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Newborn care: Free class teaches what every grandmother should know

Posted by Stacy Covitz on Sep 9, 2015 8:26:51 AM

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Grandmothers are just moms with a lot of practice, Reba Godfrey of Perinatal Education and Lactation Services at Methodist Charlton Medical Center will tell you. It’s a sign that hangs on her office, and it is part of her teaching style in the course she has titled, “What Every Grandmother Needs to Know.”

“Grandmothers taking care of grandchildren already know so much about newborn care but they want to know what’s going on currently. Why did they change that? Why are they telling my daughter/daughter-in-law to do that? They love to have someone sit down with them and explain the most recent research so they will know how they can be most helpful,” says Godfrey.

Baby care class at Methodist Charlton

The infant care class, which will be held next on September 15, 2015 at Methodist Charlton, is designed especially for grandmothers, and is a combination class that includes updates and changes in infant CPR, as well as information on relief of choking, baby care and breastfeeding. Each grandmother uses a baby mannequin for practicing chest compressions and breathing for infant CPR.

“Hands-on practice is so important,” Godfrey says.

The first class at Charlton was held in September of 2013, and it has been offered quarterly since then. It is a free class but participants are encouraged to register in advance. Godfrey and Deborah Parnell, breastfeeding coordinator for the City of Dallas WIC, collaborated in creating the class as a way to reach out to grandmothers about the health benefits for moms and babies who breastfeed and to encourage their support of nursing moms and babies.

Breastfeeding historically

In the early 1970s only about 20 percent of new moms in the United States even tried to breastfeed their babies, so formula became very popular, Godfrey says. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was very little breastfeeding support available, so most new moms formula fed their babies and we lost a generation or two of breastfeeding mothers.

“We had been talking for a while about reaching out to our community to help change our culture to more of a breastfeeding culture,” Godfrey says. “We thought that grandmothers were key in accomplishing this goal.” The class recognizes the unique and strong influence of a grandmother because she not only touches the mom but also the dad. 

The response to the class has been extremely positive. Grandmothers who have taken the class seemed to appreciate the latest health tips. “This is my first grand baby and I wanted to know how to take care of her,” one participant said. “I did not breastfeed so this was new information.”

Another class focus is on safety while caring for a baby. “A lot of grandmothers may not have had recent CPR practice so we wanted to make this part of the class,” Godfrey says. As one participant stated, “CPR info is greatly appreciated! The class was informative and interesting. Thanks for the room-by-room home safety checklist.”

Register for this free class

Date: September 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Methodist Charlton Medical Center, Outpatient Building Conference Room #12
Contact: Reba Godfrey, 214-947-7261

This free class will be taught by a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Methodist Charlton newborn care class 

Covitz_bio_photoStacy Covitz
Assistant Vice President of External Relations
Methodist Health System


Stacy Covitz is a Kansas City girl who has called Dallas home for the past four years. She worked as a news producer for more than 10 years before transitioning to healthcare in 2012. She is currently the Assistant Vice President of External Relations at Methodist Health System. Stacy and her Shih Tzu, Maddie, cheer for the Kansas City Royals and Mizzou Tigers from their Uptown home.

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