Staff at Delta libraries are reminding residents that a BabyDaze-like program still exists in the city, after mayoral candidate George Harvie promised to bring it back if elected on Oct. 20.
George Mackie Library community librarian Minakshi Sidhu said it was library technician Sylvia Hampton who first brought Harvie’s announcement to her attention. Hampton had been working with the BabyDaze program for years before it was cancelled by Fraser Health, and continues to run similar programs with the library.
“She said we are offering this service already and maybe we need more advertisement,” Sidhu said.
“She was worried there might be a wrong impression in the community that these programs are not available.”
In a recent press release, Harvie announced that he would “restore Delta’s only public health resource for new parents with infants under the age of eight months as soon as spring of 2019” if elected this Saturday.
The nurse-led BabyDaze program was cancelled in late 2017. The program provided new moms a weekly opportunity to meet with Fraser Health nurses to discuss infant health concerns, get their babies weighed and get education on the health side of raising children.
Harvie said he would bring this program back to Delta if elected — however, library staff want to remind parents that although the official BabyDaze program is gone, they aren’t left without resources.
Before BabyDaze was cancelled, Hampton stepped in to continue providing a similar services through the library. The result, a program called Parent Time, follows the library’s early literacy program BabyTime.
Parent Time runs weekly, with guest speakers coming every week to talk about everything related to babies’ health: infant physio, infant development, infant first aid and more. The program also works with Fraser Health to have a public health nurse visit each of Delta’s three libraries on a monthly basis, as well as another public health nurse who comes every other month to run a “breastfeeding café.”
Parent Time runs Mondays from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Tsawwassen Library and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the George Mackie Library.
Sidhu also noted the library’s other programs for new parents, including BabyTime, Parent-Child Mother Goose, Storytime and Pyjama Storytime, all of which which help parents and their children with language development. Sidhu said the Babytime program consistently sees between 50 and 80 participants a week.
“It is a feeling of being supported and belonging somewhere,” Sidhu said about the program. “When you are new with a child, you don’t know how to entertain this little one. And at the same time [it’s] doing something with literacy.
“Our staff went to school for years and have special education on early literacy,” she continued. “It’s a very specialized program, people invest mental energy and their time to be good at what they’re doing.”
Both the early literacy programs and the Parent Time program bring a sense of “belonging and safety and support” to new parents from all walks of life in the community.
Similar programs are also in place in other areas around Delta, such as the North Delta Family Resource Centre (11838 88th Ave.) and Ladner’s Cedar Park Church.