Every Wednesday, you’ll find Debbie Jensen at Parenting Now!—devoting her time and attention to supporting and empowering moms and dads.
“Parents have a myriad of questions. The more those questions pile up inside of you, the less confident that you feel. And then you end up feeling incompetent,” Debbie says. “Providing parents with information and support is critical to the well-being of children.”
Debbie, a registered nurse, and her husband, Greg, created the Baby Connection program at Parenting Now! 10 years ago. The weekly, drop-in support group helps moms and dads of young children connect with one another and get information to address pressing concerns.
“Sleep, feeding and spitting up are probably the biggies when it comes to what parents worry about the most,” Debbie says.
Tammy Nezol, who has attended Baby Connection with each of her three children, says: “I struggled a lot with breastfeeding both my first baby and my third. I tried everything and even contacted specialists. When I heard about Debbie’s Baby Connection program, I thought, ‘I’ll see what Debbie has to say about breastfeeding,’ and she was able to help me immediately.”
Tammy’s 6-month-old son is now weighed each week by Baby Connection volunteers, and he’s gaining weight and thriving.
Offering parents support at the earliest stages
In 2010, Lane County was identified as having the highest infant mortality rate in Oregon. Since then, mortality rates have decreased, thanks in part to the work Debbie and Greg provide, along with programs and resources offered by Parenting Now!
Sadie Farmer, a mom of twins and a 3-year-old, says the Baby Connection program and the other support groups she’s attended at Parenting Now! have helped her feel like she’s not alone, when it comes to raising her children. The program’s volunteers, including four credentialed feeding specialists, are knowledgeable in many areas of parenting and able to answer questions.
“Be it breastfeeding, sleeping, behavior, or how to deal with my 3-year-old who doesn’t really love having twins—being able to have that assistance is so valuable.”
Dr. Pilar Bradshaw of Eugene Pediatric Associates says providing parents with support is critical to the overall health of families.
“Honestly, we all need a village. It is not easy to raise a kid. And, really, from a pediatrician’s standpoint, the reason it’s so great to have Parenting Now! is because it improves the health of the child, the family and the whole community,” she says.
Learn more about Parenting Now!
Baby Connections is held every Wednesday morning from 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at Parenting Now!, located at 86 Centennial Loop in Eugene. For parents interested in postpartum support, WellMama meets at Parenting Now! at 12:30 p.m., immediately following Baby Connection.
To learn more about parenting groups and programs at Parenting Now!, click here.