Parents-to-be are often unprepared for the emotional aspects, as well as the physical responsibilities, of becoming a parent. This has an impact on their own emotional health and on their relationships with the baby and with each other.
In 2016 Family Links the Centre for Emotional Health commissioned the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Hull to examine the impact of our 8-week Welcome to the World Programme.
The research included 131 participants who completed questionnaires and attended focus groups. It concluded that parents who engaged with the programme experienced: positive communication between each other, an understanding of their baby’s needs, an understanding of their own emotional health needs, a greater understanding of their roles as parents, and an increased understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding.
The researchers published the focus group data in the British Journal of Midwifery*. The focus groups included 36 parents and explored their experience of the programme and its effect on the early postnatal period.
The programme increased couples’ mutual empathy and their understanding of the importance of good communication and spending time together.
Many parents who attended said that learning about infant development and communication had a profound impact on how they related to their baby.
Parents felt that they benefited from the inclusion of expectant fathers in attending the programme.
Here a few quotes from parents who attended the programme:
"It definitely made me feel more involved with the pregnancy, coming to this. Like I was part of it as well. And it weren’t just like doing the carrying and stuff. When I came to the group I came as her partner." - Dad, Welcome to the World Programme
"We’ve been told a thousand times by our parents, 'You’re spoiling that baby, you can’t be picking her up.' But at the nurturing group they told us that you can’t love your baby too much, and they do need you all the time, so don’t think you’re spoiling them." - Mum, Welcome to the World Programme
"Through discussions around feeding, fears and our judgements in the Nurturing Programme it reduced my anxiety about breastfeeding and for this I am extremely thankful." - Mum, Welcome to the World Programme
You can find out more about our work in our 2019-2020 Impact Report, check it out!
* Wadephul, F., Jones, C., & Jomeen, J. (2019). ‘Welcome to the World’: parents' experiences of an antenatal nurturing programme. British Journal of Midwifery, 27(6), 353-361