Mother of Month: March 2017

Mar 27, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

received_1780777958848520The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Maria Kassis on being selected as the March Mother of the Month.

Maria is a first-time mom who was nominated by her Healthy Families Jacksonville Family Support Worker, Earnestine Jackson.

“Maria has done a lot of research on parenting to be equipped to give her son, George, the best start in life” Jackson said. “She has went though and baby proofed her apartment, and ensured that it is a safe and nurturing environment so that George can learn and explore freely.”

Maria joined Healthy Families Jacksonville after meeting with a pediatrician. She left the office not knowing how she should properly raise her son.

“The doctor just told me how to keep him healthy” Maria said. “I was sitting there and thought to myself ‘is that it?’. I had no idea how to raise him, how he should be developing or how to keep him safe, and I learned all of that through Healthy Families. I am so happy.”

received_1731074790485504Maria is constantly working with George by reading books with him, engaging in interactive games and many other activities to continue to grow his development.

Check out what Maria had to say about her experience in Healthy Families Jacksonville thus far by clicking here.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Mother of the Month sponsor, Nothing Bunt Cakes , we would like congratulate Maria on being chosen as the Mother of the Month.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Mother/Father of the Month, click here.

 

Open Position: Data Entry/Community Outreach Specialist

Feb 24, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  1 comment

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition is accepting applications for a Data Entry/Community Outreach Specialist with the Magnolia Project.

The Data Entry/Community Outreach Specialist is primarily responsible for promoting women’s health and improved birth outcomes through public awareness and neighborhood outreach activities.

Resumes and cover letters should be e-mailed to resume@nefhsc.org.

Qualifications:

At least 3 – 5 years professional experience working in the community or social services.

Experience working with diverse communities, organizations and agencies preferred.

Strong communication skills are required. Minimum high school graduate.

Responsibilities:

  •  Clinical services data entry
  •  Reschedule missed clinic appointments
  •  Must be non-judgmental when engaging/recruiting participants for project services
  •  Organizes outreach activities to promote participant awareness and/or recruitment into project services
  • Organized mini-health fairs at neighborhood sites
  • Participates in community outreach activities sponsored by other community agencies
  • Networks with community providers to promote/recruit eligible participants to project services
  • Develops a monthly calendar of outreach events
  • Update the Magnolia Project Referral Guide for distribution to project participants and community residents
  • Conducts formal presentations in the community on project services
  • Attends professional development trainings to maintain and enhance professional skills.
  • Attends internal and external meetings
  • Contributes to achievement of project objectives related to outreach
  • Perform all other duties as assigned by Project Director

It’s a tough job, and only a mother can do it!

Aug 2, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

A Mother’s Journey through Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Written By: Samantha Thompson

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Samantha and Baby Bryce

      When I was asked to write about my experiences with breastfeeding, I was honestly very excited!  I feel extremely accomplished in my seven-month journey and definitely have some stories to tell.  But when I sat down at my computer, I drew a blank.  Not a blank as in “I have nothing to say,” but a blank as in “where do I start?”  So I decided to just start writing and see where it leads me.

     Any parent can probably write an entire book telling stories of parenthood, but I only have a few paragraphs. So, I’m going to focus on three aspects of nursing my son: the good, the bad and the ugly.  Let’s start, though, with the ugly and work up to the good. If you can get through the ugly and the bad of breastfeeding, a.k.a the first few months, you are good to go.

breastfeeding week 4

Samantha and husband, Tory

     The ugliest part of breastfeeding for me was the pain. …LOTS of pain.  I took a nursing class a few weeks before my due date, as many mommies-to-be will or should do.  It was great information. I was informed about the science of breastfeeding, the techniques of breastfeeding, the benefits of breastfeeding and more. I was certain that I was well on my way to becoming the best breastfeeder in the world. What they left out in the class, was the emotional and physical toll nursing has on a new momma.  I had terribly cracked and bloody nipples for the first two months of nursing.  Every time my son latched, it was excruciatingly painful. I thought many times about giving up and struggled with the notion that I was somehow failing my little boy. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t doing anything wrong so I contacted a lactation expert. After talking with the expert, I found out that my pain was completely normal.  There are, though, many different remedies for the physical pain, as explained to me by the expert. The things that saved me were lots of nipple butter, a nipple shield and ibuprofen.  At about the third month, I didn’t need any of those things! For the emotional struggle or baby blues, I found a lot of relief in talking to other mommas, whether they breastfed or not.  It’s super important to have an army of support around you!

