Initiative that provides lessons in vital life skills for new parents marks its first anniversary

An initiative that provides free basic life support and advice sessions for people looking after small babies and children has marked its first anniversary, thanks to members of staff from the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and partner organisations.

Since March 2023 more than 800 parents, grandparents and other carers have attended the sessions, organised by Georgie Brown, lead multidisciplinary team educator in the Trust’s maternity services and involving a variety of professionals who offer advice and support.

Georgie Brown – lead multidisciplinary team educator in the Trust’s maternity services

“The aim is to teach basic paediatric life support for babies and children,” said Georgie. “The sessions are for new parents and those expecting a baby, grandparents, care givers – anyone who is looking after small babies. Choking can be quite common and scary, so one of the things we teach uses mannequins to demonstrate how to deal with that.”

Those attending the sessions can also have their baby weighed, get advice from a health visitor or nurse, and help and support with breast feeding, as well as tea and homemade cakes while talking to other maternity staff as well as parents and carers. For a new parent it can often be the first outing after a baby’s birth, and families can attend together. Up to the session on 12 March 2024, the team had taught over 800 people these life-saving skills.

“These life skills are so important, and people are simply not taught them” said Georgie, who teaches the sessions with her husband Kevin, a member of the resuscitation team at the West Suffolk Hospital. “We have a passion to teach and work together to support people on the sessions. The people attending also provide peer support, sharing problems and reassurance.

“Following feedback, we now include information about childhood illnesses, which people find very useful. We have also expanded the sessions into community hubs around the area, to reach as many people as possible.”

Feedback from people attending the sessions included:

  • So well-organised and welcoming with great advice
  • Good to have all the dedicated staff there
  • Everyone should do this, it’s really helpful
  • I loved that I could bring the baby
  • It was relaxed, calm and put people at ease
  • Absolutely amazing.

Future sessions are now available at the West Suffolk Hospital: Monday, 22 April; Tuesday, 28 May; Thursday, 27 June; Monday, 22 July; Thursday, 29 August; Tuesday, 10 September.

Baby Reia with her dad Kieran at the March session

Sessions available in community settings: Tuesday, 9 April at Newmarket Health Centre; Thursday, 18 April at Haverhill Rugby Club; Tuesday, 14 May at Thetford Early Childhood and Family Service Centre, Kingsway, Thetford; Thursday, 16 May at Haverhill Rugby Club.

Email to request a place at any of the sessions.