North Shore baby store offers special needs support

April 22, 2010 9:55:50 AM PDT
New moms always have many concerns about raising a newborn, but raising a baby with special needs poses additional challenges.New Mother, New Baby in Northbrook offers more than a place to shop. They have regular support groups for new moms, including one for moms who have children with Down syndrome. Owner Gail Macklin, a pediatric nurse and lactation consultant, opened the north suburban baby store a year ago. "We're basically a lactation center and a mother/baby boutique, and we offer a full array of classes for expectant parents and for new parents," said Macklin. "Mother-to-mother support is one of the most powerful tools that a mom can have, and I find that they learn so much from each other." That support is why pediatric pathologist Jill Rabin and mom Amy Jensen wanted to bring mothers who have babies with Down syndrome together. "[My daughter] Lucia's speech therapist is Jill Rabin, and we've been talking - she would always tell me how wonderful her other clients were, and I would want to meet them, but there was no place, no space to do it," said Jensen. "So we started thinking of having a group here on the North Shore where moms and kids can get together and know each other and support each other." Rabin said New Mother, New Baby is a perfect fit for the support group. "[Mothers] want support, they want playdates for the children, they want to learn from other parents with older children," said Rabin. "All parents feel alone after they have a new baby - families are not around as much as they used to be, and whether it's a child with special needs or you're just a new mom who doesn't have a lot of support, we find that all parents need help after they have a baby." The value goes beyond support from other mothers for Jensen, who said she values the unique experience mothers facing similar challenges bring to the group. "The power of this group is that all of the kids' mothers - all of these parents understand exactly what I'm going through," said Jensen. "They know me as a parent like no other parent or no other mother can understand me." Macklin said the sessions have gotten a warm reception by mothers. "The feedback has been incredible," said Macklin. "They're all really excited to be here today and to meet each other." Moms with special needs children meet on Saturdays. For more information, you can contact New Mother, New Baby at 847-272-1500.

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