Obstetrics nurses know that newborns aren’t the only people in need of babying. Rookie parents often need it, too. From that knowledge was born a new business for Grace Diegel and Karyn Lasin.
The two veteran nurses, who have worked with prenatal, obstetrics and postpartum patients, founded BabyMe a year ago to ease the transition from the hospital to home for new parents. They say hospitals offer house calls in extreme cases and nursing services will come in to care for the newborn, but theirs is the only infant care tutorial company of its kind in the Chicago area.
Hospitals often give instructions to new parents on childcare, but, Diegel says parents can be so swept up in the commotion during their hospital stay that the advice doesn’t sink in.
“It’s so overwhelming when you’re in the hospital,” Diegel says “You’re tired. There are a lot of visitors, and you can miss it.
“We know what they don’t get.”
BabyMe gives parents a night alone with their newborn after they leave the hospital to figure out what they don’t know. That way they can ask more pointed questions when Diegel and Lasin arrive. During a two-hour visit, the nurses review basic infant care issues such as bottle sterilization and nail clipping.
“Until you’ve practiced, if you don’t have newborn experience, it really can be quite intimidating,” says Diegel. “It’s nice to have someone to show you instead of just reading it [in baby care books] by yourself.”
“For new parents, I think it’s great,” says Yogi Yedlin, a new father on Chicago’s North Side, who used the program after the birth of his son last year. “They teach you how to wash the baby for the first time, feeding procedures, how to do it the right way.”
The nurses also give the parents a list of “newborn essentials,” recommending certain baby items. They do not endorse any particular brand, however.
Likewise, the nurses are quick to point out that there’s not one right way to raise a child. As such, they always stress personal confidence over any particular method of childcare. “Our true philosophy is that the parents do it better,” Lasin says. “We’re just sort of like a baby tutor.”
The cost is $275, including an infant CPR training course and a follow-up call. BabyMe gets its clients from referrals from friends or doctors. Business has been sporadic, Diegel and Lasin say. For now, the nurses are keeping their day jobs.
For information, call (312) 222-9770.
Andy Rathbun, Medill News Service