Emily Goldsworth and Helen Tute have opened The Natal Network, a service for parents in need of specialist advice offering a variety of support across infant feeding, introducing solid food, infant sleep, hypnobirthing and birth trauma.
Both previously worked for health care providers offering services which were significantly reduced during the pandemic. This made them realise the need for The Natal Network - a private organisation where parents can self refer to get the support they need, operating virtually at a national level and in person across Lancashire.
A survey by the Parent-Infant Foundation into the effects of the pandemic on health care provision discovered:
● 30 per cent of professionals working in the industry say health visitor drop-in clinics are no longer operating in their area.
● 28 per cent say health visitor appointments are still remote via telephone or online.
● 12 per cent say baby and toddler groups are no longer running in their area.
Co-founder and qualified health visitor, Emily Goldsworthy, from Bretherton, said: “We recognise that parents have been significantly under-supported during the pandemic. Families must have access to qualified, evidence based support, our aim is to meet this need”.
Maternity nurse Helen Tute, from Euxton, who is a qualified 3-step rewind practitioner and hypnobirthing instructor explained: “It’s really important that we listen to new parents and help them to realise their parenting goals.
"We wanted to make sure we offered a service that had a accessible price point, with our cheapest service at £45 for messaging support, and were keen to make sure we could offer all our services virtually so that they were available for all, at the times they were really needed.”
The service launched earlier this year and has been met with positive feedback. Rachael Balmforth, 29, from Standish, turned to the service for feeding advice for her son, James.
She said: “Those first few days of being a mum were overwhelming.
"It felt like everywhere I looked I got conflicting advice.
"I was determined to breastfeed James, but was experiencing problem after problem and ultimately turned to formula feeding.
"I contacted The Natal Network and they explained James’s development stages to me and suddenly all the symptoms started to make sense. I felt supported and have managed to spend the last few months combination feeding James a mixture of breast milk and formula.”