BOCA RATON, Fla. — Marikate Carabase is 7.5 months pregnant. Like many pregnant women, finding a class has been a challenge.
"We kind of were left to search the internet and find some books that give us a little bit of insight into what to expect," she said.
Boca VIPediatrics, a practice in Boca Raton, saw a need in the community.
"The what, when and how of taking care of a new baby," Dr. Chad Rudnick, a pediatrician at Boca VIPediatrics, said.
The practice is now offering a free virtual "Baby University" class to expecting families.
"Like a community service," Rudnick said. "We wanted to do our part and help expectant parents how to take care of their newborn and what to do to with COVID-19."
In non-coronavirus times, the course normally takes place in person at a hospital in Boca Raton.
"The class has always covered, you know, bottles and diapers and wipes and breastfeeding, all these things with a newborn," Rudnick said.
Rudnick said it's needed now more than ever during a pandemic.
"We want to give parents the tools and the right things to say to their friends and family, so they don't feel they have to expose their baby to someone when really they should be kind of keeping everyone at home and kind of cocooning themselves in their house," he said.
Lynda Rysavy is a new mother to a baby boy.
"It's really key to have somebody to explain all that to you, so you aren't standing there (wondering), 'What do I do?'" she said.
Rysavy said she could only find virtual classes out of a hospital in Jacksonville, even though she delivered in South Florida.
"It's tough, you know, and you are scared, as a new parent, what to expect," she said. "So finding something like that was very important, but not a lot of parents have that right now."
Rysavy applauds the free class.
"There's a hospital in New York that is charging about $600 for a virtual program," she said. "As a new parent, you're already shelling out tons of money to get ready for your newborn and with COVID, money is tight. A local doctor being able to provide that to parents (who) really want to learn and be ready for their newborn, it's invaluable, really."
To view more details about all classes, events and updates, click here.