Tips on tots

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AUBURN – Ashley Moore, 19, of Lewiston, is expecting a baby girl May 1.

She’s ready, to some degree. She’s already decided on her daughter’s name: Autumn.

But Moore was having a hard time relaxing Saturday, knowing her due date is right around the corner. Even with free massages and plenty of parenting information offered at a special Community Baby Shower at the YMCA Teen Center, she couldn’t hide her anxiety.

“It’s been a lot of help,” she said, looking around the room at booths where a handful of vendors and nonprofit organizations shared parenting tips, health advice and even children’s books.

Moore smiled weakly. “I’m still nervous.”

At least she wasn’t alone. Moore had friends with her, and there were other young mothers and expecting teens in the room. There also were the agencies brought together by Advocates for Children of Lewiston, which put on the shower for the first time this year in hopes of reaching out to young women and girls like Moore.

“There tends to be a lot of barriers for this population,” said Angie Bellefleur, program coordinator for Healthy Families Androscoggin, which is run by Advocates for Children.

Young mothers often aren’t aware of the resources available to them, she said. Programs like Women, Infants Children (WIC) were represented, as well as the Lewiston Public Library’s Children’s Room and Babies “R” Us, which was giving away diapers and other baby care products. There was information on breast feeding and nutrition. And there were baby care door prizes, too.

Cassiel’s Day Spa was giving out manicures and the massages.

Felicia Merrill, 14, is expecting twin girls in July. She was accompanied by her mother and boyfriend and admitted that, like Moore, she was “very nervous.”

She smiled, though, as it came her turn for a massage.

She’s expecting girls, and plans to name then Hailee and Angel.

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