Giving birth to a baby is one thing, raising it is another.
To give parents some guidance and resources in raising their little ones, several organizations have banded together to host a free, education-oriented community baby shower this month.
The shower, which will be virtual this year due to COVID-19 health restrictions, will take place from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 22.
“The Community Baby Shower is a strategy designed to improve infant birth outcomes, maternal health and decrease the number of sleep-related deaths,” said Sherry Bennett, coordinator for Van Buren Great Start Collaborative, which is sponsoring the event with support from Bronson Healthcare Foundation, Van Buren County Child Abuse and Prevention Council, HOPE Parent Resource Center in South Haven, Bronson LakeView Family Care, Teen Hope and the Michigan Department of Education. Other groups, such as the South Haven Kiwanis Club, have donated several of the door prizes.
The shower will feature three speakers: Tammy O’Connell, a registered nurse for Bronson Obstetric, Gynecology and Midwifery Specialists; Bonita Suiter, an Early On service facilitator with the Van Buren Intermediate School District and a referral coordinator for the Great Start Safe Sleep program; and Bianca Nash-Miot, birth doula and certified lactation counselor.
“This interactive event invites expectant parents and parents with children 12 months or younger and their support people to learn how to prepare for and care for their baby, connect with local resources, and celebrate the arrival of their new baby,” Bennett said. “We chose to do the event in April to support National Child Abuse Prevention Month.”
Those who register and attend the Zoom event will receive a free gift bag and will be entered into a drawing for door prizes that include new pack-n-plays, gift baskets and book sets geared for young children.
Although the shower is geared primarily for expectant parents, it is also open to families with children under the age of 12 months who live in communities within the Van Buren Intermediate School District.
“Grandparents and other child care providers are welcome to join the registered guest for the event, as well,” Bennett said. “This is not just a teen event, but is open to participants of any age.”
To register for the baby shower, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Bennett at 269-823-2339.
Space will be limited to 50 registrants.