Duke Resources Help With Parenting

'Take Five' offers tips and resources for employees with children

Jessica Monserrate used Duke's lactation rooms after she returned to work when her twins, Elijah and Jonah, were 10 weeks old. Photo courtesy of Jessica Monserrate.

Parenting advice abounds.

"Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care," first printed in 1946, is now in its 8th edition and has sold more than 50 million copies. 

Web engines also provide thousands of pages with childrearing resources when you search, "parenting advice."

And do you know Duke offers parenting resources and help on campus and from its own community of experts? 

Duke has been recognized over the years as a "Family Friendly Workplace" by Carolina Parent magazine because of a host of options to assist faculty and staff in balancing the demands of work and family.

"The more resources we can offer parents to reduce worries about their children, the more effective they can be as parents and at work," said Denise Evans, executive director of Duke Staff & Labor Relations and Duke's Staff and Family Programs. 

Here are five Duke resources for parenting help. 

1. Free and low-cost baby classes

In the months before and after her daughter's birth, Diane Masters spent many hours attending classes at Teer House, Duke Medicine's Community Outreach department. 

"We took a childbirth class, a new fathers' group, a mothers going back to work class, even a baby massage class," said Masters, grants manager at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.  "Because of Teer House and other resources and people we had access to at Duke, we felt very well informed going into childbirth and parenthood."

Classes at Teer House, near Durham Regional Hospital, range from free to $80, depending on the topic. Mark your calendars: "Motherhood: The New Reality Show," is Feb. 6, and "New Tools for New Dads" is Feb. 22.

2. Help finding high quality childcare

The Duke Child Care Partnership offers priority placement to children of Duke faculty, staff and students at 39 local day care centers. The centers in the partnership agree to maintain a four- or five-star license and be in good standing with the state of North Carolina and the Child Care Services Association. Duke also regularly monitors the centers to ensure standards are maintained.

Finding a daycare with a strong connection to Duke was important for Steve and Christy Arrowood, who work for Duke Pharmacy and Duke Cancer Center.  Their two children attend The Little School of Hillsborough through the partnership. 

"We appreciate Duke's commitment to quality care," Christy Arrowood said. "Knowing that The Little School is supported by Duke, we felt good about the care and education Isaac and Isabelle would receive there."

3. Support for new mothers

Jessica Monserrate returned to work as a postdoctoral associate last summer when her twins were 10 weeks old. 

To ensure she can continue to provide breast milk for her sons, she schedules several 15-minute breaks in a lactation room near her office in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology. There, she can relax in a comfortable chair without interruption and pump breast milk using equipment provided by Duke.

Duke provides 16 lactation rooms on campus and in downtown Durham to support women balancing their return to work with their needs as mothers of young children. 

"It is wonderful to have lactation rooms close by so that I don't have to take long breaks from my work," Monserrate said. 

4. Free seminars about living with ADHD

Several times a year, Duke experts offer free seminars on the challenges of parenting children who have attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD.

Sponsored by the Duke ADHD Program, the seminars offer advice on school success, effective rewards for good behavior and medication pros and cons. 

"We provide a lot of information about research and evidence-based practices for dealing with ADHD," said Desiree Murray, Ph.D., associate director of the Duke ADHD Program. "Once people have accurate information, they can translate it into action for their family." 

The next seminar is at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the ADHD Clinic, 2608 Erwin Rd. 

5. Parents@Duke email list

Nicole Schramm-Sapyta often turns to the Parents@Duke listserv when she is looking for activities or advice related to parenting. 

Parents@Duke began in 2002 as a grass-roots advocacy group to support parents working, teaching and studying at Duke. The listserv has approximately 250 members.

"I've used it for everything from finding a cleaning lady to finding a spot in a family-run daycare for my children," said Schramm-Sapyta, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke. "It's the modern, word-of-mouth way to gather information and advice."

To join, send an email to sympa@duke.edu with "subscribe parents" in the message body.