Kari Billette: Babies don't come with instructions

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Community resources

For the next several weeks, we will highlight six programs that support women's health and newborn care, on Saturdays in the Steamboat Today and the Craig Daily Press. It is my hope that through these programs, the continued health of this very vibrant part of Colorado will continue to grow. Some of the programs that are going to be highlighted include Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Public Health Programs, Yampa Valley Autism Program, Newborn Network, First Impressions of Routt County, Horizon's and Steamboat Mental Health/SEED Project. We all know how difficult it is to have good insurance and access to care, what we may not know is how many support programs are available for families in Routt and Moffat Counties.

- James M. Summers,

DO/MS, FACOG, Director

of Inpatient Obstetrical Services, Yampa Valley Medical Center

— "The Newborn Network has been a great source for me as a first-time mom for questions and support with raising infant twins. It is great to have something so readily available to me and my family in a small community that will come to me, in my home, if need be, or just a phone call away for my concerns" - Oak Creek mom of 2-year-old twins

The Family Development Center's Newborn Network provides a variety of services to Routt County parents of children ages birth to three years old. Our goal is to give parents the support and information to help them make the best decisions for their child and to give their child a healthy start.

We want parents to know that they are their child's first and most influential teacher, and that learning starts before their child begins school. Since research tells us that babies and toddlers learn more from their interactions with their parents and caregivers, the Newborn Network wants to help parents know how to best provide their child with these types of interactions.

There are a variety of ways parents can receive this important parenting information from the Newborn Network. There are networking groups where parents can meet with other parents and their babies to share their experiences and struggles with being a parent.

"The Newborn Network has been an excellent resource for me. It has been great to meet with other new moms and share advice and information with each other," said the Hayden mom of a 3-month-old.

Community experts, such as a public health nurse, a pediatrician or an infant massage therapist, often come to these groups and talk with parents about important topics.

The Newborn Network also provides parenting information through our monthly education model program called "Parents As Teachers."

"It's been a great resource for our new family and helped us learn about developmental goals and our child's needs," said the Steamboat dad of a 6-month-old.

These visits provide parents with information on parenting, child development, discipline and with materials to do fun activities with their child.

Parents also used our lending library to check out books and DVDs on different topics, such as starting solids, toilet learning and sleep issues. We also encourage parents to call us anytime with questions or concerns they have about parenting and/or community resources at 879-0977.

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