A young boy relaxes on his family couch as his baby sibling sleeps peacefully on his chest. Courtesy/FBPLA
A toddler enjoys playtime recently with a blue plastic colander. Courtesy/FBPLA
First Born Program of Los Alamos (FBPLA) has expanded its support of families prenatally now up to the child’s 5th birthday.
Families may request free home visitation services prenatally or until the baby is two months old. In addition, families who are adopting or serving as foster parents may also request services. As space allows, services can be provided outside of these parameters.
Regular home visits from a highly trained home visitor can alleviate some of the stressors that crop up while parenting for the first time.
Home visitors in the program offer services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, and Hebrew. Free home visits from our lactation counselor are also included. Visits can continue until the child is 5 years of age, or until the family no longer wants services.
“While the coronavirus pandemic has changed many things around the world, it has not stopped development.” This statement from Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child encapsulates rapid early brain development even during a global crisis and underlines the urgency to support it.
“We want all families to thrive, but our children don’t come with instruction manuals,” FBPLA Executive Director Ellen Specter said. “Some families with young children (0-5) face social isolation, and trauma as well as language and cultural barriers. In our transplant community, many parents live far away from extended families. Strengthening parents’ abilities to meet their babies’ needs while forming supportive social relationships are key protective factors that can benefit any first time parent.”
Opportunities for making social connections while learning parenting skills are offered through our in-house programs such as breastfeeding classes, infant massage, play dates, circle of security classes, and other community based collaborations such as storytime at the library.
A recent First Born Graduate summed up their experience in the program: “Our family was truly thankful for our experience with the First Born Program. Our home visitor gave us plenty of tools to use in our mental toolbox and also confidence to trust our own judgment. We were helped by our home visitor’s role, as a facilitator for our learning and growth.”
A current participant shared, “As first time parents with little to no experience with babies and kids, the first born program has guided and provided continuous resources to support our daughter’s growth and development. From literally practicing how to hold and change a baby with a doll, to encouraging her to crawl, and now tackling the beautiful and trying toddler stage, the first born program has been there for our family. We consider the first born visitors an extension of our family.”
While facing the damaging effects of the pandemic and disruption of face to face visits, home visitors continued services via TeleHealth Zoom, sent check-in texts, and porch drop-offs for various activities. First Born served 116 families and made 2,515 Zoom visits in 2020. The program is now transitioning back to in-person visits while continuing the option of Zoom visits.