Crossing Rivers’ New Year’s Baby: A girl on the 1st

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Laci Meng and Job Nieland, of Monona, Iowa, are the parents of the 2018 New Year’s baby at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien. Leah Elizabeth was born on Monday, Jan. 1, at 1:01 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces. Leah is the hospital’s first Jan. 1 baby in many years, as the yearly VIP usually doesn’t arrive so quickly after the New Year. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Baby girl Leah Elizabeth snuggles with her mommy, Laci Meng, during their first photo session.

By Correne Martin

The very first baby born in the New Year is a celebrity of sorts—in a small town anyway.

Crossing Rivers Health’s 2018 New Year’s baby is a cherished little darling girl, Leah Elizabeth, born to parents Laci Meng and Job Nieland, of Monona, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 1, at 1:01 p.m. She arrived weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and measuring 20.5 inches in length.

Grandparents are Sherry and Dean Nieland, of McGregor; Robert Meng, of Bagley; Judy and Glen Sjoerdsma, of Randolph; and great-grandma is Birdie Meng, of Bagley. The baby is the first grandchild for either side of the family.
Though they were quiet while doting over their new daughter’s delicate features—including a warm complexion, a fair head of hair, chunky cheeks and wrinkly feet—both mom and dad agreed she’ll be spoiled.

Around 25 hours after delivering Leah, the humble mom and dad were barely aware that such attention and gifts from local businesses for their New Year’s baby were even a thing. Yet, they spared a few moments to share their affectionate thoughts and pose for a few pictures with their first-born.

When Leah wasn’t cuddling her mommy, she let out several soft whimpers. But once she could change positions, and snuggle in even closer, she was easily comforted. Fed well and with a clean diaper, she seemed content to yawn, coo and gently suck on her tiny fingers. Laci and Job had very little to say about their newborn, though they were all smiles.

The tending physician for baby Leah was Dr. David DeHart, of Mayo Clinic Health System.

Generous gifts for the New Year’s baby and his or her parents are provided each year by various businesses of the area, and include the following for 2018: Dental Associates, complimentary gift; AmericInn, free one night stay; Panka Family Shoe Store, baby’s first pair of shoes; Huckleberry’s, eight-piece bucket of chicken; The Planted Tree, care package; Mayo Clinic, complimentary gift; The Local Oven, $10 gift certificate; People’s State Bank, bag of baby goodies; Pink’s Automotive, free oil change and inspection; Courier Press, one-year subscription; Wal-Mart, $25 gift certificate; Papa Murphy’s, free family size pizza; Culver’s, $20 gift card; Subway, two footlong subs; Casino Queen, two complimentary buffets; Crossing Rivers Health, care package; and Krachey’s BP, extreme shine car wash.

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