Making Sure Babies & Moms Have What They Need

Lindaanne Quinn celebrated the birth of her third child, Aurora, on Dec. 28, 2017, at Baptist Medical Center Nassau.

After the euphoria wore off and reality set in, Quinn, a 31-year-old mother of three without health insurance, realized she did not have a single newborn necessity — not even a stuffed animal. Then she remembered that Healthy Start Nassau had helped her out after her first child was born.

“I asked my maternity nurse if Healthy Start was still around, and she said, ‘Yes. Would you like us to contact them?” recalled Quinn, a stay-at-home mom.

A voluntary educational and supportive program for pregnant women and families with children under the age of 3, Healthy Start Nassau, which is located right across the street from Baptist Nassau, provides a number of free services, including breastfeeding support, developmental screenings and discounted car seats. The program also provides follow-up services, like home visitations.

In 2017, Baptist Nassau Women’s Services partnered with Healthy Start Nassau to increase client knowledge and access to Healthy Start services. Evidence shows that meeting a program representative while in the hospital increases enrollment and long-term participation.

Kathy Allen, a case coordinator at Healthy Start Nassau, met Quinn at Baptist Nassau a day after Aurora was born. “She basically came to us in crisis. And, in a way, the baby was in crisis, too,” said Allen. “But I could tell Lindaanne was very loving and had bonded well with her baby. She was a good mom who just needed some extra help during a rough patch.”

Quinn’s first child, Anson, was born at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville in 2008 with a cleft palate and couldn’t breast feed. Healthy Start Nassau gave her a free breast pump. Quinn suffered from postpartum depression after that pregnancy as well, and a Healthy Start case coordinator helped her get through that tough time, too.

“I was an extremely overwhelmed new mom, but I knew all I had to do was call Healthy Start if I had any questions,” said Quinn, whose son had cleft palate surgery at Wolfson Children’s.

“Even if they do not choose to participate, the visit provides all families with information about safe sleep for infants and preventing shaken baby syndrome,” said Lynne Grinold, nurse manager of Labor and Delivery at Baptist Nassau. “In the future, we hope our pilot program will be a model for other counties.”

Maternity nurses at Baptist Nassau rallied around Quinn by digging into their pockets to provide the co-pay for a discounted car seat. “That’s the kind of partnership we have with Baptist Nassau,” said Allen. “Things are much more stable now for Lindaanne and her family. And best of all, Aurora is thriving. She’s a happy and healthy little girl whom everybody just loves.”

Added Quinn: “Before I left the hospital, Healthy Start made sure I had diapers, wipes, blankets, and a sleep sack. They even gave me a portable crib to take with me. I don’t know what I would have done without them. They’re like part of the family.”