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About Baby's First Wish

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Baby's First Wish

  • Statewide age paced parenting newsletter for New Mexico families
  • Sent to parents from New Mexico Extension since 1993
  • For parents of children aged one month to 60 months
  • Written in English and Spanish

Age Paced Parenting Newsletters

Age paced means that a specific age newsletter is sent to parents at the same time their baby reaches that age. For example, parents of a 5 month old baby receive a newsletter written about a 5 month old baby.

Advantages of Age Paced Newsletters:

  • can be read by other family members such as grandparents
  • reinforce positive parenting behaviors
  • help parents have realistic age-appropriate expectations
  • provide reassurance about child's development
  • accentuate the positive; encourage and reinforce family's strengths
  • help parents identify problems early; suggests how to find help
  • link parents to a broad range of human services
  • reach "hard to reach" families

Families Can Receive Newsletters

In New Mexico, families can subscribe to the print version of Baby's First Wish and receive Month 1-12 through the mail. To receive Month 1-60, parents can subscribe to electronic delivery of e-Xtension's Just in Time Parenting (JITP) newsletters.

  • Print Baby's First Wish Month 1-12 are mailed to families who subscribe.

  • Electronic Just in Time Parenting Newsletters Month 1-60 are delivered via email to families who subscribe. PDF in Spanish and English can be printed from the website.

  • Just in Time Parenting www.extension.org/parenting is a national Extension resource including Frequently Asked Questions, Ask the Expert, and instant surveys.

  • Podcasts (Also available on iTunes)

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Evaluation Results

Print version:

  • Parents increase knowledge about guidance and development
  • Parents appreciate timeliness of newsletter delivery
  • Parent treat their child more positively as a result of reading the newsletters

Electronic version

  • Behavior change Parents reported that newsletters helped them:
    100% provide opportunities for baby to explore and learn
    100% talk and listen to baby
    97% be less angry when baby was difficult
    95% show baby books and pictures
    91% feed baby safe and healthy foods
    91% have patience when baby was fussy or annoying
    87% protect baby from accidental injuries
    86% calm baby and help baby stop crying
    82% find other information or websites to meet their needs
    77% take care of themselves so they could be a better parent
    59% talk about parenting with others close to them

  • Knowledge gain Parents reported they learned:
    100% more ideas about ways to play with baby to help baby learn
    100% some of the annoying things baby does are normal for age
    100% that baby is not trying to be bad or make me mad on purpose
    96% what to expect my baby to be able to do at each age
    95% to feel more confident in skills as a parent
    87% to notice what baby needs/is trying to tell me- baby's cues
    87% to feel more comfortable about talking with doctor about a question or concern
    86% more ideas about disciplining baby without spanking/slapping
    86% to know when baby is hungry and full
    77% to know when to schedule well-baby checkups or immunizations

Impact Reports for New Mexico Cooperative Extension's Plan of Work for Baby's First Wish Parenting Newsletter Program

Extension Personnel

There is a need to reach parents in a cost effective and timely manner with information they will use. It is difficult to reach parents because are busy and often overwhelmed with the daily responsibility of caring for children, running a household, and usually working outside the home. Most parents do not have the time and energy to participate in face to face educational parenting programs.

Sending information timed to a child's development directly to parents instead of expecting them to come to educational programs was developed by Cooperative Extension in the mid 1980's. Age paced newsletters were developed to reach families with key information when it is most useful and can make the biggest difference in their lives.

The newsletter is effective because it:

  • has small amounts of information for the parent to digest
  • is written at a 4th-5th grade reading level
  • reaches the home at a time parents most need information
  • contains stages of child development and behavior
  • is delivered just in time

This newsletter resource can help Extension personnel:

  • connect with nearly every parent
  • reach parents time-efficiently and cost-effectively
  • encourage even the busiest parents to be a positive influence for their child

County Extension Agents can:

  • subscribe families to New Mexico's Baby's First Wish Month 1-12 print version and E-Xtension's Just in Time Parenting Month 1-60 via email at http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/nmcyfar/subscribe.php

  • collaborate with family serving agencies to use the age paced parenting newsletters as a resource in conjunction with other parenting or child care programs, such as parent visitation programs or child care centers