Jersey City NICU Nurse Megan Furlong shares the one thing she tells every new parent, and the most common misconception she hears during her newborn classes. Photo credit: Liz Hand.
It's no secret that new parents have a lot to learn when baby arrives. From changing diapers to mastering the sleep swaddle, there are quite a few new skills to hone. And who teaches these skills? Sometimes its doting grandparents, or a class with your partner at the hospital. But what happens when you go home and it's just you and baby? Megan Furlong, a NICU nurse based in Jersey City, NJ, realized that parents might need extra virtual support from home and started offering online newborn care-taker classes, resources, and more to help them learn and adjust.
Not only did Megan and her partner start up the business in the height of the COVID pandemic in the US, but also did so while working full time on the frontlines, and with a toddler of her own! Read the interview with Megan to find out what got her started, a common misconception she hears all the time, and the one thing she tells every new client.
Name: Megan Furlong
Are you a parent? How old are your kids? Yes! I have an almost 2 year old son. He loves tacos from Taqueria, playing at Hamilton Park, and destroying..I mean exploring Grind General Store.
What do you do? I am a certified cardiac NICU nurse and certified lactation counselor; I care for newborns
with congenital heart defects requiring surgical repair/other palliative procedures in the first
few weeks of life. I’m also the co-founder of Bright & Baby, which provides virtual support,
classes, and resources for expectant and new parents.
What led you to be involved in this business? As NYC shut down in March, my NICU colleague and I realized that traditional resources and support for pregnant moms would be put on hold for a while (at the time, we thought just through the summer..). Utilizing our combined 10+ years of experience caring for newborns and educating their parents, we launched Bright & Baby to provide virtual support, resources, and classes.
What's your favorite part about what you do? My favorite part of being a cardiac NICU nurse is serving as an advocate for the families. Since parents have not been through the experience before, I work to prepare them for next steps and what to expect, reassure them that (most of) the scary things are part of the journey, explain details of the plan of care in a way they can understand, and sneak in a ton
of education along the way. My goal is to be a calming presence in the room for them, since
the environment at baseline is very intense.
What's one thing that you tell every new parent? It sounds goofy, but all of my Bright & Baby clients learn that “beautiful swaddling is for beautiful photos, functional swaddling is done by a commercial product!”. Having one or two “pretty” muslin swaddles is great for photos! But for 2am diaper changes and feedings, it is SO MUCH EASIER to pop your baby into a sleep sack, zipper, velcro closed and move
along with the night.
What's one thing that always surprises parents when you tell them? During Bright & Baby’s Baby 101 Class, we chat about the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep Guidelines. Parents are always surprised to hear some of the guidelines (back to sleep only, certain “mainstream” items are not sleep safe approved, etc.)
Favorite item from Hazel Baby? The Grimm’s 6 Piece Rainbow is on our birthday wishlist this year!
What did you learn from 2020? 2020 was horrendous for many, and, as an essential worker, I witnessed first-hand the devastation that COVID-19 created. Personally, the shutdown allowed for a shift in mindset
from “go-go-go” all the time to a focus on self-care, my health and well-being, and slowing down to spend time with my son.
Have you set intentions for 2021? I’m focusing on 3 months at a time; so much easier to set short term intentions rather than year long “hopes”! Some intentions for January, February, and March 2021 include:
phone-less and distraction-less time with my son each day, connecting with 2 local small businesses each month, and mapping out each week to optimize self-care, exercise, and rest.
At Hazel Baby, we are hoping to help parents see that small changes can add up to
make a difference for a happier, healthier life and world. What's one simple swap
you'd like to make, or see your clients make, in the new year? I see many new parents buy all the things for the newborns; looking back, I did too! It unfortunately adds up to a ton of plastic waste. We are focusing this year on intentional purchases; toys that are less wasteful, will last for years, and aren’t just “fads”. Don’t get me wrong, my son loves his plastic Buzz LightYear toy. But, we can certainly work on
purchasing more sustainably this year.
Readers can check out Bright & Baby over on Instagram (@brightandbaby), their website
https://brightandbaby.com, or via email [email protected]. Don't be shy to send her a note just to say hello and make a local connection in Jersey City!
Image Credit: Liz Hand