by Valerie Harkins, Director of Maternity Housing Coalition
The Maternity Housing Coalition (MHC) is excited to announce three features available to Heartbeat International affiliates.
a. This tool is free to all affiliates.b. An online application is built into the tool. With the application feature, affiliated homes receive an email with a snapshot of the potential client's information including her name, gestation, current location, and if she currently has a safe place to stay.c. Affiliate homes are matched with a woman based on the intake information entered. When you reach out to connect with this young woman, you are already prepared with the information you need to have a successful and fruitful conversation.
a. Option Line is available 24/7, including holidays, to assist women applying for maternity housing.
a. Maternity home affiliates can forward calls to Option Line after hours as a complementary benefit of affiliation. When your office is closed, even during meetings or events, Option Line is here to assist women attempting to contact your maternity home.b. Option Line is bilingual! This gives you peace of mind knowing that even Spanish-speaking callers are being served.c. Click here to learn how to take advantage of this benefit.
Next Step: Click here to register to be added to the housing locator tool today! We aim to create a robust directory of maternity homes where you can list your services so women can be connected and served even faster. With our partnership with Option Line, we will reach even more!
by Mary Peterson, Housing Specialist of Heartbeat International
Fall is here! With this great season, we think about football, pumpkin spice, and…baby safety?!?! Yep, in addition to being the time of shifting weather and changing leaves, September is recognized as Baby Safety Month.
In the spirit of recognizing the role of having a safe environment, here are a few safety tips that impact a group living environment, especially with newborns:
1. Wash your hands. When you read about promoting health, especially in group environments, handwashing is ALWAYS mentioned as the key starting place. Whether it’s singing silly songs, giving the stink eye, or side-by-side modeling the behavior, figure out a way to create a culture of clean hands. (Note: Stink eye, while a technique used by moms everywhere, should be used only in special circumstances.) If pretty-smelling soap promotes the distraction of germs, it’s worth the investment!
2. Use products according to directions and the child’s age, weight, and developmental needs. That’s the big one given by the promoters of Baby Safety Month so I thought I should feature it! At maternity homes, we are pretty good at “making do”—but when it comes to the well-being of our little ones, I like the motto, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
3. Be attentive to sleep safety! It’s a tough one to convince sleep-deprived mamas and nearly impossible to regulate, I know! But having safe practices around sleep will give peace of mind and hopefully, better sleep to everyone involved. Maybe we could share creative ways to talk about safe sleeping in our Facebook group?!?
4. Be attentive. Watching moms engage deeply with their child(ren) is one of the joys of maternity home life. Whether engaging playfully, meeting the baby’s needs, or watching for safety hazards, homes should be a source of encouragement for the mother’s active participation in the life of her child. The habit of managing distractions—especially with gadgets constantly at our fingertips—is a great life lesson!
5. Prevent slips, trips, and falls. These everyday hazards are a common threat to kids—and adults!—of the house. Pregnant women may not easily see the underfoot and falling objects that can be dangerous to infants on the ground or in cribs. Be aware of cords, ice, and other hazards. Teach the adults of the house (staff, volunteers, and residents) to turn on “risk assessment” eyes as they observe the environment!
Let’s raise a pumpkin spice latte to the safety of our homes! May they be places of well-being and protection!
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