Baby Dream Team: Main Line Family Education and Confident Parenting Introduce ‘New Parent Support Package’
Virtual one-on-one support from two of the Main Line’s most trusted—and awarded—baby professionals.
“I’m not ready to go, can you come home with me?”
Nicole Didizian, RN-BSN, CBC, CCE, began Main Line Family Education (MLFEd) to help build that proverbial “village” we always hear about but are never given the map to. In her 11 years working in Labor and Delivery at Main Line Health, Nicole noticed that the time she could spend with her patients was getting shorter and shorter, and “the moms I was discharging were more and more anxious.” In her own experience as a new mother, the 4th Trimester had also felt isolating and uncertain.
Main Line Family Education provides expectant and new parents with small group classes, private classes, and the opportunity to connect with other new families, all in a cozy studio space in Devon. In planning MLFEd’s offerings, Nicole is able to use her childbirth and newborn expertise to help new parents in a non-hospital setting, and offer classes taught by licensed professionals including nurses, lactation consultants, physical therapists, psychologists, and of course sleep consultants.
“I know a sleep whisperer—you have to meet her.”
When Nicole was looking to expand MLFEd’s classes to include the crucial topic of sleep, one name kept coming up. Erica Desper started Confident Parenting one year after the birth of her son (now 10 years old!), having been through challenges with no clear answers. “He just didn’t sleep, and there was no one to guide me through why,” she describes. “I decided that if no one was there to help me through it, I would help other parents.” A Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, and Postpartum Certified Doula, Erica helps parents understand how sleep works, why it isn’t working, and how to help in an age-appropriate way. Over the past nine years, she has worked with the families of over 1,000 babies and children!
“We realized we were both in the Main Line Parent Community, and we met again at the Community Builders’ Luncheon,” Nicole recalls. Both Main Line Parent LOVE Award Winners, the two teamed up to bring classes on Newborn Sleep—plus a sleep class for parents of older babies and kids, “Why Won’t My Child Sleep?!”—to Main Line Family Education.
As more parents joined classes to support their journeys, Nicole and Erica noticed a trend: that of expectant parents taking the newborn sleep class to know what challenges await them, and how to manage them.
“People love this so much, what if we teamed up together and offered private access to us?”
When COVID-19 hit, Main Line Family Education found new ways to keep that face-to-face support going while being apart. Eleven of their 12 classes are now being taught virtually, including Childbirth Preparation, Newborn Basics, Achieving Milestones, Mom & Baby Meetups, and CPR classes—with written materials, videos, and personalized Q&A to support the Microsoft Teams meetings. All of the sudden, MLFEd had a much broader geographical range than the Main Line, where the majority of their in-person clients reside. “We’re now meeting and working with expectant parents from both coasts, as well as internationally,” Nicole shares. “With virtual meetings and classes, families can join us from literally anywhere.”
But for new parents who are feeling more isolated and overwhelmed with “firsts” than ever before, Nicole and Erica wanted to do more. Their New Parent Support Package allows them to be “hands-on without being hands-on,” as Nicole puts it. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, parents are able to remotely get one-on-one access to both experts after delivery for eight weeks. In the time of coronavirus, this option is a safe and budget-friendly way to get support, exactly when it’s needed the most.
It begins with a 60-minute video chat with both pros, and then 20-minute weekly check-ins via phone or video chat. In the first four weeks, parents will cover newborn care support with Nicole—covering everything from feeding to soothing to parents’ physical and emotional recovery. With these check-ins, parents can show Nicole what they are doing, and she will walk them through it with tips and encouragement.
Then, “after you survive the first month,” you spend the final four weeks with Erica, who provides newborn sleep support. Parents learn what newborn sleep looks like, how to develop a healthy routine, and even how to maximize their own sleep during this crazy time!
In addition to these scheduled check-ins, the New Parent Support Package includes daily email support, and discounts for future classes and sleep support with both Main Line Family Education and Confident Parenting. Plus, you get two of the most connected and experienced baby professionals in the area. “The great thing about us teaming up is that once a parent meets us, they’ll have access to other resources as well. They’re not going to have to search and vet or ask around,” Erica says. In fact, MLFEd and Confident Parenting are two of 10 local, family-focused businesses that make up the Confident Parenting Village. Erica is the founder, and the group includes resources for maternal mental health, in-home pediatric physical therapy, babyproofing, family photography, and more.
When our “village” looks more like a laptop screen than sitting cross-legged in a sunny room, this is more valuable than ever. “I love doing what I do because it gives parents that confidence that I saw lacking,” says Nicole. “Yes, it’s our work but it’s our work because it is what we are so passionate about.”
Main Line Family Education and Confident Parenting support the Main Line Parent Community.