Newborn Nurse Visits for All
When I had my first child, I thought I was completely prepared. I took all the classes, read all the books and had all the right equipment. The birth went smoothly…then we came home. I realized I didn’t have a clue about the crying, the soothing, the feeding. Man, if only there were a program that sent nurses to your home to give support, answer questions and make referrals to experts at no cost. Little did I know that one year later I would be helping to launch such a program for Durham County residents. Armed with my new mom fears and anxieties, I joined the staff at the Center for Child a Family Policy at Duke University to establish Durham Connects, a free newborn nurse visiting program for the community of Durham. We collaborated with the health department and the non-profit Center for Child & Family Health to hire child/maternal health nurses and send them out armed with diapers, a baby scale and a whole bunch of educational materials for new parents. It’s like a personal Durham welcome committee for your baby.
At first the program only saw half of the county’s residents, but now, four years later it is going strong and is offered to every family that lives in Durham and gives birth in Durham. The visit is free of charge and nurses will spend as much time as you need answering questions and providing referrals. They’ll even come back if you want. Nurses provide a physical assessment of mom and baby including an extra weight check, which is always reassuring. The program complements regular well-baby care and is endorsed by all Durham pediatricians and obstetricians. Parents don’t need to worry about signing up or remembering to call because we come to you. Each parent is either approached in person at the hospital or called following the birth of your baby. Visits are arranged for about three weeks postpartum. So, how did my first turn out despite my cluelessness and insecurity? Just fine. She’ll start kindergarten this fall. I even went ahead and had another one. I might have to give credit to Durham Connects for that, well, and my husband. To learn more about Durham Connects visit www.durhamconnects.org or like us on Facebook.