Group Care for Pregnant Women and New Mothers
Lining up their strollers against the wall and calling out greetings, the moms in the Well-Baby Group are gathering. While one mom gets some advice on
treating her child’s diarrhea from the pediatrician, other mothers compare stories about their children’s first steps. “Try some water, just small sips,” the doctor advises to rehydrate the toddler. “Está caminando bien ahora!,”a mom says happily as her son starts walking. The chatter eases effortlessly from English to Spanish and back.
The Well-Baby Group meets at the Center for Child Heath and Resiliency, the South Bronx pediatric clinic that Children’s Health Fund’s New York Program
operates in partnership with Montefiore Medical Center. This innovative program in group care is designed for post-partum mothers, families and their
babies from birth to 18 months. All the basic well-baby care that a pediatrician would provide in an individual visit is included, but the group setting enables mothers to form attachments with one another and allows the health care team to spend more time with the mothers and get to know them. The nurse takes the toddlers one by one for their immunizations, and moms are encouraged and empowered to closely monitor their child’s health status, to measure and weigh their child and plot their gains on growth curves.
The program builds on and reinforces relationships formed during the center’s Pregnancy Group, which offers prenatal care in small groups. The goal is to build community as the moms share joys and concerns, nurture healthy family development, and provide an efficient way for the medical team to share information on a wide range of topics.
While all the members of the bustling group appear to be doing fine, the medical team has established trusting relationships with the mothers. They know which ones may be having trouble getting food for their children, dealing with an abusive partner, or struggling with their own mental health, and they are able to connect these moms to services so they can focus on being the best parent possible.