Policy into practice - Infant health
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
THE ISSUE: Being a new parent can be tough. Making sense of all the advice and information from relatives, magazines and experts to work out what is best for your baby can be an exhausting challenge.
There can be no doubt that this is a crucial period of development and, recognising this, the Department of Health is launching a sister campaign to its Change4Life campaign. Start4Life will provide impartial health information for parents from pregnancy to when their child reaches two-years-old.
The campaign responds to the worrying growth of obesity in children. The hope is that by targeting families early they will be able to influence long-term patterns of healthy eating and get across messages about the importance of regular physical activity at an early age.
CASE STUDY 1
The Gateshead Bosom Buddies is one of a number of local organisations that provide peer support and advice for pregnant women and new mothers on breastfeeding. The Bosom Buddies are all local women who have been trained by professionals so that they are able to support breastfeeding women. The trainers aim to be seen as independent and informative sources of advice who will listen to new mums, allow them to explore their options and help them to discover their own solutions, depending on their situation.
CASE STUDY 2
Birthlight is a national charity that supports pregnant and new parents through yoga and aqua classes to help encourage active play from a very young age. Yoga classes are offered to pregnant women as a safe and gentle means of exercising during pregnancy, and are also an excellent way to meet other pregnant women and mothers. The charity emphasises the importance of providing holistic and continuous support, and some mothers and their newborn babies return to their yoga classes only a week after giving birth. Postnatal classes allow mothers to have some meaningful parent-child interaction as well as providing the infant with significant physical activity. Each of Birthlight's trained teachers, many of whom are also NHS workers, provide classes for between 10 and 100 women a week.