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Baby on board

Pediatrician’s office embraces idea of new mom

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    Dr. Daniel Feldman’s office is always full of babies, as he is a pediatrician. But Amelia Bazemore, five months old, has territorial rights to the place.
    The diminutive princess reigns  over her kingdom, equipped with toys, a swing, and an Exersaucer. She’s there every day while others come and go, and she loves it.
         So does her mother, nurse Kim Bazemore, and her other “mamas” - nurse Holly Shuman and billing director Mary Ann Sowell. And Feldman, who considers himself an extra grandparent, is ecstatic over the baby’s presence.
    Amelia spends her days at Feldman’s office so she can be close to her mother and Bazemore can work while still breast feeding and bonding with her daughter.
    It was Feldman’s idea.
    “I decided (to have Bazemore bring her baby to work) because I am a pediatrician,  an advocate of breast feeding and I want mothers to be able to bond with their children as much as possible,” he said.
    It sounded like a good idea to Bazemore and her husband Donnie.
    “The week after she was born, all of us (Feldman, her coworkers and herself) were out to lunch and he just said ‘you can bring her to the office and go nurse her when you need to,’” Bazemore said.
    Two weeks later, she was back at work and the office “looks like a nursery,” she said. Amelia plays “and we put down blankets and she rolls on the floor and is happy.”
    When Bazemore is working, Sowell and Shuman step in and spoil the baby. When Feldman is able, he plays with her too, he said.
    Some might worry that having a baby around so many ill children visiting the doctor is dangerous, but Bazemore said every precaution is taken and the slight exposure to some illnesses may even help build Amelia’s immune system.
    “She doesn’t come in contact with any of the patients, normally,” she said. “We are really conscientious and we wash our hands. She has only had one mild ear infection since she was born.”
    Amelia, the Bazemore’s first baby, has grown so accustomed to the noise in the office, it’s hard on her to sleep when it is quiet. “She sleeps better if I have the TV on,” she said.
    Feldman said having Amelia in the office doesn’t interfere with getting work accomplished, and actually has helped with the office operations because Bazemore didn’t miss much work.
    “It has worked out exceptionally well,” he said. “It is much better than getting a temp (temporary employee) or hiring someone else.”
    Sowell agrees, but her motive for doing so might have a bit to do with her being able to spend time with Amelia. Speaking as she held the baby during a lunch hour, she said having the baby there “is a joy.”
    “You start having a bad day and you make her smile and it’s all better,” she said as Amelia cooed and gurgled. “She’s good. No problem at all.”
    “She’s such a good baby,” Bazemore said. “If she wasn’t as good as she is, it would be tough.”
    Having her daughter at work with her is wonderful, and she doesn’t have to miss out on special moments that would be lost if Amelia had to stay at a daycare. She also doesn’t have to miss out on work.
    But Amelia benefits the most. Not only does she have her real mother at hand, she “has three mothers and sort of like a grandfather,” Feldman said.
    It is an unusual situation, but one that makes sense, Sowell said.
    “This is the first (time ever having a baby stay in the office),” she said. “But we wouldn’t want Kim to go anywhere. It’s perfect just the way it is.”
    Bazemore said Feldman will allow Amelia to spend her days at the office until she reaches the age when “ she starts getting into things. But I’d keep her here until she was 18 years old.”
    Patients enjoy seeing Amelia, and the atmosphere in the office is bright and cheery with her presence.
    Bazemore said she thanks Feldman for the opportunity.
    “I’ve been able to bond with her, and I am very, very grateful. Dr. Feldman is wonderful.”
    And seeing the good doctor holding Amelia, singing the alphabet song to her in German, proves Bazemore’s point.

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