‘We're all R.N.s but we're all moms’: Okanagan coaching service helps parents navigate parenting challenges

Jessica Ivany is a new mom to 11-week-old Jackson.

To help her adjust to being a parent, Ivany uses a coach.

“Truth be told, if I didn’t have the support that I do through Ashley and Mama Coach, I’m not sure that I would be smiling as much as I am right now,” Ivany said.

Mama Coach is a Canada-wide team of registered nurses who have a shared mission of making parenthood easier.

“We offer private group prenatal classes, lactation and feeding support, allergy navigation, and sleep coaching is a big part of it,” said Ashley Thorne, who oversees the Okanagan area for Mama Coach.

Thorne is not only a registered nurse — she’s also a parent of two young children, which helps her better understand and support her clients.

“I know when I had my daughter I was struggling with the breastfeeding at the start. I would have to take her out — and we’re into winter months — and go across the city for help,” Thorne said. “When I heard of Mama Coach, and it involved registered nurses coming to your house, I thought, ‘This is the best idea out there.’”

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Thorne understands the pressure mothers are under to know it all.

“There really is no mom out there that ever said: ‘I don’t need more support,’” Thorne said. “It does take a village but it’s kind of not there for moms now.”

And so Thorne endeavors to be that village for parents.

“We use our nursing skills to go in and assess every baby or child that we see and include the feeding with the sleep,” Thorne explained. “Often, we’ve overcome so many feeding issues with moms and then that in turn gets the baby sleeping better, and it all works beautifully.”

Ivany originally signed up for a private at-home prenatal course for her and her fiancé and is now moving on to sleeping and feeding coaching.

“I did the prenatal class to start with, and Ashley was able to tailor the course to suit our needs,” Ivany said. “Since then, I’ve been in contact with Ashley the whole time. She’s been so helpful through text support, and I was able to contact her when I noted I wasn’t getting quite enough sleep through the night. He’s a really good baby, but sleeping has been a little bit of a challenge.”

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As joyful as Ivany is about motherhood, she admits there are tough times.

“On those few days when I’ve been travelling with him, it’s exhausting. You’re so tired. You get up, you can barely get dressed in the morning some days,” Ivany said. “Trying to guess what your baby’s needs are because they have different cries for everything makes a big difference so being able to reach out and get the support has made all the difference for me.”

Mama Coach is available from Osoyoos all the way to Vernon. The website is full of useful tips and articles to support parents as well as packages that are customized to the individual needs of the family.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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