Member Spotlight: Gerry, Ashley, and Mason

Gerry was so excited to be a dad, and he shared the pregnancy news with his manager at Straus Family Creamery right as his wife Ashley’s first trimester came to an end.

Gerry learned that Straus Family Creamery had recently become a Cleo customer and that he and Ashley would be one of the first families to enroll in Cleo Baby. He shared the good news with Ashley, who had spent her career as an educator with a background in early childhood development.

Getting Started With Cleo Baby

Immediately, Ashley downloaded the app and was welcomed by her Cleo Guide, Ana. During the second and third trimester, Ashley was very active in the app reading the materials Ana shared, but Ashley was not regularly interacting with Ana yet. During Ashley’s pregnancy journey, she loved all the classes. “I took the newborn class, the CPR class, and the breastfeeding class. I left each class feeling very informed and confident about becoming a mother.”

Baby Mason’s Arrival

Ashley works at a nonprofit called The Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, also known as the 4Cs. Ashley worked right up until going into labor. She had assumed her experience as a teacher and educator would make being a first-time parent easier, but she quickly learned that when it came to making decisions for her newborn, she was questioning everything. Ashley turned to her Cleo Guide Ana, and it was then that they started to form a very strong bond.

“As soon as Mason was born, I turned to Ana for support. I wanted to breastfeed, but after the first couple of days, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Ana provided support and instantly set me up with a lactation specialist. During my consultation, I emotionally fell apart but as an outcome of that session, I was given the confidence needed to bounce back and breastfeed Mason for his first year.”

Mason’s First Year

Gerry was able to enjoy paternity leave but when he went back to work, Ashley started to feel the effects of Mason’s lack of sleep. Ashley’s interactions with Ana increased as she was feeling overwhelmed, emotional, and at times not sure what to do.

“Hearing back from Ana always removed the heavy weight I was feeling. I felt heard when communicating with Ana. She would encourage wellness and mental health breaks, and would remind me to get outside, take walks, and to take breaks from Mason when Gerry was home. Ana provided validation that everything happening with Mason was normal and the way I was feeling was normal as well.”

Ashley’s Return To Work

As Ashley’s six-month maternity leave came to an end, Ashley’s parents were going to be taking care of Mason for the next six months. 4Cs, the non-profit where Ashley works, was very accommodating as Ashley transitioned back to work. Ashley was able to work one day a week at home, with a flexible schedule for hours spent at the office. Even with the support of her parents and an accommodating employer, Ashley faced two ongoing challenges, lactation and lack of sleep.

“I wasn’t always able to make the time for pumping on days I was in back-to-back meetings or traveling for work. I wanted to provide Mason with breast milk for his bottles when I was away from home. Ana gave me tips to keep supply up and how to pump regularly even when my schedule didn’t allow for regular breaks. I quickly realized that I would be able to pump and keep Mason on track for only consuming breast milk in his first year.”

Ashley also shared, “The lack of sleep had been an ongoing battle throughout my maternity leave but it really took its toll on me as I transitioned back to work. I reached out countless times to Ana and she always provides comfort. She introduced me to a sleep consultant who made me comfortable knowing that I was doing everything right and that doing it my way was okay.”

The Cleo Journey Comes To An End

As Mason turns one, Ashley’s journey with Cleo Baby is coming to an end. Ashley summed up her experience by saying, “Everybody should have Cleo. It is so supportive and I don’t know how I would have gotten through my first year without Cleo and my Family Guide, Ana. The Internet is a nightmare when you need information, family and friends often offer conflicting opinions, but Cleo brought me clarity and a sense of calm.”

Cleo’s family benefits platform is an employer-sponsored benefit that combines one-on-one guide engagement, evidence-based programs, and a personalized app experience to serve the needs of families like Gerry and Ashley. Want Cleo at your company? Let us know.