Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies gives families a great start
Story by Kerri Robins; photo courtesy Glacier Valley Photography
Local mother Kerri Rombough readily admits she’s picked up a thing or two about creating healthy habits for herself and her three kids.
“The program is great and I’ve learned so much being part of it,” says Rombough, holding her third child, one-year-old Emma.
“Every month we receive a fresh food box with really tasty fruits and vegetables — Emma’s favourites are oranges and apples.”
Public Health nurses Liz Sansome and Marnie Steiner run the program at the health centre.
“The program in Vulcan is free for any pregnant teen, as well as women living on a low income,” says Sansome.
The program, which operates in a number of areas around southern Alberta, promotes three main goals: healthy weights for mom during pregnancy and their infants up to six months; positive maternal mental health; and child safety, both prenatal and during the first six months of life.
Moms can be referred through community services, their family doctor, a family member or, in some cases, by self-referral.
There are plenty of smart calories in this program for the whole family, with everything from subsidized fresh food boxes, to food coupons, parenting education sessions, breast-feeding advice, counselling services and crisis help.
Moms also have the opportunity to learn how to manage finances, control debt and may receive help to secure grants for their education.
Monthly cooking circles are one of the highlights of Vulcan’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program.
“Our cooking circle is at a local church kitchen, where we have a home economist come in and cook with our moms,” says Sansome.
“It’s fun watching them learn food nutrition, best practices in grocery shopping and how to cook foods to bring out the best qualities and taste — and their babies are close by in another room accompanied by qualified babysitters, giving the moms peace of mind.”
Rombough says she has nothing but praise for the program.
“As a single mom, it’s been nice being part of the cooking circle and learning so much about nutrition for my family,” she says. “Understanding the importance of health and wellness during children’s early years has been valuable, and I’ll certainly take that information with me and build on it as my family grows up.”
The cooking circle and the fresh food boxes in Vulcan cost $250 per month, funded by the Vulcan Health Care Auxiliary and the Vulcan Elks Community Group, with support from the Vulcan County Health & Wellness Foundation. In every area, it’s donor funding that supports the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program.
Scott Mitchell, Chair of the Vulcan County Health & Wellness Foundation, says he’s pleased with the program and the hands-on care moms and babies in the community are receiving.
“It’s a great grassroots program and is important for our families who might not have other support in the community,” says Mitchell. “Our community helps make it a success.”
For more information on Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies in Vulcan, call 403-485-2285, or your local community health centre. Also, please visit www.vchwfoundation.com