Since my first child was born on March 12, my husband and I have developed a new family motto: You don’t know what you don’t know.

It pretty much sums up our parenting experience so far.

For the first six weeks, my son refused to take a bottle. We tried every nipple under the sun. We switched positions. Daddy tried it. I tried it. Grandma tried it. It just wasn’t happening.

Turns out my baby gourmet knew an imitation when he saw it: Even though we offered him pumped breast milk, he only wanted that from the real thing (me). He took a bottle like a pro when we started mixing ready-to-use formula in with the milk.

Huh. We didn’t know that was a possibility.

A few weeks after I returned to work, he went on bottle-strike again. Turns out, the hard water at our house was leaving a residue on the nipples he found distasteful. A good scrub and run through the sterilizer, and he was fine.

We didn’t know that was a possibility, either.

There’s a lot you don’t know as a new parent.

After two months struggling through it on our own, I went for help.

That’s when I discovered the Mom and Baby Group sponsored by Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. Led by Diane Corn and Courtney Roybal, the weekly meetings are a cross between support group and vent session for Valley moms. We gather each Monday from 10 to noon with our babies, swap stories and get help.

We celebrate what our baby learned in the past week. We celebrate our own victories as mothers (My personal victories: The return of non-maternity pants and claiming an hour to myself to pull weeds — hey, you take what you can get). Mostly though, we support each other.

Having trouble breastfeeding? The Mommies know what that’s like. Worried Dad’s not bonding with your baby? Thinking about starting food? Wondering if what comes out of your baby should be that color? Or that frequent? Or maybe you just need to know that it’s OK that some days all you want in the world is for that beautiful, wonderful creature you created to leave you alone for five minutes so you can get something done.

Yeah, we’ve all been there, too.

Each week I can’t wait for Monday to come so I can tell The Mommies what my son did, or ask them if they’re child ever ____. None of us have all the answers, but we have suggestions. And mostly, we have compassionate ears.

And you don’t know — that may be all you need.

• Mommy and Baby Group meets from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays at the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Community Education Center, 2506 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima. There is no cost to attend or registration required. All moms and babies up to 1 year old are welcome. For more information go to

• Savannah Tranchell is a copy editor and food writer for the Yakima Herald-Republic. Her firstborn, Clark, was born March 12 and is learning to crawl by chasing the cat around the living room. She can be reached at or 509-577-7752.