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Free Norfolk support for pandemic babies 

YMCA Norfolk have announced the launch of their free online parental wellbeing programme, shaped to support parents who gave birth during the Coronavirus pandemic.


Starting August 16 and running through until June 2022, the families and community team have tailored blocks of 6-week online workshops around the needs of post-natal parents and new families. 

The programme kicks off with baby massage sessions, with classes running every Monday 1.15-2pm and hosted by Little Dots Norwich. Parents will have the opportunity to learn massage stroke techniques and practice baby massage alongside professionals in an informal, casual online setting.

Continuing with the wellbeing theme, parents are welcome to join YMCA Norfolk and Little Dots for 6-weeks of Baby Yoga, launching September 27. The online programme includes gentle body strokes, mini twists and stretches, swings and dips, singing and rhymes, massage, and relaxation, stretching the whole body and helping babies to experience different body positions. 

The programme came about after staff at YMCA Norfolk identified a need for support among parents who missed out on the regular perinatal support provided - due to the pressures on the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Marie Whiteland, Families Senior Engagement Worker at YMCA Norfolk, said:

“The YMCA recognises that the pandemic has been particularly tough on pregnant women and new families.  Health fears, combined with several lock downs and restrictions has led to social isolation and an increase in anxiety for many.  When we found out about the Norfolk Community Foundation Peri-natal, Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund we instantly knew that we wanted to get involved.”
Further online classes running into the new year include the likes of ‘Calm, Confident birth and beyond’ and ‘the practical peri-natal guide for new families.’ All classes are relaxed and easy to follow with weekly reviewal as well time for informal parent discussion. 

The overall aim of the programme is to make perinatal support as accessible as possible following a difficult year for parents and to help new families to think about postnatal preparation. 

YMCA Norfolk staff want to challenge post-natal taboo’s and ‘get real’ about the challenges ahead. Engagement workers will work with parents to determine the way best way ask for help post-birth, how to tackle relationship difficulties, how to manage social media pressures and as well as other barriers of positive parental wellbeing that have been identified.

Marie added:

“We have tailored most of our support to be online so whatever life throws at us, we can carry on supporting our community.  We strive to deliver many online forums to discuss everything peri-natal, including baby growth and development, Mother and Father mental health, CBT techniques to combat negative and worrying thoughts, financial advice and much more.  
“We are keen for families not to miss out on peri-natal classes so we have worked in partnership with many local businesses to offer courses in baby massage, baby yoga and buggy exercises. 

“We want to welcome babies to be babies, so please do not be concerned about class times coinciding with sleep or feed times, or your baby crying during the session.”

All classes are free to attend. To book a class or for further details, please email Marie on marie.whiteland@ymcanorfolk.org
 



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