In October 2015, Diane Hosmer, RN, MSN, IBCLC, Sutter Medical Foundation, Women’s Services at Sutter Amador Hospital, held the first Grandmother Tea, which is an educational program and celebrations for new grandmothers. Hosmer says that they have hosted four Grandmother Teas (the event is held twice a year) with more than 125 participants.

What exactly is a Grandmother Tea? It’s an event held on a Saturday afternoon for three hours, and it teaches the latest information in newborn care to Grandmothers-to-be as well as expectant moms.

Hosmer took time to answer some questions about this program.

Why did you and/or the hospital believe it was important to offer this program?

I saw firsthand the difference in newborn information that is provided now compared with what I received as a mother. As a grandmother, I wanted to help bridge the gap by creating a Grandmother Tea and received wonderful support from the hospital to create the program.

Grandmothers spend a lot of time caring for the infant or providing advice to the new mom. In my position, I see how much things have changed in the past 10 to 15 years in information that we were providing new moms as opposed to what their own mothers were taught. Grandmother Tea allows us to educate generations of women and each topic touches the participants in a different way.

What do moms-to-be and grandmothers learn at this program? Where is it held?

Each tea is held at the hospital and is taught by board certified lactation consultants and labor and delivery pediatric nurses. We teach topics ranging from safe sleeping and breastfeeding to cue-based feeding and baby-wearing.

The program is broken down into three activities. Between activities we pose a related question then have a discussion over tea.  Presenters sit with participants to discuss the topic, often answering additional questions and guiding the discussion to a positive outcome.

We honor the experience Grandmothers have, while acknowledging ways newborn care has changed over the years and how we continue to learn new ways of doing things. Many women tell us this is one of their favorite parts of our program.

Do the attendees get any items to bring away with them? If so, what are they and why do you give them out?

Similar to a baby shower, each grandmother and mother is left with armfuls of gifts, including local resources and information to take home thanks to Sutter Amador Hospital and community sponsors: Amador-Calaveras Breastfeeding Coalition, First 5 Amador, WIC, Calaveras Public Health, and Amador Public Health.

How successful has the program been? What do you enjoy about it?

We have received great feedback about the program and hope to continue to see it grow. The next Grandmother Tea is October 14, 2017. We plan to continue offering the program twice a year.

Is there anything about the Grandmother Tea that is important for readers to know?

It all starts with a vision. I encourage other nurses to think creatively and enlist others in the quest to find unique ways to engage patients and their families in educational opportunities.

Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

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