New mom swag is more than just gifts

Originally Published in the Rocky Mount Telegram

Baby Basket

As a rule, newborn babies are pretty special every day at the Nash UNC Heath Care Women’s Center.

But on New Year’s Day, the first baby born is treated like an extra-special prince or princess.

“There is something special about the first baby born in a new year,” said Kim Joyner, a supervisor at the Women’s Center. “New years are about new beginnings and fresh starts and we all tend to get excited about being a part of the first baby being born in our community. It’s something we look forward to being a part of.”

Joyner said all mothers go home with a care package of goodies, but the first baby born on New Year’s Day gets an amped-up basket of presents and supplies.

“A typical going-home package for a new mom and her baby includes things like a blanket, a hat, a shirt, some diapers, wipes and our New Beginnings book, which is a reference book of information a new parent might need,” Joyner said. “The New Year’s Day basket is a little bit bigger,” she added.

Melanie Wallace, owner of Celebrate Living Local, created the 2020 New Year’s Day baby basket of gear and goodies for Nash UNC Health Care. The family with the baby born first in 2020 will get to take the big basket home.

“It was so fun to create the basket and the support from local businesses was phenomenal,” Wallace said. “As a mom of three, I know how important some of these items are to parents — especially if it’s your first baby. We put a lot of thought into the basket and have some fun things, like a stuffed animal and sweets, and some necessities like a webcam monitor and breast pump accessories.”

The basket contains a diaper bag, bibs, a onesie, swaddle blankets, certificates for a vacation getaway, nursing bra, sweet treats for mom, baby teething biscuits, bathing essentials and more. Wallace said all of the items came from a local business or were purchased for the basket by a local business. Wallace estimates the basket is worth about $700.

Nash UNC Health Care spent about $250 on items and the rest of the items were donated. Businesses that contributed were The Classy Couturier, Treanor Chiropractic Wellness Center, Davis Furniture Company, Dream Vacations — Lorie & Bill Cruickshank, TLM Lawn Maintenance, Miranda’s Sweet Addictions, The Insurance Center, BB&T, Double Tree by Hilton, The Treasure Chest Sale, N.C. Wesleyan College Athletics and S&P Embroidery.

“It was a really fun project to work on,” Wallace said. “Picking out sweet things for babies is so fun, and we feel like this basket is a real gift to whoever gets it. I think it’s so neat that Nash UNC does this.”

Joyner said while offering the departing gifts to moms leaving the hospital is a fun part of their job, the overall goal is about more than “free stuff.”

“Many of these mothers are new moms, or they’re worried about resources when they leave the hospital. We know as wonderful as it is to have a newborn, it can be a little scary to go home with a tiny baby — especially for the first time.”

“We try to lessen their anxiety. The diaper bag full of items and the New Beginnings Book is nice, but we encourage them and talk to them and find out what they’re worried about,” Joyner added. “We tell our own motherhood stories, offer a few words of advice or help them connect with resources they need after they leave the hospital.”

Joyner said every staff person in the Women’s Center has the goal of sending home healthy mothers and babies — and continuing that good health while at home.

“Our usual diaper bag of goodies and the big New Year’s basket is our way of making sure our moms know we care and it is a great way we can encourage them,” she said.