Jessica Dean: A good program |

Jessica Dean: A good program

To the editor:

If you are a first-time parent in Steamboat Springs and are overwhelmed, I encourage you to try the Nurse-Family Partnership program at the Visiting Nurse Association. The Nurse-Family Partnership not only provides you with valuable information on caring for your child's every need, but your nurse will become like family to you.

My experience with the program and my nurse encouraged me to go back to school, provided me the tools to find a suitable job, and helped me cope with stressful situations.

To qualify for the program, a woman must be pregnant with her first child and meet the income requirements. Fathers are included, as well. Mothers are encouraged to join before their 28th week of pregnancy.

Nurses in the program are highly trained professionals who not only enjoy what they do, but love to watch your baby grow and especially love to watch you become a parent. I have come to trust my nurse and can honestly say that she has kept me going no matter how difficult the path before me.

Here are some of the great advantages of being a part of the Nurse-Family Partnership at the VNA:

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A nurse will visit you regularly, providing you health tips and weight graphs to make sure your child is growing normally and help you feed and nurture your baby after birth. If they feel you need better assistance with weight tips, they will refer you to a dietitian. They also provide you with helpful videos about soothing your crying baby and other challenges of motherhood. Other benefits of the program include financial and career guidance that will help encourage you to find the right job and/or go back to school.

The most important information that I learned about motherhood through this program is that there is always room to grow as a parent. I'm a single mom with family all the way in California, and when I met my nurse, she was immediately like family to me. Having her by my side helped me have an understanding of what my role is as a mother. I felt that I could be open about my fears and dreams and knew she would not judge me. She only encouraged me to do what I wanted for myself and helped me work toward being a great mom.

It seems a bit overwhelming, I know, but mothers only meet with their nurse once every two weeks in the convenience of their homes. The nurses are there to be a part of your family's life and help invest in your experience as a new parent. Getting advice on helping your child grow can be very rewarding for a new mom filled with so many unanswered questions. If I had not been curious about this program, I wouldn't have gotten to know all the wonderful people I've come to know. Please consider this great resource available to new moms.

Jessica Dean

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