Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Baby Jackson showing the way at pioneering scheme for teen mums

Baby Jackson with mum Louise Martin and dad Aaron Moore with their Family Nurse, Roisin Neill.

A new programme aimed at helping teenage mums has welcomed its first arrival.

Louise Martin, who is taking part in the Family Nurse Partnership programme, gave birth to baby Jackson at the midwifery-led unit at Craigavon Area Hospital on February 4.

Both baby and mum are doing well and enjoying being spoiled by dad Aaron Moore at home in Gilford.

The partnership is a nurse-led home-visiting programme delivered by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust which improves health and well-being of first-time young parents and their children. The programme is offered to mums aged 19 and under.

The same family nurse visits the mum and her family from early pregnancy until the child's second birthday, taking them through a range of activities.

There are now 30 families in the Southern area taking part in the scheme which began in November. All families have been very open to the programme and are engaging well with nurses.

New mum Louise, who had a normal delivery, said: "My family nurse Roisin has been visiting me since I was 28 weeks' pregnant and has been a great support.

"She really helped to prepare me for what to expect when I went into labour and has given lots of tips on looking after Jackson – like bathing, feeding and handling him."

Family nurse Roisin Neill said: "We work with parents to help them develop their confidence and skills and with Louise successfully breastfeeding and Aaron giving him plenty of attention, Jackson is thriving."

Early intervention is one of the key themes in Transforming Your Care – the review of health and social care in Northern Ireland.

Paul Morgan, director of children and young people's services for the Southern Trust, said a range of benefits are linked to the family nurse partnership programme.

These include reduction in smoking during pregnancy, longer intervals between pregnancies, fewer subsequent births, better language development in children, increase in employment and greater involvement of fathers.

Applications to family nurse partnership should be made as early as possible in pregnancy – up to 28 weeks – and can be made by anyone including health professionals, teachers, family member or by self-referral.

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