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Get Trained: Preparing for Baby

BU Maternity Program addresses new parents’ concerns

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Most expecting parents are consumed with an endless to-do list in the months before their baby arrives. They need to outfit the nursery, vet possible names, and attend doctor appointments and birthing classes.

In all this preparation for B-day, parents sometimes fail to plan adequately for what happens after the baby’s birth or adoption, and issues like maternity leave, child care, or the transition back to work get little to no attention.

A new program for BU employees will help address some of those concerns. Staff from both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus are organizing the first Boston University Maternity Program, a one-hour session followed by a question-and-answer period, which will be held on Thursday, March 20. Four presenters will walk employees through BU’s maternity leave policy, present child-care options and family resources, discuss the psychological and emotional hurdles of returning to work, and broach breast-feeding basics. Part of Human Resources Get Trained series, the session is free for all BU employees who are having—or planning to have—a baby or adopting a child or who are intending to help loved ones through this life transition. Depending on the program’s success, organizers hope to host a fall and spring training session every year.

Kristin Gruber-Grunert, director of the Family Resources office and the Children’s Center, says she got the idea for the program after reading recently about a similar, highly successful program at Johns Hopkins. She knew immediately that she wanted to launch a similar program at BU.

“This is genius, and it’s so simple,” says Gruber-Grunert, who quickly pulled together a team of presenters. She hopes attendees will “realize they are not alone and that there are other people going through the same sorts of things.”

As one of the presenters, Gruber-Grunert will discuss resources and services available through her office, such as information on how to find babysitters or choose summer camps and educational and school vacation programs. She’ll also provide information about the Children’s Center, a licensed and accredited early childhood education program for children between two and five of BU families.

Mary Fleming, a consultant at Human Resources, will address federal and state legislation regarding maternity leave, how University benefits can be applied to that leave, and what parents need to do to enroll their child in their health care plan.

Marcy McMahon, an obstetric nurse and lactation consultant at Boston Medical Center, describes her portion of the program as Breast-feeding 101. She plans to discuss why women choose to breast-feed, what they should expect, how they can prepare, and where they can seek help once they return home from the hospital.

“Even if you’ve seen women breast-feeding,” McMahon says, “most people are not aware of breast-feeding behavior.” That can lead some new mothers to give up on the process without seeking help from trained professionals.

To support breast-feeding mothers, BU recently opened its first lactation room. Women will soon be able to reserve time in the private room on the second floor of Human Resources, 25 Buick St., through an online calendar, Gruber-Grunert says.

Bonnie Teitleman (SSW’83), director of the Faculty & Staff Assistance office, will talk about a variety of social and psychological concerns facing new parents as they return to work—including postpartum depression, separation anxiety from their baby, single parenthood, and the complexity and stress of redefining partners’ roles. She also plans to discuss how parents can cope with this new reality.

Returning to work is a source of stress for many new parents, Teitleman says, and “we don’t want to lose good people.”

The Boston University Maternity Program starts at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, in Human Resources Conference Room 3, 25 Buick St., second floor. The session is free and open to BU employees. A Q&A period will follow the presentation. Registration is required.

For more information or questions about BU’s lactation room, contact Kristin Gruber-Grunert at lactroom@bu.edu.

19 Comments
Leslie Friday, BU Today, Boston University
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19 Comments on Get Trained: Preparing for Baby

  • Vika Zafrin on 02.12.2014 at 8:18 am

    This is fabulous! Next step: increase the amount of affordable daycare on campus from pitiful to less pitiful.

  • Ron on 02.12.2014 at 9:34 am

    That’s great that BU is supporting new parents.

    Many new parents in the United States have to deal with a question that parents in other countries don’t: specifically, whether or not to force their child to be circumcised if he’s a boy. I hope that BU medical center will inform parents about the risks and harms of non-consensual circumcision. There are a lot of good resources on the internet that cover possible side effects (and reasons why no one in Europe, east Asia, or south America does it):
    http://www.circumcision.org/
    http://www.intactamerica.org/resources/decision

    Many for-profit hospitals encourage circumcision, while many non-profit hospitals have discouraged the practice for decades. Canada and England both used to engage in infant circumcision until they switched to single-payer healthcare, and then taxpayers decided they didn’t want to pay for an unnecessary cosmetic procedure.

    • Rong on 02.13.2014 at 9:38 am

      Ron,

      It is a fact that the health benefits of male circumcision are medically well established. It is not merely cosmetic any more than brushing your teeth or clipping your nails are merely cosmetic.

      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/3/e756

      “Specific benefits from male circumcision were identified for the prevention of urinary tract infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer.”

      The American Academy of Pediatrics

      • Ron on 02.13.2014 at 2:27 pm

        Penile cancer affects fewer than 1 in 1 million men, and (from Wikipedia on penile cancer:) “[the] American Cancer Society points to the rarity of the disease and notes that neither the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the Canadian Academy of Pediatrics recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

        As for UTIs, women get those as well and it’s not a huge deal when properly treated, certainly not worth a pre-emptive amputation.

