Charity collective Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and the Parent-Infant Foundation reveal key findings from an online survey of over 5,000 parents that highlight the chronic under resourcing of services for families, the inequalities in babies’ early experiences and its worsening forecast due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The three charities - who all work to improve outcomes for parents and children with a focus on the early years - warn that many families with lower incomes, young parents and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, will have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Mombie – An honest account of our admin's maternity leave
So, I came back to work last week after 9 months of blissful maternity leave... Who am I trying to kid, it was far from blissful, don't get me wrong some of it was lovely but a lot of it wasn't.
At the beginning we really struggled with breastfeeding it wasn't the same beautiful easy experience that I had with my eldest, there was pain, there was blood and there was ugly crying from me, lots of it.
After a week and a half of trying my baby was checked for tongue tie and I was told that she was fine. I wanted to express and bottle feed but I was put under a lot of pressure from some of the medical professionals looking after us to keep going. I didn’t, I bottle fed my baby for a week and a half feeling like I had totally failed as a parent, after some healing time I attempted breastfeeding again and the cycle of pain and blood repeated itself, this time she was correctly diagnosed with tongue tie, I cried with the relief that it wasn’t my fault that we had been struggling. We did eventually re-establish breastfeeding from about 7 weeks old and her tongue tie was corrected at 13 weeks.
My baby wouldn’t be put down for what seemed like the first 6 months of her life, I would cook dinner for the family with her sat in her bouncer chair screaming because I dared to put her down, I would then have my partner cut up my dinner so I could hold her whilst I ate one handed. I had to wear her in a sling to get any house work done.
At around 6 months old she started sitting and was happy to sit and play on the floor for short bursts then she would want to be held again.
She slept really well, she would wake for her first feed between 4:30 and 5:30am then go back to sleep until around 7am the days might have been hard but she rewarded me with a good rest at night so I was able to cope with the following day.
Then teething started at around 7 months old, from that day forward she seemed to lose the ability to sleep, she would cry out in the night several times, some nights it was every hour, she teethed solidly for 3 weeks which was immediately followed by her first cold, I literally spent the following 2 months in a state of constant exhaustion and sleep deprivation. My return to work was fast approaching and I was terrified about going back feeling like a Mombie.
At 8 months old she started crawling, now my little baby didn’t want to be picked up and cuddled anymore she was mobile and wanted to do her own thing, the night before I returned to work she slept through the night until my alarm went off at 7am, halleluiah!
Maternity leave for me was a very lonely time, once my partner had returned to work and after the first few weeks the visitors started to die down it was mostly spent just me and the baby, my partner needed the car for work and the novelty of getting the bus into town soon wore off, especially if there were already babies on the bus and I couldn’t get on, I was then either faced with waiting an hour for another bus or the expense of a taxi.
Despite all the difficult times, she’s pretty full on and hard work, it takes one smile from her for me to realise that I’ve got this, we’ve got this, the first 9 months of her life have passed in what feels like the blink of an eye, I’m back at work and she’s at nursery. I love her with every ounce of my being but I’m enjoying the little break and breather from being a parent that going back to work has given me.
Am I allowed to say that?!
Home-Start Lorn’s Latest Projects
Big Hopes Big Future
Home-Start Lorn has always provided support to families with a child under 5 years of age, but in recent years the focus has very much been on children under 3 years old.
One of our latest projects, Big Hopes Big Futures (BHBF), will be a bit different – our BHBF volunteers will work with families with a child aged about 4 years old in their pre-school year for a period of 3-4 months
Big Hopes Big Future trains Home-Start’s volunteers to use original, specially produced materials for working directly with the young children and parents in the families they are supporting. They help develop reading, mark making (early writing skills), numeracy, and understanding of the routines.
We all know that early development and education can make a big difference to the lifetime opportunities for our young people and Big Hopes Big Futures will help reduce the disadvantages faced by some children.
Thanks to the benefit of a grant from the Health & Well being Network, we have been able to introduce a new pilot scheme to offer Sleep Counselling.
Our Scheme Manager, Aileen Binner, completed Sleep Scotland’s ‘Sleep Counsellor’s’ training and we are now able to provide sleep counselling to families with a child up to the age of 8 years. Unlike our usual Home-Start support the service is provided by Aileen, who is a paid member of staff and not a volunteer. The service is funded until December 2018 and we are hopeful that we can access funding to extend the scheme beyond this period.
Aileen has also been trained to deliver Sleep Scotland’s ‘Parent Sleep Awareness Workshop’
Sleep Counselling is provided to individual families over a 6 week period and ‘Parent Sleep Awareness Workshop’ can be delivered to a group of 4-12 parents on an evening or afternoon.
Please contact us if you would like to know more about either of these projects
We recently had a visit from Brendan O’Hara MP. Brendan knew a lot about the work of Home-Start and he was very interested to hear the personal stories from one of our families and a volunteer.
On 21st January, the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant, Oban again hosted our Annual Burns Supper. A great night was enjoyed by all who attended, and the grand sum of £1,111 was raised for the ongoing work of Home-Start Lorn.
Angela (Gela) Rose with Kirstie Allsopp & Alastair Stewart, OBE, after receiving her award for longest serving volunteer (Scotland) at the Home-Start National Convention 21st March 2016