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April 12, 2013

Easter Seals program helps babies, first-time moms



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Easter Seals' nurse TeShawn Cabbil Hobson meets with new mother Jessica Scrivner every week, taking measurements and checking the vital signs on Scrivner's newborn baby boy.

Hobson checks Scrivner's blood pressure and talks with her about breast-feeding and infant care.

It's part of a special Nurse-Family Partnership program, one of only two of its kind being provided by Easter Seals in the U.S. to help first-time mothers adjust to caring for an infant.

But for Hobson and Scrivner, the program is so much more. The two have been meeting regularly to discuss parenthood since Scrivner was 13 weeks pregnant.

"I was a labor and delivery nurse for 10 years, so I still get the so-called 'baby love,' " Hobson said. "I've always loved babies and this helps first-time moms to get to learn more about their bodies and their babies. It's almost like a family than work-related."

When Scrivner first became pregnant, she said she faced uncertainty.

"I had never really dealt with newborns before so I didn't know what to expect," Scrivner said, as she cradled her 10-pound, 1-month-old baby boy, Aiden.

"I've learned a lot of things. It's been a really good program and I really enjoy it," she said.

Nurses with the Nurse-Family Partnership program meet anywhere from weekly to bi-weekly or once a month with the expectant or new mother, depending on her stage of pregnancy or the baby's age. They discuss issues such as what to do during pregnancy, labor and delivery, breast-feeding, immunizations and basic infant care. The partnership begins before the 28th week of pregnancy and continues until a child is 2 years old.

"We are seeing changes in people's lives already," said Ronny Johnston, administrator of the Easter Seals of West Alabama. "Our nurses are just having the best time, and are loving what they are doing."

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