The arrival of a new baby begins another chapter in the life of a family. For many families, the expected birth of a child is an exciting and joyful experience. However, for many new parents who are living at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), this time can be quite unsettling and even daunting from a financial perspective. The San Mateo County Health Foundation in partnership with San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC) launched the Bundle of Joy Program in 2010 to assist these new parents as they begin the journey of starting a family.

The Bundle of Joy Program has three phases that are designed to aid these families in a comprehensive manner. Phase One begins when the expectant mother has her first prenatal appointment at one of San Medical Center’s OB/GYN clinics. It is at that first appointment the expectant mother receives a copy of “Prenatal Care Lasts a Lifetime,” written by Tracy Butler, CNM, and Mary Ramirez, NP. This prenatal guide, written in both English and Spanish, details events and experiences the expectant mother may or can expect in the months leading up to and after the baby is born.

Phase Two begins when the mother brings the newborn in for his/her first baby-wellness exam at one  of San Mateo Medical Center’s five Pediatric Clinics. At the conclusion of the baby exam, the new mother is presented with a reusable baby bag filled with diapers, clothing, toys, and other essential baby items donated by generous donors making a difference in our community.

At the end of the baby’s wellness exam, the new mom can register for Phase Three of the program – Newborn Care 101. Taking care of a newborn can be one of the most special and rewarding experiences for a new mother, while at the same time the new mother can feel at a loss at what to do for the newest member of the family. Newborn Care 101 teaches the basics of how to care for your newborn, such as how to tell what the baby needs, bathing, colic, crib safety, and developmental milestones.

Thank you to the many individuals and organizations that assist families as they begin their journey to becoming parents. To learn more about the Bundle of Joy Program and how you can help, contact the San Mateo County Health Foundation at www.smchf.org or call 650-573-2655.