If you are looking for a visual guide from experts I am sure you will find The Essential Baby Care Guide an invaluable source of advice and support for you and your baby in their first year. For so many new parents the shock of actually holding their baby for the first time can hit home to them just how little they actually know despite everything they have read, heard or experienced.
The Essential Baby Care Guide is a collection of four DVDs introduced and narrated by world-renowned scientist, Professor Robert Winston, featuring impartial, practical, and potentially life-saving advice for new parents, from top experts in their field, as well as anecdotes from parents. To date, these subjects have not been covered elsewhere in such detail via a format which is scientifically-backed, yet simple to understand. The DVDs will be available as a set or individually from John Lewis stores nationwide, or online, and from The Essential Parent Company www.essentialparent.com.
Research conducted amongst new parents throughout the UK reveals a clear hunger for practical, effective and up-to-date parenting advice: 75% of those questioned agreed with the statement, “New parents are more isolated than ever, whereas the previous generation had stronger support networks.” (This figure varied regionally, but was particularly high in The South.) In addition, 78% felt “overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the internet and in books or magazines” – yet many of them had never witnessed a family member or close friend perform essential parenting tasks before having their own baby. Indeed, looking back to before the birth, 61% of new fathers and 44% of new mothers admitted they were more confident changing a light bulb than changing a nappy. In Northern Ireland, 67% of new parents questioned had never seen a family member or close friend breastfeeding, and in The East, 42% had never seen a bottle being safely sterilized and made up.
Welcomed by Healthcare Professionals
The Essential Baby Care Guide has been welcomed by healthcare professionals and experts closely involved with new parents. “The Guide is excellent, and my team will be showing excerpts of the DVDs to student doctors. They offer an excellent overview of key milestones in everyday care and health, as well as development of the infant, which will be helpful for all parents,” says Dr Deborah Hodes, a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and a Consultant Community Paediatrician for the London Borough of Camden, and University College London Hospitals.
By parents, for parents
The Essential Baby Care Guide was the brainchild of two mothers who both experienced difficulties caring for their own babies during the first year. They were keen to create a valuable learning tool for others, so they founded The Essential Parent Company. Co-Founder, Diana Hill explains, “I know my partner and I would have enjoyed the early months of our baby’s life far more had we been armed with more truly practical advice on caring for him. As a documentary director who had already worked extensively with Professor Winston, I was convinced that the DVD format was the next best thing to learning ‘in the flesh’ from other parents or professionals.”
Dr Rebecca Chicot, who has three children and holds a PhD in Child Psychology from the mother-infant attachment laboratory at Cambridge University, explains, “I had major problems with my babies in their first year, and my daughter suffered from a serious health problem which meant she grew slowly, so feeding and nutrition were big issues for us. I know the feelings of desperation parents have when they aren’t sure how to help their baby. Having seen Diana’s work with Professor Winston on documentaries such as ‘The Human Mind,’ I was keen to get involved to help other parents enjoy what should be a wonderful first year – and beyond.”
New Parents seek their Parents’ advice
The research findings provide a snap shot of today’s new parents in the context of a ‘parenting evolution’. Professor Winston points out in the Guide’s introduction, “In previous times, so much was handed down from grandmother to mother, watching and learning. These days, so many new mothers are not in such close contact with their immediate family, and may not even live near them. So, many new parents have to make do with advice from books or computers. But one of the best ways of learning skills is by doing a practical course with an expert.”
Only 19% of new parents questioned lived within a mile of their family, yet 77% said they would turn to their own parents first for advice on their baby - despite most (67%) also admitted concerns their parents’ advice may be out of date. As such, the Guide DVDs could be seen as the solution, especially given that 64% of the new parents said they would ask advice from their GP or health visitor only as “a last resort.”
Expert advice to hand
The Essential Baby Care Guide consists of four DVDs containing around eight hours of up to date and academically-supported advice and problem-solving on the four issues many new parents find most stressful during the first year of their baby’s life:-
- Care & development
- First aid & Accident Prevention
The Guide features advice from highly regarded experts and institutions, including:-
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative
- St John Ambulance
- Meningitis Research Foundation
- Child Accident Prevention Trust
- Millpond Sleep Clinic
The report’s statistics on ‘parenting anxiety’ demonstrates parents are aware of the importance of ‘get things right’ during the first year – an ambition shared by Professor Winston: “When a child is born, they immediately start making connections in their brains that will last their whole lifetime. In the first year of life, a baby learns more, and at a faster rate than they will ever do again. Early experience is pivotal in making us who we are as adults. The importance of nurturing young children makes it both a joyous, and anxious experience. Today’s new parents often don’t have access to the same practical support network enjoyed by earlier generations, and as a consequence are desperate for good information. Having worked with the team behind ‘The Essential Parent Company’ on several BBC documentary series, I know the huge amount of research that has gone into making this important and highly accessible guide for new parents.”
Forewarned is forearmed
In the newly commissioned research, new parents were asked to think back to the time before their baby was born, and identify which issues they felt least prepared in.
Parents felt least prepared for babies’ sleeping and crying
Sleeping and crying were rated very similarly. In first place came sleeping – especially for new fathers (31%) compared with mothers (26%). Older parents, (aged 45 to 54) said that sleep was the area they were least prepared for (67%) especially when compared with their younger counterparts, the 24 to 34 year old new parents (22%). The sleep issue was very closely followed by crying, particularly in Wales (40%) when compared with the national average (25%).
First Aid and Accident Prevention
20% of new parents said this was the area they were least prepared in, with 37% of new mothers and 22% of new fathers admitted knowing more about The Highway Code than what to do in a medical emergency, such as if their baby was choking. 78% of new parents questioned in Northern Ireland said they’d never seen a baby or child be saved from choking using the correct procedure.
On a lighter note about preparation, 28% admitted they had test driven a car, but not their pram, before buying it.
18% said this was the area they were the least prepared for, although the picture was mixed through the UK, with parents in The South far more prepared than those in The East.
Parents were also asked what their main areas of concern were in the early stages after the birth of their child. The major concern – reported by 46% of parents – was “being seen an over-reacting to an illness / increase in temperature etc if I were to take him/her to a hospital.” On the other hand, over a third of parents were concerned that their ‘baby would get ill but they wouldn’t know how ill they were’. When asked if they were concerned that their baby could die and they could have prevented it, there was a striking difference between fathers and mothers, with twice as many mothers as fathers agreeing (28% and 14% respectively).
Interestingly, older parents seem more resistant to feeling ‘judged’ than younger parents, and were more inclined to admit they lacked knowledge of certain issues concerning care for their baby.
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