Chances are, if you gave birth at the Westerly Hospital in the past several decades, you know nurse Jacquelyn Desmond. For 30 years Desmond, who lives in Pawcautck with her husband, Stonington Police Capt. Jerry Desmond, worked in the hospital’s obstetrics unit and helped deliver, literally, thousands of babies. Nurse Jackie knows (and loves) babies.
A second nurse Jackie, this one Jacquelyn Aldrich, also an RN, worked in the Westerly Hospital women’s center with Desmond and assisted in hundreds of deliveries.
And in addition to their knowledge about child birthing (Desmond is a childbirth education specialist) both are board-certified lactation consultants. The two have unparalleled skills in child birthing, infant care, breastfeeding and have a singular approach to helping women enjoy successful pregnancies, childbirth and early child rearing.
Simply put, they know babies.
Since the recent loss of the Women’s Health Center at The L+M Westerly Hospital, Desmond has moved to another unit in the hospital and Aldrich is a per diem labor nurse and consultant.
But not doing what they were both born to do every day together, their combined passion about healthy pregnancy, birth and babies, the women came up with an idea to provide classes for area women and provide quality, natural products for mothers and their babies and so, Babies Natural was born; a place for holistic natural concepts for pregnancy, birth and baby care.
Desmond and Aldrich opened shop in downtown Westerly in early December, began teaching classes and their new business, one of a kind in Southeastern Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island, is growing every day.
They sell amazingly cool baby products (why weren’t these things around when my kids were babies?) including top-seller Snot-Sucker (sounds gross but is super cool!), baby wraps (love the concept of baby-wearing; indeed, the two Jackie’s are set to become certified to train women on the practice), eco-diapers, the awesome piggyback rider and tons more very cool stuff for babies and moms. The store is at once welcoming and inspiring.
And then there are the classes where the two Jackie’s do what they do best: educate women on pregnancy, birth and baby care.
Classes include (with several new ones coming soon):
Childbirth Preparation where families will learn and practice tips for working with the body during birth, and explore ways to trigger the body's relaxation response. Partners will learn comfort measures that are useful at home, in the hospital and in between.
Prenatal Breastfeeding which encourages mothers to observe their babies natural instinctive behaviors that leads to a magical breastfeeding relationship. There’s also a Breastfeeding Support Group for women and their babies.
The Amazing Newborn class explores the fourth trimester; how babies unfold from the safety of the womb and learn to discover this outside world is not so bad.
The Due Date Club is an opportunity for pregnant women can explore numerous topics with women due in the same birth month.
“We love what we do,” Desmond said. And without missing a beat, Aldrich added: “Yes, we’re passionate about educating women.”
The shop is located at 38B High St. in downtown Westerly. It’s winter hours Monday to Friday 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. Babies Natural is closed Wednesday. The phone number is (401) 596-3849.
Note: This week only, Jan. 9 and 10, the hours are Thursday, 4:30-7 and Friday 5:30-7.