, due in December, she is still learning new ways to keep a baby healthy and well.
“I did not know that babies shouldn’t have anything in their cribs,” said Brown, 26. “I also had never seen a sleep sack, which is safer than a blanket for swaddling.”
Brown and more than 100 other new moms or moms-to-be received education, support and encouragement at the Community Baby Shower organized by Christiana Care and funded by the Delaware Division of Public Health. The event took place on Nov. 23 at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
“We are here to help you have a healthy baby,” said Denise Scales, MSN, RN, nurse manager, Parent Education, at Christiana Care. “That means you should go see the doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant.”
Scales said regular prenatal care is especially important for African-American women, who are at greater risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, illnesses that contribute to premature birth.
During lunch, guests took a quiz on emotional wellness and learned the signs of postpartum depression, a condition that impacts one of every eight new mothers.
They also learned the ABC’s of sleep for babies:
- Alone in own crib.
- Babies on their back.
- Clutter-free crib.
- Smoke-free home.
Health ambassadors attired in bright purple shirts helped to guide moms-to-be to information stations about nutrition, safety, mental health, safe sleep, breastfeeding and other topics. Christiana Care leads a city-wide team of health ambassadors in partnership with Bellevue Community Center, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and Westside Family Healthcare. Health ambassadors connect pregnant women and new parents to health care services and other resources, including home visitors to help families get a healthy start in life.
“Strong partnerships are essential in getting the word out to women,” said Liz O’Neill, project director, Department of Family and Community Medicine. “We want to provide education and support to every mom who needs it.”
In all, 20 organizations partnered with Christiana Care to education and resources that contribute to healthy babies. Participants who visited at least 10 tables were eligible for drawings for gifts and prizes, including baby supplies, a pack-and-play and a breast pump.
Vanessa Berrios of Wilmington, 31, is expecting twins, a boy and a girl. She was surprised to learn that the babies should always sleep in separate cribs, even when they are small. Sharing a bed with adults or other children greatly increases the risk of suffocation in babies.
“I was glad to learn that, because I was thinking that sharing the same crib would be good for them when they are first born since they have been so close to each other in the womb,” she said.
Attendees were divided into three teams for a game of Baby Shower Jeopardy! to test their knowledge of pregnancy, baby care and community resources. Among the questions:
Q: What vitamin should you start taking if you are planning to become pregnant?
A: Folic acid.
Q: Breastfeeding helps to protest babies against?
A: Infections and allergies.
Q: How long after you deliver should you wait to become pregnant again?
A: 18 months.
Trincia Griffin, 23, of Wilmington, came with her 6-month-old daughter Skye and her grandmother, Barbara Griffin-Todd. She isn’t planning on having another baby soon but said the education she received at a Community Baby Shower last year when she was expecting made her a better mom.
“I wasn’t planning to breastfeed, but after I learned that breastfeeding is healthier for both my baby and me I decided to do it,” she said. “I want my daughter to grow up healthy and strong.”