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Healthy Beginnings welcomes more moms (and dads) to free classes

Healthy Beginnings welcomes more moms (and dads) to free classes
The Healthy Beginnings Nurse Family Partnership helps first-time mothers and those familiar with parenthood. It’s now expanding its class offerings to serve even more families.
Jonathan's big sister gives him a sweet kiss in front of the Christmas tree.Urbana’s Jazmin Gonzalez couldn’t be more pleased with the support she received from Elizabeth Reynolds, BSN, surrounding the birth of her fourth child, Jonathan, who is now 4 months old.
“Elizabeth is a really open person and a really good support. She has a good heart, and you can tell she loves what she does,” Jazmin Gonzalez said, calling Elizabeth “bold,” in part because her hair is dyed a different color each time they see one another.
Reynolds teaches classes and still visits Gonzalez in her home, which started before Jonathan was born.
Because the classes – and the camaraderie they create – are so essential, Healthy Beginnings organizers are opening their 2020 offerings to people who aren’t in the program. You can join in for free classes – complete with snacks – from 6 to 8 p.m. at Garden Hills Elementary School, 2001 Garden Hills Drive, Champaign:
  • Care of the Newborn – third Wednesday of each month.
  • Pumping (plus the Dads Only class) – the second Wednesday every other month. (January, March, May, July, September and November)
  • Breastfeeding, the second Wednesday of alternate months. (February, April, June, August, October and December)
For more information about classes and Healthy Beginnings, please call (217) 365-7925 or visit

Even with prenatal support from Healthy Beginnings, Gonzalez was terrified before Jonathan’s scheduled Caesarean section. So Reynolds was there.
Elizabeth Reynolds with another child at a Health Beginnings event.“She made me feel really comfortable,” Gonzalez said. “It meant so much to have her there.”
Gonzalez, a certified nursing assistant (CNA), knows how important being there is. She also loves helping people at Champaign Urbana Nursing & Rehab.
The Dads Only class helped Jorge, Jazmin’s husband, find more ways to pitch in. He especially likes rocking and calming Jonathan with the techniques he learned.
“It works,” he said, adding the education about car seat safety was invaluable, too.

Because of the classes she took and Reynolds’ support, Jazmin Gonzalez feels more comfortable telling Jorge what she needs when she’s tired or stressed out.
“As a woman, you want to give and give. It felt weird at first, but I’ve learned it’s OK to ask for help,” she said.
The same is true for breastfeeding, which Gonzalez has been able to do longer with Jonathan than with her other children.
“Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It can be painful and frustrating, but the more I ask Elizabeth questions, the more it helps me,” Gonzalez said.
That’s true for many of the mothers Healthy Beginnings serves.
“I always tell them, ‘You can do this,’” Reynolds said. “I want to help take the fear away. New moms worry that their babies aren’t eating enough. Weighing babies at home to show they’re gaining weight can be such a relief to the parents.”
Jazmin Gonzalez's four children -- three boys and one girl.Reynolds, who loves her Healthy Beginnings role, used to be a Labor & Delivery nurse.
“Doing what I do now makes my nurse heart happy because now I know what happens after my patients go home,” she said. “I love to watch these babies grow and see their parents succeed.”
Being able to reach Reynolds when she needs her has been key to Gonzalez’s success.
“If I need something, she’s fine with me texting,” Gonzalez said. “And when we meet, it’s always on my time and on my schedule. She just makes it all so easy.”

Categories: Redefining Healthcare, Community

Tags: baby, Beginnings, breastfeeding, Champaign-Urbana, Community Health, community health initiatives, , Healthy, home, nurse, philanthropy, prenatal, support