NEW parents in Derbyshire are to be given extra support by health professionals in the county in a bid to give their babies the best start in life.
Based on the latest scientific research, new families in Derbyshire will be encouraged to learn about their baby’s early brain development and what a big impact this has as they grow up as part of the at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust scheme.
Under the initiative, health visitors and other health professionals involved in the care of expectant and new mothers will actively engage parents in how early experiences can set a path for their child’s future.
Gail Walker, Head of Children’s Community Services at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We’ll be introducing changes by offering all pregnant women an antenatal contact so that we can share with them the research around brain development and help parents prepare for their baby’s arrival.
“This focus will continue into the baby’s first year, supporting parents to develop loving and responsive relationships which are the building blocks for happy, confident children.”
Gail was speaking at a major conference, organised by Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which brought together 210 delegates involved in Children’s Community Services to talk about Early Brain Development and Positive Relationships between Parents and Children.
The delegates included health visitors, nursery nurses, staff nurses, school nurses and partners from multi-agency teams including the Ripplez Family Nurse Partnership, Children’s Centres and Public Health.
The conference’s keynote speaker was George Hosking, CEO and Research Director of the Wave Trust, which campaigns against child abuse, who spoke about the importance of supporting early brain development in babies and how influential the relationships are between parents and their children.
Research from across the globe shows that children need to be nurtured and loved so that they develop emotionally and physically, and that the optimum time for supporting parents and their children is in pregnancy and the first year of life.
Health visitors are well placed to share the research with parents and to develop programmes that will promote good brain development for babies.
Kath Henderson, Director of Nursing and Chief Nurse at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We are taking a lead in Derbyshire in this important area. Our staff are committed to ensuring we are providing the highest quality services for new families.”