JRI/COVID-19 Navigator

Do you have a question about how JRI services, related to COVID-19 or otherwise?

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.

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COVID 19 resources for parents

By: Ellie Springer

We have a blog post with sites for you to find activities for your children, but what about the grown ups? We know this is a very stressful time, and you may be experiencing more anxiety than usual. You may also be wondering about the safest way to feed your baby, especially if you become sick. So we have put together some resources for parents: information about feeding your baby, talking to your children about the coronavirus, and tips for you to manage your mental health in this especially trying time.

Being pregnant or having a new baby is always a vulnerable, challenging time, and all the more so with the added stress of this pandemic. The recommendations from most organizations are to continue breastfeeding if you have been, while following hygiene precautions like washing your hands well. But here are some sites with more detailed information.

Kelly Mom is a trusted site for accurate information about infant feeding (breastfeeding, pumping, and formula), and they have a landing page with lots of good information about feeding your baby (nursing, pumping, formula) in the time of coronavirus:

https://kellymom.com/hot-topics/covid19/covid-19-summary/

Here is what the CDC says about pregnant mothers, breastfeeding, and infants and COVID-19 (they say that they are still learning about this disease, so information may change as they know more):

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

If you need support with breastfeeding right now, several local lactation professionals are offering virtual support.

Michelle Stolow: https://frombirth.com/

Rachel O'Brien: https://www.rachelobrienibclc.com/

Julie Brill: https://www.wellpregnancy.com/breastfeeding-consults-ibclc/

For reliable information about children's health and coronavirus and how to protect and care for your children:

https://www.unicef.org/stories/novel-coronavirus-outbreak-what-parents-should-know

As always, if you have questions or concerns about your or your baby or child's health, you should contact your health care professional.

Children are sensitive to adults' moods and changes in routine, so they are going to notice something is different. Children do well when they know what to expect, so see if you can have some routines in your daily life, even if it is just around meal and bed times, and even if they are different than the routines you had before. Children who are not verbal yet cannot ask you questions, but they will benefit from your keeping those routines and acknowledging that things are different and that maybe they're having a hard time. For tips about how to talk to older children (preschool and up), who may or may not ask questions about COVID-19, PBS Parents has a good article: 

https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus

For younger children, check out Zero to Three's article:

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3211-why-are-people-wearing-masks-why-are-people-covering-their-faces

Being at home with your children for this expended period of time without being able to take them out can cause more than the usual amount of stress involved in being a parent. If you need parenting support, Parents Helping Parents of Massachusetts has a 24/7 Parental Stress Line you can call at 1-800-632-8188. They also have online support groups weekly. Check their website for details:

https://www.parentshelpingparents.org/

The Harvard University Health Services published a great resource for managing fears and anxiety around the coronavirus, and we have linked to it on our website:

https://jri.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/coronavirus-huhs-managing-fears.pdf

McLean Hospital also has a page of similar tips:

https://www.mcleanhospital.org/news/caring-your-mental-health-despite-coronavirus

We also have a list of places to find material support during this time (food, unemployment, emergency child care). You can also just go to firstconnections.org and scroll down to find it under "At a Glance".

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iDk3H6b66AmrwquUuU0blA-0xPIY7NoGPMzXbB9nvz0/edit?usp=sharing

You can also email us any time if you have questions or need other resources.

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