We support and promote optimal well-being for mothers and their children, before and after babies are born.
We are experts in identifying resources available to families with children and connect families with support for early interventions, nursing, parenting, behavior and childcare referral. If a child has unique developmental needs, we link the family to the Children’s Integrated Services Team.
We work with health care providers to support public health messages such as “049” (zero alcohol for nine months of pregnancy), and the “One Key Question” initiative supporting wanted, planned and healthy pregnancies.
We provide breastfeeding education and support. Our staff includes two peer counselors who are WIC mothers and available to support pregnant and new mothers. These peer counselors work with community partners to provide breastfeeding support groups. They teach monthly breastfeeding classes. Through peer counselors we provide an infant comfort station at community events, such as the Maple Festival, the Baby Expo, and Month of the Young Child. The station is staffed by an experienced WIC mom, and it provides mothers and babies a relaxed setting for breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Friendly Employers
We provide support to employers who seek Breastfeeding Friendly Employer status – achieved by over 30 area businesses in the last two years. We are available to visit employers to make recommendations and troubleshoot issues. Five businesses in our community applied for and received money from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials for the Supporting Nursing Moms at Work grant. Our Public Health nurse visited with all of these employers, reviewed their applications and made recommendations for their breastfeeding space, purchases and policies. Together with RiseVT, we’ve worked to provide signs for display in parks that show that breastfeeding is welcome. We’ve worked with childcare providers to educate them about bottle feeding breastfed babies.
We support safe sleep practices, and launched the Cribs for Kids program. This program benefits families who could otherwise not afford this support, and it includes a home health nurse visit and a pack-and-play crib.
We promote Bright Futures, a national health promotion and prevention initiative that sets kids up for long and healthy lives. We also encourage health care and childcare providers to look to this guidance in their own work.
We participate in ChARM, an inter-disciplinary and cross-agency team whose purpose is to improve health and safety outcomes for children born to mothers with a history of opiate dependence. This is achieved by coordinating medical, substance abuse and other community-based supports. The ChARM team meets monthly to coordinate care for pregnant and parenting mothers in recovery from opiate addiction. Questions regarding the Northwestern Medical Center ChARM team may be directed to Heather at 802-527-5576 or email her at AHS.VDHOLHStAlbans@vermont.gov.