A few weeks ago, our office had a visitor. While our Menomonee Falls location has many advantages, it’s often not the most convenient place for mothers in need. As a result, we often end up referring them to a community partner, who can deliver their crib and provide safe sleep education in the home.
When mothers do come, more often than not, I’m busy attending to other matters or out of the office for meetings. It was a treat, then, to encounter this particular visitor. A new member, she was accompanied by her infant son. He was a bigger baby than I’m used to seeing in our office, close to eight months. In fact, that’s what brought his mother to us. Often, the City of Milwaukee health department will provide residents with a portable crib – but only those under six months old. Older babies remain at risk from the dangers of co-sleeping, so we at HOPE Network fill that gap, serving families until the baby nears the manufacturer’s weight limit of 35 pounds at around one year of age. But I digress.
I kept a respectful distance from our eight month-old visitor, recalling from my own children’s younger years that stranger anxiety sets in around eight months. I waved a few fingers and smiled from a few feet away. To my delight, he gurgled back with a dimpled grin, and his mom invited me to hold him. I hesitated. She explained, “He’s breastfed; he’s very secure,” but I remained skeptical. Would you believe she was right? That little bundle was just as happy as could be while his mom filled out paperwork. I had to give him back to help demonstrate the Pack & Play assembly, but he returned later easily while mom packed up. I just contemplated the wonderful maternal bond I had the privilege of witnessing.
I haven’t seen the family again yet, but I hope that they will find value in being a part of HOPE Network. I know I certainly found value in my time with them. It verified what I already knew: we are a community that values and nurtures maternal-child bonding. And those bonds are what give babies a strong start in every way.