Watching Kate Middleton last week when she introduced her new son to the world, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her. The entire world was watching and scrutinizing her while she was clearly in that “everything-is-new” haze — that time when new moms feel the most fragile and uncertain. She looked like she might cry at any moment, and as a mother myself, I remember that feeling of being filled with a secret dread that despite all of our preparation, we were still not prepared for this new little being.
Every mom knows that life gets really intense as soon as you’re dealing with an actual baby, one that cries, wakes up around the clock on punishingly short intervals, demands to be fed (how does this breastfeeding thing work again?) and then is required to pee/poop in certain amounts, certain colors and over a certain period of time.
With hospital stays as short as they are and information on what to do when you get home being both abundant and at times contradictory, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. All I really wanted was a no-nonsense baby expert to look me in the eye and say ‘this is what you need to do . . . ’ and verify that my baby was behaving normally.
Fret no more, new moms or new-moms-to-be! Swedish Hospital is opening a new hospital-based, walk-in center just for parents and their newborns. The Lytle Center, located at the Swedish First Hill Campus off Cherry Street and Broadway, pulls together an array of services and resources into one swank facility. It’s a “one-stop-shop” to help new families get the best start possible. None of the birthing or recovery happens in this center but all of the things you might want leading up to or right after the birth are here for patients of Swedish Hospital.
Center offerings include:
- A weighing and changing station.
- Access to lactation consultation, staffed by registered nurses.
- Retail sales of specialty baby products for nursing, soothing, baby wear, bathing, toys and more.
- A living-room atmosphere with a fireplace and seating that creates a calming, nurturing environment.
- A classroom area for newborn support groups, fitness programs and baby-centric classes.
- Five dedicated exam rooms in the adjacent clinic area for pregnancy or postpartum checkups, baby follow-up testing and treatment.
- Postpartum depression detection and support from trained staff.
- Outdoor recreational and toddler playground for older siblings or visitors.
“The Lytle Center provides a place to come for help and support in those early weeks after the transition from hospital to home,” said Theresa Demeter, director of Women and Infants Services Development. Not surprisingly, patient surveys and feedback were the primary inspiration for this center.
By being a gateway for patient outreach, the Lytle Center should make the Swedish Hospital System easier to navigate for women and their families, said Executive Director Dr. Jane Uhlir. Issaquah and Ballard Swedish Hospital locations are due to have similar support centers in the near future too, she said.
The Lytle Center officially opens its doors today and will be open seven days a week. Hours: Monday–Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. –2:30 p.m. To learn more, call 206-386-2229 or visit the Lytle Center online.
With this new offering, leaving the hospital and taking baby home no longer has to be such a daunting proposition. Now if they could only find a way to ‘gift’ hours of sleep to new moms …
Kali Sakai is a writer and mother of two who likens the first 8 weeks with a newborn to Navy SEAL training — at least the wet, sleepless and endurance-making parts.