The First Steps program at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center offers information, education and support for new parents who deliver their babies at WGMC. The program is funded primarily through WGMC, with additional grant money from the Governor’s Office of Children and Families.
Topics addressed in the information packets distributed to new parents are a “Baby’s First Year” developmental calendar and a community resource guide to connect parents to local services for families with newborns. First Steps program coordinator Norma Tucker and a team of volunteers provide follow-up support with home visits and monthly newsletters to help parents during the first three months following delivery.
In 2012, the WGMC First Steps program, in conjunction with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, launched the Period of PURPLE Crying program, an evidence-based infant abuse prevention program that educates parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking an infant.
The program, which was developed to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome, is offered to families of all new babies born at WGMC. It includes a 10-minute DVD, plus a 10-page booklet that parents and caregivers will view and receive at the hospital. The DVD and booklet is theirs to keep and share with other caregivers of their child.
When presented these materials at the hospital, the First Steps program staff will talk with the family about normal infant crying and how to cope during frustrating times of increased infant crying.