An in-depth class about pregnancy and parenting at the Shawnee County Health Agency is designed to give mothers and their babies a strong start through learning about evidence-based child-rearing practices and some of the practical basics of bringing a newborn home.

Michaela Ramos is expecting her second child, and she found value in attending the six 2½-hour classes that make up Shawnee County Baby Basics.

“Yeah, I’m a mom, but I haven’t done the baby thing in almost 10 years,” she said. “Plus, with a whole decade going by, there’s new information out there. I wasn’t quite as educated as I thought I was on doing the whole baby thing.”

Ramos learned new information about the importance of skin-to-skin contact right after birth and the importance of attending to her own oral health, she said.

Teresa Fisher, family services division manager for the health agency, said many people are surprised about the section on oral health, and it typically isn’t information an obstetrician will think to share.

“What people don’t realize with oral health is every germ that’s in their mouth, whether from sucking on the pacifier or slobbery kissing, that’s going into the baby’s mouth,” she said. “That’s presenting bacteria. We’re not saying don’t kiss your babies. But take good care of your oral health.”

Fisher said the Baby Basics class was born of initiatives by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and March of Dimes’ work to boost parenting education. And with 7 percent of Kansas babies born with low birth weights, according to the 2018 County Health Rankings, and infant mortality still an important issue, any education that can create positive change is important.

The first class was held…

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Mayra Rodriguez

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Mayra Rodriguez
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