Baby & Me promotes learning through play, provides support and community connections for parents

Every week, parents and babies gather at Baby & Me to share their joys and concerns from the week. Often, parents come with questions about feeding or sleeping, and are excited to share news of a recent milestone, such as crawling, clapping and learning to wave. Parents discuss a topic related to child development or parenting, ranging from baby sign language to family traditions, and end the hour singing and playing with their babies.

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley offers Baby & Me groups weekly in six locations in partnership with area hospitals as part of United Way St. Croix Valley’s Success By 6 initiative. Family Resource Center parent educator Kristine Brede facilitates the group on Thursday evenings at Osceola Medical Center. She says it has been rewarding to see the families form relationships with each other through their participation in the group. “I love having both mothers and fathers participating and singing the songs together! It has also been great to see the families connect outside of the group,” said Kristine. “They have created great friendships for the adults as well as the children.”

Kat Benti of St. Croix Falls participates in the group with her eight-month-old son Liam. She said, “I come to this class because it’s a fantastic opportunity for my son to socialize with other babies as well as me to meet other moms.” She added that they have enjoyed learning new games and songs at Baby & Me, and that the class has helped Liam with his gross motor skills.

Dr. Nicole Smith, family medicine provider at Osceola Medical Center, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Family Resource Center’s programs for families. “Baby & Me classes provide a wonderful opportunity for parents – especially first-time parents – to discuss their child’s development and milestones with a parent educator and other parents,” said Dr. Smith. “The group fosters the development of a support system with other parents, and their ‘learning through play’ approach also is instrumental in a baby’s development.”

In addition to Osceola Medical Center, our Success By 6 partners include Allina Health, Amery Hospital & Clinic, St. Croix Regional Medical Center, Western Wisconsin Health and Westfields Hospital & Clinic. Baby & Me groups are open to all families with infants up to 1 year, and there is no cost to participate.

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