Having a baby is one of life’s most exciting experiences—and, for first-timers, the prospect may also be a bit intimidating. That’s where Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) steps in, with a range of Parent Education Programs to help answer every question.


“It’s important for the community to have access to the information they need in order to have a healthy, happy pregnancy and childbirth,” says Michael Straker, MD, Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CMMC. “It’s especially valuable to find out about the childbirth experience at the hospital where you’re going to deliver.”



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Tours of CMMC’s state-of-the art labor, delivery and recovery unit are offered on the first Sunday of each month. The unit houses six contemporary suites with private bathrooms and showers.


Expectant parents can also get ready for the big day by attending the Preparing for Childbirth

class, which discusses available birth options as well as offering practice in birthing skills. Children ages 3 and up can enjoy the Welcome Baby! Sibling Program. Each month, a Breastfeeding Workshop, run by a Certified Lactation Consultant, offers reassurance about breastfeeding and the knowledge needed to establish it successfully. “We are here to assist in

meeting your goals,” Dr. Straker notes. “The child isn’t born knowing how to breastfeed, and breastfeeding is not intuitive for the mom. It’s important for parents to have access to support and to information about breastfeeding techniques.” After the baby is born, CMMC’s “Warm Line” (973.450.2868) is available 24 hours a day for parents to leave questions about  breastfeeding, which will be answered by a Certified Lactation Consultant as soon as possible.


Whether pre- or post-birth, parents and caregivers can attend an Infant Massage and/or an Infant Care class to help them navigate a whole range of baby basics. Infant massage is a proven way to improve a baby’s sleep and digestion, and to reduce stress for both parents and babies.



Expert advice from healthcare providers can be a useful balance for the flood of advice that expectant and new parents tend to get.


Dr. Straker advises his patients to take advantage of all information sources available to them, with one caveat: “Don’t necessarily take someone’s advice or what you read as gospel,” he says. “They are giving you their own experience, but that won’t necessarily be your experience. That’s why you have healthcare providers—to be the resource you need for your particular situation.


“As a parent of two children of my own, I tell my patients that babies don’t come with instruction manuals,” he says. “But you will figure out what works for you and your child.”


Registration is required for all Parent Education Programs. To learn more and to register, call 1.888.724.7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/maternity.