2016-05-10 / Front Page

Rock-a-bye-baby

Grant allows family support center to give rocking chairs to new moms
By Allan Stein

Montana Hurd and her son Bentley, both of Claremont, sit in a rocking chair given to Hurd free of charge through a grant-funded program at TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont. — COURTESYMontana Hurd and her son Bentley, both of Claremont, sit in a rocking chair given to Hurd free of charge through a grant-funded program at TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont. — COURTESYCLAREMONT — Paul Simon sang about it, and scientists studied it. One thing that seems clear is the critical importance of mother love to a child’s growth and development.


“Research shows that holding, rocking, singing, feeding, gazing, kissing and other caregiving nurturing behaviors are crucial to the normal brain development of babies. Without early nurturing, it is difficult to become a healthy, happy, and productive person,” according to The Rocking Chair Project in West Hartford, Connecticut.


The organization was founded in 2001 by Trish Magee, an early childhood educator, and her husband, Mike Magee, a physician. The nonprofit’s mission is to nurture low-income mothers and their newborn babies by providing free glider rocking chairs as part of a supportive home health care visit.


TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont was recently chosen as one of the project’s partner sites because of the programs it offers.


Executive Director Maggie Monroe-Cassel said the organization has been given a grant to purchase rocking chairs to benefit area mothers and newborns.


“For the parents and children, the gift of a rocking chair is a concrete expression that people care about them. Every new mother and baby, and especially those experiencing the pressure of poverty, needs time and space for nurturing,” Monroe-Cassel said.


Montana Hurd was the first new mom to receive a rocking chair purchased on Amazon.com by the family center for $200.


The Stork Craft Custom Glider is a “very simple chair to build,” Monroe-Cassel said, “and it is a project to build together. It’s about the importance of bonding.”


She said Hurd “loved sitting in it. She only has one piece of furniture in her living room. This was the second piece.”


Monroe-Cassel said research shows that the simple motion of rocking helps sooth both the new mother and child and forge a strong bond.


In many instances of children who “fail to thrive,” lack of physical contact was an important missing ingredient. Over the years, volunteer “cuddler” programs have been implemented in hospital neonatal wards throughout the country.


The Rocking Chair Project also helps new moms to establish a meaningful bond with support givers.


“Our parent educators visit the mom and new baby in the home and assemble the new chair together. After the donation, the parent educator continues to work with the new mom on parenting skills for up to three years,” Monroe-Cassel said.


TLC Family Resource Center is one of 35 agencies across New Hampshire that are members of Family Support New Hampshire, a coalition of nonprofit family resource centers. TLC serves families in Sullivan County and Lower Grafton County.


For more information on qualifying for a free rocking chair, contact Rene Couitt, intake coordinator, at (603) 542-1848, ext. 302, or visit www.tlcfamilyrc.org.





Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2016-05-10 digital edition