Two Local NICU Nurses Band Together to Create Bright & Baby: Helping Parents of Newborns Virtually

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Bringing a baby into the world during the time of COVID-19 can be petrifying, to put it lightly. The idea of even visiting a hospital during this time is something that parents to be can’t even fathom. And on top of all of that, layer on the added stress of taking care of a new, tiny human with a developing immune system and, well, you’ve got yourself the perfect storm for some serious stress.

But, fear not, parents of newborns, as there is a silver lining to all of this — Bright & Baby. Started by two local NICU nurses, this relatively new company is designed to offer any and all support to new parents, especially during this unique time. Here’s how Bright & Baby got its start + a little about the amazing women behind it all:

bright and baby newborn care

{Photo credit: @brightandbaby}

Bright & Baby’s Birth Story {Pun Intended} 

Bright & Baby was started by Megan Furlong and Brittany Shippee. Beyond being friends themselves, both of these ladies are moms {Megan to an adorable son and Brittany to an adorable daughter}, nurses — both of them are cardiac neonatal intensive care unit nurses {NICU}, — and Hudson County residents.

Clearly, these two amazing women have some serious connections to babies — literally, they work with them day-in and day out. But, as concerns surrounding COVID-19 became more and more apparent, these ladies saw an opportunity to help parents of newborns during this challenging time. Enter — Bright & Baby.

Read More: ‘I Gave Birth to My Son While My Husband Watched on Zoom:’ A Local Mom Shares Her Birth Story

“We launched Bright & Baby to support new parents,” the ladies shared.

Essentially, Bright & Baby is a service offering virtual one-on-one newborn care classes, a resource that new parents might need but don’t have physical access to at the moment.

“[Our] newborn care classes that include baby basics {diapering, bathing, swaddling}, feeding options {bottle-feeding, breastfeeding basics, and pumping strategies/tips}, infant safety {safe sleep, car seat safety, when to call the pediatrician}, development tips {tummy time, etc.}, and what to expect at the hospital and the first few weeks at home,” Megan and Brittany shared.

On why they started the company, the answer is simple — there was a need for newborn care classes that in their traditional in-person sense, weren’t able to happen. So, Megan and Brittany came up with a solution.

“We realized that many traditional hospital-based classes were canceled due to the pandemic and that many new parents aren’t able to rely on family for additional help due to quarantining and social distancing,” they shared. And just like that, Bright & Baby was born {pun intended}.

The Woman Behind It

megan and brittany bright and baby

^ Megan on the right and Brittany on the left!

Of course, this very unique and timely service would not have been possible without the creative minds of Brittany and Megan. The duo, as stated earlier, work with newborns regularly. However, as cardiac NICU nurses, they’re jobs are a lot more than simply caring for, feeding, and changing babies’ diapers.

“Those outside of nursing are under the impression that most of this job is holding and feeding babies,” they shared. “Our days in the cardiac NICU are pretty busy from start to finish with assessments, skilled tasks {IV insertions, dressing changes, managing different life-sustaining medical equipment}, procedures, managing multiple continuous medications, supporting a family during their darkest time, educating, advocating, coordinating and executing the plan for the day, pushing the baby just slightly to improve but knowing their limit — the list goes on. The day is very busy, but it is amazing knowing that we are making a difference and helping those that need it most!”

The work these two do each and every day is truly amazing, as they’re working with vulnerable newborns {think those born with cardiac conditions — something no brand new baby should have to endure, but is an unfortunate reality for many}.

Plus, with COVID-19, a whole new set of challenges have presented themselves beyond the normal ones both Megan and Brittany face on the job daily.

“The biggest challenge has been supporting families who aren’t able to visit due to the virus,” they said. “Within a few days of new visitation policies, we teamed up with March of Dimes, our Child Life Team, and our Unit Council to offer virtual visits, send pictures, make Easter cards, keep families updated and involved.”

Now, you’d think that women this dedicated to their jobs always knew they wanted to be nurses, but that isn’t the exact case for these two amazing ladies {although they both knew that their career paths would involve helping people}.

Megan actually wanted to be an occupational therapist. “My original career plan was to be a pediatric occupational therapist,” she told Hoboken Girl” “[But] after volunteering at the South Orange Rescue Squad in college and seeing what the ER nurses did, I decided to switch my path to nursing. I was able to snag a job in NICU right after obtaining my BSN and I haven’t looked back!”

As for Brittany, her original plan was to become a physician’s assistant. “My original career plan was to become a surgical physician assistant,” she shared. “During college, I was hired as a nanny for a baby that was born prematurely. I was able to visit the baby while she was still in the NICU and I was able to see NICU nurses in action. I finished up my first degree in sociology and went to nursing school immediately after with the goal of learning all things NICU.”

See More: New Moms + Moms-To-Be: All The Resources You Need Right Now

Today, the HG team {with two members who have special connections to the NICU + work these ladies do} and plenty of new parents are glad that Megan and Brittany chose the paths that they did. Without their work and their creative minds to start Bright & Baby, a lot of newborns wouldn’t necessarily be receiving the care they need right at the beginning of their lives.

The Future of Bright & Baby

As with everything right now, no one is quite sure what the future holds, and that is true for Bright & Baby as well. But, the hope is that the future holds something bright for Bright & Baby.

“Bright & Baby has been successful so far and I am excited to continue to work with Brittany to make it even more awesome,” Megan shared. “One goal we have for Bright & Baby is to connect with more small businesses in the area to continue to help first-time parents.”

Plus, if you’d like to help support this great organization {even if you’re not a parent of a newborn}, you can. Megan and Brittany started a Baby Book Club on their unit to “o encourage families to read to their babies during the hospital stay and eventually at home.”

“Our Baby Book Club gives families two new books each week to keep {so [each] baby goes home with a mini library!} and access to our lending library. We offer books in both English and Spanish  Earlier in 2020, more than 75 families donated more than 400 books from our Amazon Wish List to our babies! It was amazing the amount of love we received,” they shared.

So if you’d like to donate a book for a newborn to enjoy, check out their Amazon wish list here.

Amazing work, Megan and Brittany!

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Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.