Our Support Program for New Parents


Parents and newborns attending The Parent Connection's New Parents Group. Photo taken PRE-COVID. Ask anyone who has children what it's like to be a parent, and you are likely to get a full range of responses that typically boil down to "it's the most wonderful, challenging and life-changing experience you can imagine." It's often difficult to adequately articulate exactly what that means, and even harder to comprehend, until you are living it.

The Parent Connection is BIDMC's free service offering support groups and mentoring for new parents. To learn more about The Parent Connection, you can email Christine Sweeney, LICSW, call 617-667-BABY (2229) or watch our video below. Also, check out our Baby Know How blog.

From Couplehood to Parenthood: A Pre-Baby Workshop for Couples

While you may have prepared your home for baby's arrival and taken childbirth education classes, the most important "home" to prepare before baby arrives is your relationship as parents. This free, one-session workshop available solely to couples delivering at BIDMC is recommended during the last trimester of pregnancy. We'll combine information with exercises and group discussion addressing:

  • What to expect in the newborn period and strategies to protect and nurture your relationship during the fourth trimester
  • How experiences in our family of origin influence how we will parent
  • How to care for each other and your relationship during the biggest adjustment of your life!

All workshops are remote via Zoom. Register for our ‘From Couplehood to Parenthood: A Workshop for Couples’ here.

Breastfeeding Support

We are now offering both in-person and virtual breastfeeding support.

Weekly In-Person Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding is a wonderful and natural way to feed your baby. This is especially true during the fourth trimester. We are happy to be able to offer a space for practice and support. We offer in-person breastfeeding support for the lactating caregiver and their baby age 0-12 weeks, with our IBCLC Lactation Consultant.

In order to align with the BIDMC Infection Control Policies, to keep you and the baby safe, we are only able to invite the lactating caregiver and baby to these sessions.

When: Wednesdays: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Cost: Free!

  • Registration is required for each session
  • Please sign up for one session at a time (If you are not pre-registered, we would not be able to accommodate you during that particular time)

Where: 5 Feldberg Solarium, East Campus 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA

Register

Virtual Breastfeeding Support

This resource is designed for families age newborn through the end of their breastfeeding journey. The purpose of this weekly question and answer opportunity is to support families as they progress along their breastfeeding journey. Common topics include general breastfeeding, pumping, returning to work, breastfeeding and the addition of solid food and weening. These weekly sessions are hosted by an IBCLC via Zoom.

When: Wednesdays 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm on Zoom
Cost: Free!

  • Registration is required for each session
  • Please sign up for one session at a time

Register

New Parent Classes

Beth Israel Lahey Health makes your health and safety our biggest priority. If you have questions about our meetings or infection control policies, please call 617-667-2229.

Christine Sweeney, LICSW, CLC and Marge Day, LICSW, CLC lead new Parent Classes, in Chestnut Hill and Dedham. Our experts are Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Certified Lactation Counselors, each with over 25 years of experience supporting new parents in adjusting to the amazing and often overwhelming transition to parenthood.

We create warm, welcoming and safe spaces to address the joys and challenges common in the newborn period, offering insight, information, and empathy with perspective and humor.

As Certified Lactation Counselors, we can answer many of your breastfeeding and bottle feeding questions, and are committed to empowering parent’s decision making around ALL feeding choices. Classes cover topics such as going back to work, coping with newborn sleep patterns, newborn and infant developmental milestones, the baby blues vs postpartum mood disorders and more.

Classes also serve to help parents make connections with other parents in their community and reduce the isolation that is so common in the newborn period.

Chestnut Hill/Brookline/Newton
Every Monday, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, MA
Please park on Suffolk Road and enter through the back entrance of the church, which is located adjacent to 65 Suffolk Road, Chestnut Hill, MA.

Dedham
Every Wednesday, 9:30 am - 11:00 am
Dedham Health and Athletic Complex, 200 Providence Highway, Dedham

Working Parents and Second Time Parents Group
Meetings will continue on Zoom

Occurs two Thursdays per month, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Register Here

Please note: We will be following Beth Israel Lahey Health COVID-19 guidelines for in-person group meetings. Please do not attend group if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness.

Individuals may not attend group if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days.

Mentoring Program

Parents are matched with a trained, volunteer mentor who provides weekly phone call support through the first 12 weeks post-delivery. Mentors lend valuable support, encouragement and reassurance as well as resource information particularly around breastfeeding, or when to call your pediatrician.

As mentors initiate calls during the first days home from the hospital, they are often in a position to recognize early signs of a postpartum mood disorder and thereby help families get connected to the appropriate health care provider as early as possible.

To register for our Mentoring Program, email the Parent Connection your name, baby’s name and phone number.

Testimonials
The Parent Connection is an award winning program that has received rave reviews from participating families:

"My family was unable to travel from China because of COVID, so we felt all alone with our baby. My mentor, Casey, was so helpful. She understands my culture from home and life here. I don’t know what I would have done without our weekly calls."

"I was so very worried about going back to work because I had so many questions about pumping and logistics. The breastfeeding support group has been amazing. It's so helpful to talk with others who are going through something similar."

"The new parent support group is what got me through the early stages of being a new mom. Getting out of the house, meeting new friends, and receiving advice from people with older babies were all invaluable. You have so many questions as a new parent. But having a place to go weekly where your concerns can be addressed and your anxiety can be eased is really truly a blessing."

"I just want to give a huge 'thank you' and tell you how much the mentor program has meant to me. My mentor has not only been there to answer my questions, but most importantly she has helped me to believe in my abilities and trust my instincts as a mother. I rely on her weekly calls, and just knowing someone will be there to listen is something I cherish. Kudos to BIDMC for having such amazing resources for their patients that extends far beyond the delivery room!"