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Health Unit offers support programs for expecting mothers, new babies


The Webster County Health Unit offers multiple programs for new babies and expectant mothers to meet the needs of the community. Through the health unit, those who qualify can tap into an abundance of information, classes and programs to help families adjust to ever-changing recommendations and help those in need with necessary supplies to raise a healthy baby in a safe space.

“We offer breastfeeding peer counseling for expecting and new mothers,” said Kayla Cummins, who works at the Webster County Health Unit as a peer counselor. “I do prenatal care fo the WIC program. Those who have babies and need help with issues such as latching, or questions or concerns they have.”

According to Cummins, the health unit offers classes to ease into the breastfeeding adjustment for new mothers. At these classes, participants receive a special gift for their babies… at the first class they get a hat, second class offers an outfit and at the last class, mothers receive a quilt for their infant.

“The quilts are handmade from Newborns in Need, we get them from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Mansfield,” she added. “They provide us with all the outfits, breastfeeding covers, receiving blankets and things like that.” 

The health unit also rents out hospital-grade breast pumps for a one-time fee of $5 for those who are WIC participants as well as correctly-fitting carseats for the same small fee.

We have a couple employees available for carseat inspections – that’s not for an extra carseat, but for somebody who maybe can’t afford one at this time or don’t have a safe carseat – it’s a $5 fee and they get a safe carseat for their child,” said Cummins. “If you are on medicaid or have food stamps, you should be able to qualify for WIC, just come in and see.”

In an effort to ensure that children have a safe space to sleep, the health unit has partnered with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to offer safe cribs to eligible Missouri families. According to Candace Minton, RN and Program Coordinator, “The program provides safe portable cribs, fitted sheets, and safe sleep education to families who have no other resources for obtaining a crib… there is no cost for families to participate.”

“It really is a lot of good education. I encourage mom and dad, grandparents, anyone who’s going to be involved with the baby to go through this class because these recommendations do change constantly.”

Eligible families include those struggling with unemployment or underemployment, lack of education, inadequate housing, domestic violence, chronically ill children and a lack of transportation. Once eligibility is assessed, families receive individualized information on how to provide a safe sleeping environment for their infants. 

“It’s basically trying to prevent co-sleeping to prevent SIDS and sudden infant death,” Minton said. “I send the application in and they do have to be approved by the state… if they’re approved they’ll send us a crib, we’ll do the class and then they get to go home with the free crib.”

“Basically, if there’s a need, we really want to be part of making sure that need is met,” added Scott Allen. “We don’t want infants to go with unmet needs when we do have these services available. If there’s a need, reach out and let’s see what we can do to get it taken care of.”

For more information on any of the programs supporting new mothers, infants and their families, contact the health unit at (417) 859-2532.


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