Like many expectant and new mothers who live locally, Laura McCabe of Sudbury read infant care books and took childbirth and breastfeeding classes at Emerson Hospital. Eager to learn what to expect in her infant daughter’s developmental, she signed up for Emerson’s class “Your Infant: The First Eighteen Months, It’s All About Movement” this past February.
The four-week program is taught by Acton resident Mary Evans, PT, MS, DPT, CEIS, a certified early intervention specialist with a doctorate in physical therapy. Topics include fine and gross motor developmental milestones in the first 18 months and how to facilitate them; keeping your baby calm; infant massage; and age-appropriate toys and equipment. Each class includes a presentation, play time and handouts.
McCabe said that she appreciated being able to attend the classes with her daughter, Summer Noelle, who was delivered at Emerson by certified nurse-midwife Sherriann Perivolotis of AFA Obstetrics & Gynecology in December. She also enjoyed the small class size and informal structure, which encouraged lots of questions.
Although Summer occasionally napped through class, she particularly enjoyed the massage portion which McCabe continues to perform at home as a relaxing bonding experience between them. She also makes sure that Summer has appropriate “tummy time,” which leads babies to gain head control and develop the core strength necessary to learn to crawl, sit up and walk safely. Similarly, she was surprised to learn that some equipment on the market isn’t good for babies’ development because it induces upright positions prematurely.
“The class is a good way to understand what to expect beyond the first three months, which is all you usually read about,” said McCabe, noting that her reading time has greatly diminished since Summer’s birth. “It’s also important to me to know all the milestones, so I can be sure that my daughter is doing things at the right time.”
Evans, who has more than 20 years of experience working with babies and their parents in home and outpatient settings, said she is pleased that Emerson offers this one-of-a-kind class. “There’s so much information out there that it’s hard to determine what’s important,” she said. “I provide the research-based facts that parents need to feel confident about their knowledge and parenting skills, and really enjoy the early years with their child.”
The class “Your Infant: The First Eighteen Months, It’s All About Movement” runs on Wednesdays, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., from May 7-28 and June 4-25 at the Emerson Hospital Health Center located at 133 Littleton Road in Westford. The cost is $75.
For more information and to register, call (978) 287-3777 or visit www.emersonhealthyliving.org. Space is limited.
Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Sudbury, Groton and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.