Homegrown with Hope: Free Support for First Year of Life

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BISMARCK, N.D. - At Sanford's Well Baby Clinic, Lori Bergquist covered a wide range of topics as KFYR crews filmed the weekly clinic. She talked through options to help ease teething pains, tactics to help support women who choose to breastfeed, and told parents when they should contact their doctors for more information.

Across town, the same work is being done for parents at CHI St. Alexius.

"I love helping them feel confident in caring for their baby as they walk out the doors," Danette Heinle, Registered Nurse and Certified Breastfeeding Counselor at CHI St. A's, said with a smile on her face.

The services are free of charge. The employees who staff clinics say it's one of their favorite parts of the job. Many recognize children as they grow from week to week, and may return a few years later with a younger sibling.

While the clinics cover all topics, including bottle-feeding, sleep, diaper rash and head shape, breastfeeding is typically their most commonly addressed issue. Danette says breastfeeding is not a one-person job, and can often require a team to help coach mothers through the process.

"I talk so highly about these ladies just because I don't think I would still be nursing if it wasn't for them. So, eight months and going strong," said Lindsay Boone, mother to a healthy 8-month-old boy.

The questions these experts field throughout the clinic hours are always met with patience and understanding, as these health professionals know how much parents can be dealing with during the first few months of a baby's life. I often come just for the relief of hearing someone say, "You're doing good."

"When I'm having a bad day, when I leave here, I'm not having a bad day anymore," Franklin explained. "Not even just the staff, some of the moms and dads, to sit and chat with them is great."

The employees at both clinics in Bismarck encourage all parents to check out the program, no matter how many children they have raised already. Every child can bring new experiences, questions and challenges. Luckily, the community is ready to help you through them.

Sanford's Well Baby Clinic is held on Tuesdays from 1 - 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. - Noon at the Sanford Children's North Clinic on Interstate Ave. On the first Tuesday of every month, a physical or occupational therapist is available for a free evaluation. The clinic will stay open until 7 p.m. on those days. Sanford sees any child at these clinics, no matter where the baby was delivered.

CHI St. Alexius opens doors at the Technology Education Center on East Main every Wednesday from Noon - 2:30 p.m.

In Williston, a Bringing Baby Home clinic is held twice a month in the Craven Hagen Clinic to weigh and measure baby.

In Minot, parents of the WIC program can access free breastfeeding classes every month.