NewboRN Home Visiting in Alachua County
Oh Baby! A Gainesville Sun Publication
In 2017, nearly 3,000 babies were born at hospitals in Alachua County. Fifty-two were born in homes and another 20 were born at birthing centers. In order to improve the health and safety for all of the babies yet to be born in Alachua County, a group of local hospitals, home health agencies and childbirth providers have collaborated to make the NewboRN Home Visiting program.
A free service overseen by Healthy Start of North Central Florida, NewboRN Home Visiting is available to any Alachua County woman who recently gave birth at a hospital, home or birth center within the county. The program’s goal is to increase knowledge on topics such as breastfeeding, self-care, infant nutrition, safe sleep practices, home safety, and bathing and dressing newborns.
Within a week after a baby is born, NewboRN Home Visiting will send a registered nurse (RN) or licensed midwife to the home of a mother and her newborn to share useful information, connect the family to services and resources, and simply see how the family is doing.
During the visit, the RN or midwife will offer information, a physical check-up and answer any questions a mother may have. They may also connect a family to an OB/GYN or pediatrician if the family has any medical concerns.
The RN or midwife will also ensure the new mother is adjusting well by asking questions relating to her sleep schedule, support system, eating habits and whether or not she may be feeling upset or depressed. The program will provide mothers with advice on a wide array of issues, including proper nutrition for a new mom and her baby, how to calm a newborn, properly bathing and changing a baby, safe sleeping arrangements and parent-infant bonding and interaction.
Healthy Start Program Director Julie Moderie said the arrival of the NewboRN Home Visiting program has the potential to be very impactful throughout Alachua County.
“Absolutely any Alachua County woman who gives birth in the county is eligible for NewboRN Home Visiting, which is really exciting,” Moderie said. “We’re hoping to see all pregnant women in the county take advantage of this free program.”
All one has to do in order to participate in the program is sign a consent form with a Family Partner at the hospital, home or birthing center where they’re giving birth. After that, participants can expect an RN or midwife to visit within one week of the baby’s birth or hospital discharge.
“Healthy Start — and all of the organizations who have collaborated on this project — are looking forward to seeing this program improve lives,” Moderie said.
NewboRN Home Visiting is funded by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Children’s Services Advisory Board. The program is made possible by the coordinated efforts of Healthy Start of North Central Florida, North Florida Regional Medical Center, UF Health Shands, UF Health Shands HomeCare, NurseCore, birth centers, licensed midwives conducting home births and the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery.
For more information about the program, please visit www.newbornhomevisiting.org