        Finally, for prevention of STDs and STIs such as HIV, nothing works as well as a condom. During the 1980s and 1990s when more than 80% of American men were circumcised, it did absolutely nothing to prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs. Condom use is the way to go, not surgery.

        • Rong on 02.14.2014 at 10:27 am

          Ron,

          Removing some skin is not amputation. And such infections can be very harmful. Even if they are not a “big deal” prevention is always better no?

          You are in error in saying that nothing works as well as a condom. In Africa, where AIDS is still an epidemic, condom centered policies have done little to reduce the spread of AIDS. In the African countries where circumcision and lifestyle modification (encouraged monogamy) is the primary focus AIDS has sharply declined.

          Compare Uganda with Kenya for example.

          Plus you are creating a false dilemma (either/or) in suggesting that a thin layer of latex verses the removal of some excess skin are the only choices.

          It is dramatic to call it surgery or amputation. But it is also silly.

          Do you also crusade against ear piercings?

          But do not take my word for it. Would you trust the WHO? http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/malecircumcision/en/

  • Amy on 02.12.2014 at 10:19 am

    What a wonderful program! Is there any discussion of extending the program to include students or establishing another specifically geared towards their circumstances?

    • Kristin on 02.12.2014 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for this question, Amy. We can certainly look at planning another session that is geared towards students and their specific circumstances. I am not sure if students can register for these sessions, but you may want to contact HR to speak with someone about the Get Trained Series to see if it is also open to students.

  • Susan on 02.12.2014 at 10:30 am

    Thank you, Kristen, for helping to implement this idea at BU – long overdue.

    • Kristin on 02.12.2014 at 2:21 pm

      I am glad that you are excited about this program. I am hoping that people will find the session informative and helpful!

  • Annabel on 02.12.2014 at 11:59 am

    OK, one lactation room is better than none – but one, at 25 Buick Street? Let’s say you work at, I don’t know, CAS, and it’s time to pump:

    1) Pack up pump and leave the office – 5 minutes.
    2) Walk, T, or drive to 25 Buick Street. – 10-15 minutes
    3) Get in the room, plug in your pump, attach the tubes and bottles, start. 5-10 minutes
    4) Pump. 10-20 minutes
    5) Unplug, unattach, make sure the milk lids are on tightly, prep cold storage container, pack up. 10-15 minutes.
    6) Walk, T, or drive back to CAS. 10-15 minutes.

    Even at the most conservative estimate (and this is not exaggerated times, it’s just a long process) that’s 50 minutes away from the office for 10 minutes of pumping. Repeat in two to three hours and don’t forget to have that productivity conversation with your boss before you have to leave at 5 on the dot for daycare pickup.

    Sorry, BU – good effort but not good enough.

    • Kristin on 02.12.2014 at 2:20 pm

      This is a very valid point and something that is currently being explored for other locations on campus as well. We are excited about this first room and understand that more are needed.

      • Shelley T on 02.12.2014 at 2:54 pm

        Thanks for all you are doing! According to this, there’s also a lactation room on the BU Medical Campus: http://www.bu.edu/sph/students/student-services/nursing-mothers/.

        I have also heard rumors about one opening in the School of Theology (STH) on the main campus, but I haven’t been able to verify it. If it does exist, or if it’s in the works, that would certainly be more convenient for someone at, say, CAS. Have you heard anything about this, Kristin?

        • Kristin on 02.12.2014 at 3:35 pm

          I do know of the lactation room on the Medical Campus but I am not aware of one in the School of Theology. I can look into this. Thank you for sharing.

        • J on 02.12.2014 at 3:44 pm

          There is one at 1010 Comm Ave (BUworks). I seem to remember there may have been one at SED. I suspect that there may be informal ones sprinkled around BU.

          • Kristin on 02.12.2014 at 3:53 pm

            I believe these are probably informal rooms that have been established in specific departments where there has been a need.

  • Sarah on 02.12.2014 at 1:46 pm

    Notice the complete lack of mention of paternity leave- which BU does not offer. The USA’s maternity leave policies are the worst in the developed world (http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/02/17/opinion/17coontz2-map.html). BU has a chance to ACTUALLY support families and parents by providing childcare, generous paid leave for birth or adoptive parents regardless of gender, and broader support of breastfeeding. I hope this is just a first step towards those improvements.

  • Pamela on 02.12.2014 at 3:05 pm

    This is wonderful news! I hope this is the first step of many towards implementing support for new parents at BU. I especially hope that these policies and programs get extended to graduate students as well.

  • MJ on 02.14.2014 at 12:55 am

    Why is this program limited to employees? BU has tons of grad students who would benefit from such a program. Just shows, again, how shortsighted this school is with support student-parents (or student parents-to-be). Harrumph.

  • Kristin on 02.16.2014 at 8:35 pm

    MJ – We are looking at offering another session of this program for students as well. This session is the pilot of the program, but we hope to offer it in the future separate from the Get Trained series so it can be accessed by students as well. Thank you for your feedback.

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