MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 29, 2012

Program helps mom and baby


— A program designed to teach first-time mothers how to be a successful parent is well worth the effort.

Children First is a free program offered through the Muskogee County Health Department. First-time mothers enroll during pregnancy and a nurse begins visiting them in their homes, offering education and advice from everything from eating well to swaddling a baby.

The program teaches the warning signs of sickness, how to swaddle children, safety tips, signs of normal development, and much more.

Linda Hitchye of the health department said the Children First program has been in place since 1997.

The program is credited with greatly reducing low-weight and premature births and saving the state money in health care for newborns, she said.

Hitchye said she’s seen all ages of first-time mothers come through the program and lots of positive results.

“Overall, the program has improved the outcome of births,” Hitchye said. “Since we’ve been in existence we see less babies being born premature.”

It is often said that we have to pass a test to drive a car, but there are no requirements for learning to be a good parent.

This program gives first-time mothers the confidence they need to be better parents.

That confidence can be transferred to the child.

A child being raised by a confident mother can receive many benefits.

First-time mothers and their children need all the help they can get.

Children First puts the emphasis in the right place.