       The bad part of breastfeeding, and the toughest for me, was the constant work and effort that is required initially. Everything was new to me! Newborns need to eat every hour or so and because breast milk is mainly water, it digests super quickly. Think about that for a second… that means that I was sitting with my newborn every other hour for at least 20 minutes per side all day every day…including nights. Although I enjoyed the timing bonding with my newborn, it was very tough for me to adjust. The nights were the worst for me. I’m very grumpy on minimal sleep, so says my husband. During this time, it is very handy to have an army of support. You have to have help! While you cannot give your boob to your significant other to feed the baby, there are things that they can do to support you. They can clean, cook dinner, wake up with you for the extra company or rub your feet when you become overly stressed.   Don’t be scared or feel less powerful by asking for a little help. Even if it’s just for someone to watch over your little one while you take a shower!

breastfeeding week 2

Samantha & Baby Bryce

Now that we’ve waded through the yucky stuff, let me say, breastfeeding is the most empowering thing I have ever done as a woman and mother. The benefits are honestly countless!  Every year there is more and more research that supports breastfeeding for the first six months of life (any amount is AMAZING!).  Not only are you feeding your baby with the most nutritious milk possible, you are also building their immune system.  Because the milk is organic, it actually changes to fit what your child needs.  As you nurse, your body picks up on any bacteria and viruses in your baby and creates pathogens to protect and fight against illness, all on its own! Breast milk has also been found to help prevent allergies. From my personal experience, my eight-month-old, whom I nursed for seven months, has only ever had pink eye once. No other fevers, funks or sickness!

breastfeeding week 1

Baby Bryce, 8 months old

Breastfeeding is not only tremendous for the little one, it’s also wonderful for the mother! Nursing mothers are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Remember those baby blues from earlier?  After I got the hang of nursing, those quickly went away! Feeding my little dude became stress relieving and relaxing. On top of that, breastfeeding helps momma lose some, if not all of the baby weight. I gained about 80-85 pounds in my pregnancy. Eight months later, I only have 15 more pounds to lose to break even! But the most rewarding part, for me, is the bond that my little one and I now share. Deciding to breastfeed has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

There are many, many, more benefits of breastfeeding; I can’t possibly fit them all! Remember, you are a beautiful and wonderful mother, and whether you decide to breastfeed or not, you are going to be great! You can do this! Happy Worldwide Breastfeeding Week! #BreastMilkIsTheBestMilk

 

The top six reasons why moms-to-be should consider breastfeeding

Aug 1, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

If you’ve been thinking about whether you will or will not breastfeed, you may have weighed the pros and cons… Before you make your final decision, consider these six reasons why you should breastfeed.

  1. Breastfeeding Reduces Mommy’s Risk of Breast Cancer

Because your breasts will be busy making milk 24/7, breastfeeding limits cancerous cells from developing. Also, because Mommy will be focusing on eating more nutritious foods and following a healthier lifestyle (not smoking or drinking), the chances of cancer producing in the breast, as well as the entire
body, becomes limited, according to breastcancer.org.

  1. Breastfeeding May Help Mommy Lose Weight

This is a biggie! So the doctor tells you to wait until your six-week postpartum visit before you can start to vigorously exercise, but you really want to lose some of your baby weight! Breastfeeding helps mommy lose some of those pounds because your body naturally burns calories to produce milk. Also, as mentioned in reason number one, to produce healthier milk, many moms choose healthier eating options.

  1. Breastfeeding Allows Moms AND Dads to Sleep More

Because there is no prep needed to breast feed (making the bottle, warming the bottle up, testing the temperature of the milk, repeat), moms and dads get to sleep a little more during the night.

  1. Breastmilk is Always Ready and at the Right Temperature

It’s 4:37 a.m. and your baby is hungry. Instead of walking all the way to the kitchen, searching for the formula, plundering through the bottles until you find the correct size, measuring out the amount of formula needed, adding water, turning on the bottle warmer, waiting until the bottle is warm and then walking back into the bedroom to feed your baby, you could relax in your rocking chair, with all of the feeding materials need at arm’s reach.

  1. Breastmilk is Free

The estimated total cost of formula ranges between $1,138.50 and $1,188 per year. Again, breastmilk is FREE!

  1. That’s What Breasts Are For!

Need we say more? #BreastMilkIsTheBestMilk