A Warm Welcome for New Parents in Durham
As a new parent without a network of family support close by, it can be tough to handle all of the questions and responsibilities that arise each day.
Welcome Baby, a Durham nonprofit, is a local resource designed to help families with children ages birth to 5 find the support and information they need.
"We try to be the first port of call for families with new babies and provide education and support until they enter kindergarten," says Pat Harris, program coordinator for Welcome Baby. Families who relocate to the area for work don't have those built-in advisors that mothers and grandparents provide, she says.
In addition to hospital visits, services at Welcome Baby include:
* Peer phone support that matches a new mom with an experienced mom to provide mentoring.
* A free parent support group called Now and Later Parent that periodically has guest experts and a guided discussion. Babies are welcome and parents should call ahead for times and to register.
* Educational programs for parents on subjects like positive discipline and literacy.
* A newsletter for interested parents.
Harris says connections parents make through Welcome Baby sometimes last a lifetime.
"Playgroups formed here have resulted in such strong bonds between parents that they have stayed in touch for years," she notes.
Welcome Baby also operates a car seat safety education and distribution program. Families in need of an infant/toddler convertible car seat (safe for any baby over 5 lbs.) or a booster car seat can call 919-560-7150 to register for this program. After attending a one-time class on the proper use of the car seat, families receive (on a sliding scale) the car seats their children need.
For 21 years, Welcome Baby representatives have greeted new parents and babies at Duke University Medical Center and Durham Regional Hospital to let them know about this community resource and other area support networks. Thanks to this group and other support networks in the Triangle, new parents need not feel isolated.