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IBJ has been teaching weekly two-hour prenatal classes at Cook County Jail in Chicago since January 2017. Raising rates of breastfeeding success in this vulnerable population, which has high rates of chronic disease, low birth weight, and infant mortality, will have a positive impact on health outcomes.

Recognizing that some mothers will be separated from their newborns shortly after birth, our classes also include information aiming to foster a connection in the immediate postpartum period. We educate the women about the importance of skin-to-skin contact and about learning her infant’s cues to enhance her ability to respond appropriately and sensitively. This responsiveness is fundamental to establishing secure attachment of mother and baby, which in turn is vital for the child’s long-term development.While our focus is on prenatal care and the importance of bonding between a mother and her infant, we also make space to talk about how to maintain intimacy or a bond even when they are not physically together because the mother is incarcerated.

The following link provides additional information about IBJ’s prenatal course at Cook County Jail.