More than 190 parents have taken part in parenting classes in Blackpool which are being hailed as a success.
A report into the NSPCC’s Baby Steps project has shown the antenatal programme is helping parents reduce anxiety and improve family relationships, which can lead to better long-term outcomes for the children.
The results have been incredibly positive. Parents who took part in the Baby Steps programme reported decreased anxiety, improved relationship satisfaction with their partners and babies, and improved birth outcomes
The programme is made up of nine sessions and has been taking place in nine locations across the UK over the past three years, including Blackpool.
Following a home visit, parents attend six weekly group sessions before the baby is born, and three more after the birth. It is designed to cater for parents who might not traditionally take up antenatal classes.
It helps to prepare parents not just for the birth of their baby, but for parenting itself. It covers topics such as birth, breastfeeding and practical baby care, as well as focusing on parent-infant relationships, strengthening couple relationships and understanding babies’ development.
Merle Davies, director of the Blackpool Centre of Early Child Development, said: “The results have been incredibly positive. Parents who took part in the Baby Steps programme reported decreased anxiety, improved relationship satisfaction with their partners and babies, and improved birth outcomes.
“The NSPCC will continue to develop Baby Steps and work with health visitors, midwives and children’s practitioners.
“Here in Blackpool we plan to expand Baby Steps to reach many more parents, thanks to support from the Big Lottery Fund’s Better Start programme.”