There are many things to do to prepare for your baby's birth, from decorating a nursery to dealing with insurance issues. At Memorial Hospital, we want to make this time easier for you and provide helpful resources so expectant parents can stay informed. This News 4 Jax article highlights a free service sponsored by Memorial Hospital called Text 4 Baby.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One free service helps expectant mothers and new parents learn as much as possible about keeping their baby safe and healthy.
It may sound ordinary, but what's unique is this service provides information to parents on their cell phones. It's called Text 4 Baby.
"This one is about getting the flu shot, and it's talking about pregnant moms and babies can get sick," expectant mother LeAnne Nicholls said of a text message she received.
Nicholls said she loves the text messages that tell her what to expect while she's pregnant.
"I thought it would be a good way to get useful information without digging through a book or the Internet," she said.
Text 4 Baby is a national program sponsored in part by Memorial Hospital. Anyone can get the free messages on their cell phones.
"Completely free, completely anonymous," said Jill Bodden, of women's services at Memorial Hospital. "You never give your name, just your due date so you get appropriate messages at the appropriate time."
Here's how it works: An expectant mother texts the word "baby" to a specific number, 511411, and it responds asking her to dial in her due date. The woman will then receive three text messages a week, and the messages keep coming until her baby reaches 1 year old.
The messages include information like how much folic acid pregnant moms should be taking, what to do if they have morning sickness, where to call to find free or low-cost health care, and dozens of other tidbits.
"It had a good resource for some breastfeeding tips that was good," Nicholls said. "It was very helpful."
Pediatricians at Memorial Hospital said they love the messages, too.
"New moms, pregnant moms, there's so much info," Dr. Renu Sharma, a neonatologist at Memorial. "They get inundated with information, so it's good to have messages in this form. It gets reinforced, and they're more likely to remember it."
"I think it's an easy way to get information they need without going somewhere looking for it," Nicholls said. "It just pops up and it's there for you."
The service also sends messages about caring for a newborn. A few examples are how to care for an infant's umbilical cord, when to see a pediatrician and the importance of tummy time.
The messages are free even for those who don't have a text messaging plan, and for those who have limited text messaging per month, the texts won't take away from the total amount of messages.
To sign up for the free text messages, text the word BABY to 511411.