ACC Community Ed to offer weaning course

ALPENA — Alpena Community College’s Community Education program will be offering a course on baby led weaning this semester, which will be one of the first classes concerning child rearing in the program.

ACC Volunteer Center Director Cathy Abraham said Denise Thompson, a registered dietician with Alcona Health Center, has volunteered to lead the class, which will take place beginning Oct. 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Class registration is $12.

Thompson also is the wellness program manager and certified eating psychologist for AHC.

According to Abraham, Thompson has been doing volunteer classes for several semesters and wanted to share a method of weaning with the community that she is doing with her own 10-month-old daughter Reese.

“I wanted to bring in some of my own specialty to the program,” she said. “I am really passionate about education, and I wanted to do something. There is a deficiency in knowledge about infant nutrition and stuff about infants in general, so I wanted to bring this to a class.”

Thompson said her program centers on weaning infants from the bottle and commercial baby food onto food that the rest of the family can eat.

“They can struggle with textured food, when you can help infants relax around meal time and really enjoy their foods, so that eating at mealtime is not a battle, a lot of parents struggle with toddlers and getting them to eat it,” she said.

Thompson said there are many benefits to the approach, including introducing young children to foods they may not get until much later in their childhood.

“There is the cost savings because you’re not buying food from a jar, you’re not buying commercial baby foods, you’re offering the foods that you’re making for dinner, you’re saving quite a bit of money,” Thompson said.

Abraham said this is the first baby led offering course that has been at the volunteer center.

“We always like to try different classes and that is basically from the feedback that each student gives, when we submit those forms we ask our students what they would like to see,” she said. “We promote good stewardship throughout the community, one of the reasons that many of our instructors volunteer.”

Thompson said she volunteers because she wants to educate the public on something she is passionate about.

“It’s important to volunteer because I want the information to be out there, it’s not something where people want to look high and low,” she said. “It’s good quality information and is based off the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

There are many different people who could benefit from the class, Thompson said.

“Pregnant women, women with infants, new parents, people who are thinking about starting a family, foster parents, anyone who plans on having a infant or a baby,” she said.

More information about the program and other volunteer center education programs can be found by visiting the center at ACC or by going to www.alpenavolunteercenter.org.

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.