Parenting Together: The Benefits of Supportive Services

As a first-time parent to a one-year-old, I can personally attest to the endless questions that come with raising a baby. And depending on who you ask or what website you reference, you’re bound to get conflicting information, especially now with the countless amounts of information and “must-have” products on the market.

While this is nowhere near exhaustive, let’s break down some of the more recent resources available to local parents when it comes to parenting.

Lactation Support

Many moms hope to be able to breastfeed. That’s where a lactation consultant comes in.

Rebecca Sarwi

“I believe so strongly in the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, I want to help mothers have the tools to be successful,” said RN, Certified Lactation Counselor and certified International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Rebecca Sarwi, who offers home-lactation consultations, as well as prenatal in-home classes.

After serving as an RN and becoming involved with community breastfeeding support groups, Sawri recognized a need in the community.

“I would hear from moms saying, ‘I just wish someone could come to my house to help me!’ New mothers are often fearful of bringing their babies out in public, and it can be difficult for new mothers to get out of the house, especially while they themselves are recovering and adjusting to having a new baby. The option of a home visit was once not an option locally, and now that is available to them.”

“Any couple planning to breastfeed should take a breastfeeding class, and first-time parents should also take a childbirth and newborn class,” said Sawri. “When mothers are properly supported and given the education and tools they need to be successful, breastfeeding can be incredibly empowering for them.”

Serena Piper

Early education

When the time comes to leave your child with a care provider, the pressure to make the right choice can be overwhelming. The Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia (ELCFV) focuses on all things early childhood education and offers resources to help parents make the best choice for their families.

“We see more and more parents working, and it can be very challenging to find flexibility between work and childcare, especially when both parents work,” said Serena Piper, community partnerships coordinator with ELCFV. “We know how important reliable, reputable childcare is, and one of the awesome things we provide is a custom childcare listing.

By completing a brief questionnaire with details like age, desired location and schedule, the database pulls suggested options from the centers ELCFV contracts with.

“It’s a great resource because it helps parents make a well-informed decision,” said Piper. “They know we work with these centers and provide them training and they most likely participate in VPK. It’s more trustworthy than a basic online search. We consider ourselves the experts in early learning, and we love being a resource for families.”

Infant swim safety

Drowning is a preventable tragedy and an epidemic Aqua Journeys Swim School is on a mission to end. That starts at an early age.

“Survival swim lessons have grown in popularity over the past few years, as more parents and caregivers recognize the importance of teaching children water safety and swimming skills at a young age,” said Carly Caldwell with Aqua Journeys. “Pediatricians and healthcare professionals support these lessons and emphasize the importance of early water safety instruction as a preventative measure against drowning.”

When it comes to the right time to consider water safety, Caldwell emphasizes that the earlier, the better.

“Survival swimming lessons may not be for every parent, but it is for every child. You can’t avoid water, but you can prepare your kids. They deserve to have the skills to save themselves. It’s not a “want” but a “need.” Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children under the age of four. Survival swim lessons are part of the solution.”

Sleep Training

JoAnna Inks

I confess that I was a sleep-training doubter; we’re supposed to be up all night and exhausted, right? Wrong! While I could not find a local infant sleep therapist, the gift of connectivity means that you don’t have to be in the same city or even time zone to benefit from this resource. I personally recommend JoAnna Inks with Sleep Solutions Unlimited. Inks came highly recommended by several friends, and I can attest to her superpowers.

“For parents out there who say they aren’t “into” sleep training, I’m a sleep consultant; truth be known, I’m not into sleep training,” said Inks. “It’s not the sleep training part that’s amazing. It’s the result where the child AND the family are well-rested, healthier and happier. I hear it over and over that when a baby or child learns to sleep, it’s nothing short of life-changing!”

Whether you’re a first-time parent or growing your family, navigating parenthood is an ever-changing challenge. Thankfully, the resources available in our community can help you keep juggling!