Innovation Fund Feedback from our friend Elizabeth at West London Doulas Charity
The West London Doulas Charity (WLDC) was awarded the Innovation Fund to run six weekly Post Natal Support classes for vulnerable new parents, especially during the pandemic in West London. Each session ran for duration of 90 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon.
The classes covered key topics which included:
- Breastfeeding – problems getting started, re lactation and eventually weaning.
- Body changes after pregnancy – looking at how much, what and when to eat, supplements and general health.
- First special months with baby – what activities, the importance of the right exercise with baby, when and how to go out, especially during these unprecedented times.
- How did the birth affect you and baby – Including complications, long labours, stitches etc and importantly not being able to have a partner at their side at present.
- Emotional wellbeing and happy relationships – addressing “baby blues”, sleep deprivation and unwanted advice. Also general mental health issues during Covid with new baby.
- Vaccinations and baby illnesses – addressing extra worry due to Covid and lack of health professional visits.
Elizabeth said that every week, they finished each session with parent and baby yoga/massage/exercise.
Elizabeth stated that they were surprised by how many parents didn’t know the goals a baby should have achieved such as when they should sit, stand, crawl as well as tests on sight and sound. She said that the professionals have been able to guide them and put their minds at rest.
In addition, the participants requested a session with the emphasis on new dads which they asked to be led by our child/family psychotherapist. Elizabeth stated that they arranged this and reported that it was very successful. This is something that no other antenatal/postnatal groups offer.
Elizabeth felt the outcome of the sessions, have illustrated well, how useful and indeed vital this service has been. Another, positive outcome was that as they have run the ante-natal classes followed by the post- natal sessions, the continuity has meant that a strong social network and peer support had been created. She said it had been lovely to be part of and watch the bonding that has happened between them.
Elizabeth said that they were able to support a total of 36 people in total including the babies.
Feedback from participants was very positive including the following:
“It is very healing to talk through the birth with the other mothers and Molly”
“Having breastfeeding issues after the birth and to be able to get feedback from Heather and empathy from the other mothers”
“Knowing more about vaccinations has been invaluable.”
“Claudia was so helpful and supportive leading the session especially for new dads”
“I found the parent and baby yoga moves helpful for baby’s digestion and great fun and would like a session for dads and babies.”
Elizabeth stated “We really want to continue both our ante natal and post natal classes and as soon as government guidelines recommend, we would like to have “face to face” sessions at local centres such as Queens Park Children’s Centre and the Stowe Centre. We could continue to offer Zoom for those shielding or unable to attend “.