LIMA — Instead of focusing on infant mortality, some local agencies hosted a baby shower to highlight infant vitality on Saturday.
UnitedHealthcare, Health Partners of Western Ohio and Help Me Grow hosted the first Community Baby Shower at the Bradfield Community Center to pamper and educate mothers-to-be or new moms.
Vendors, agencies and sponsors set up booths in the gymnasium offering information to attendees and all residents were invited.
Tamara Drayton, a Relationship Specialist with UnitedHealthcare, said part of the reason for the shower was the state’s low ranking when it comes to infant mortality.
Ohio is the worst for African-American infant mortality, and 48 for overall infant mortality, she said.
“We have to change some of the things we’re doing,” she said. “Change comes through education.”
The La Leche League of Lima, a breast-feeding support group, hosted one of the tables, and were offering information about breast pumps and breast-feeding to passersby.
The group hosts a support group on the second Tuesday of each month at St. Charles Catholic Church from 7 to 9 p.m., said Debbie Schymanski, leader of the group.
“If they’re concerned about breast-feeding, we’re available to help,” she said. “We try to give basic information.”
Tiffany Daum, 23, and an expectant mother due in September, attended the shower after hearing about it at her doctor’s office.
“This is really cool and nice,” said Daum, who got more information on breast-feeding and “goodies” she hopes to use for her baby boy.
“This is awesome,” she said. “I’ve never been to anything like this.”
The shower was partly a kick-off event for a program through Health Partners called “Baby Steps,” a group intended to offer everything new parents and expectant parents need for their home to thrive, said Byron Selden, director of community engagement and provider recruiting at Health Partners of Western Ohio.
“It doesn’t stop here,” he said. The program will be hosted every Tuesday, beginnin Sept. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bradfield Community Center.
At the end of the three-hour event, the host agencies hoped that the some 75 mothers in attendance got “an overall sense of how to take care of not only [their] baby, but” themselves and their family, said Monica Peace, senior event specialist with UnitedHealthcare.
“It starts with the baby, it starts young,” she said. “We want to educate … on how to properly care for and keep the child healthy.”
Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.