Raising Baby is Alliance of Moms’ flagship event held twice a year. It’s a fun day of educational parenting workshops for LA’s pregnant and parenting foster youth.

The day is attended by pregnant and parenting teens and their children. The approximately 40-50 youth come to us through the foster care system and probation department, ranging in age from 14 years to 23 years with the majority of attendees under the age of 18. Approximately 20% of attendees are young fathers.

At Raising Baby we aim to give these young parents information about the development of their children to which they would otherwise not have access. Research tells us that more than 80% of a person’s brain development is completed by the age of three. Further, we know that children from lower income families will have heard 30 million fewer words by this age than three year olds from more advantaged backgrounds, a deficit that can have a lasting impact on their lives. We bring in experts who break down the latest science on brain development and present it in a way that is relevant and accessible so that the teens leave feeling confident, armed with tips and tools to help build their babies’ brains.

Through the lens of brain development young parents are taught basic infant care techniques and how to help their babies develop healthy sleeping habits. They learn about the importance of attachment, and how talking and responding to their babies has lasting effects on their cognitive and emotional development. We offer workshops on play, talking, reading and singing to engage the parents and their children in a more interactive way, enhancing the teens’ ability to retain the information they have been given, and enabling them to put this information into practice once they have left. Parents of toddlers are taught about the development of the one-to-three year old brain and are encouraged to have age-appropriate expectations as they learn to communicate with their children during this often challenging stage.

One of the most inspiring things about the day is seeing the youth find support among their peers. In workshops, they are able to share their challenges with one another, as they learn that they are not alone in their fears, concerns and struggles. This validation and reassurance is something all parents need.

The event is a fun and lively one! We have a DJ spinning throughout the day to keep things upbeat and after lunch we get the blood pumping again with a 15 minute inspirational workout. Volunteers play with babies in the toddler area and rock babies to sleep in the “Quiet Room” so teen parents can focus on their workshops. Everybody feasts on delicious food and the teens leave the event with bags loaded full of goodies generously donated by our many incredible sponsors.

We are so grateful to our many partners who help to make this event possible such as the Children’s Institute, Inc., Project Fatherhood, Too Small to Fail, The Book Foundation, Outside the Box, The Honest Company, The Cradle Company, CuddleBright, Munchkin, Ergobaby, and Mini Maven, to name a few.

Raising Baby 2016 was made possible by Munchkin, BEABA, Beyond Yoga, Ergobaby, Heal, Mini Maven, and The Baby Box Co.