Baby talk
Program for mothers continues

Glen Vienneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 03/00) - A prenatal nutrition program continues to offer worthy services to Yellowknife mothers and mothers-to-be.

The Healthy Baby Club program, offered at the Yellowknife Women's Centre on 48 St., has become popular with those needing support.

"Our mandate is to promote a healthy pregnancy," said Lori MacMillan, who has co-ordinated the program since last September.

Although the program's name is unique to every region, it falls under the domain of the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, which is funded by the Health Canada.

MacMillan, along with nutritionist Tanya Griffore, work together to offer three sessions per week to discuss with mothers and mothers-to-be proper nutrition, pregnancy health, labour-related issues and to give support in breastfeeding. The club also offers sessions on low-cost cooking and tips on budgeting finances.

"It is a safe and comfortable place. We provide the support they may not already have," MacMillan said.

The program attracts a large number of older teenagers and those in their early 20s.

Although the centre is not a shelter for abused women, those facing these problems at home, along with those with drug and alcohol related problems, also benefit from the club, she said.

"We're allowing them to make healthier choices. In the long term it is certainly in the baby's best interest,"

"I have seen many happy babies here," she said.

And chances are that happy babies make happy mothers.

Sue Qitsualik is one mother who sees the program as offering her the support she needs, especially when taking part in the cooking sessions.

"It (also) takes me out of the house with the girls so they can associate with other kids," Qitsualik said.

Another benefit women have with the program is the weekly access to public health nurse Deb Hare-Colpitts, who attends the club sessions. Qitsualik says it gives her a chance to inquire about health issues relating to her children.

Another program offered at the 48 St. location includes the Family Support Program. The drop-in centre on 47 St. offers advocacy and support services, hot lunches for needy families, food, clothing and laundry facilities, and functions as an emergency shelter.