Parents asked about the bond with their baby to set up new service

Health commissioners in Blackpool want to learn from the experiences of parents as they aim to set up a new service to help improve parent-infant relationships.

The Fylde coast NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are working with Blackpool Better Start to set up a service to support new parents or carers who feel their bond with their baby isn’t what it should be.

Clare Law, director of Blackpool centre for early child development said: “Becoming a parent should be a time of great happiness and joy but it is a big change, and it can be unexpectedly difficult for some. Parents and babies start family life in a range of circumstances and if they face additional difficulties such as physical or emotional ill health, financial stress, housing difficulties, or relationship breakdowns, being a parent can be even harder.”

“The first few years of life are a time of unique opportunity and vulnerability. It is a period of particularly rapid growth when the foundations for later development are laid. During this time, babies’ brains are shaped by the interactions they have with their parents. Some parents may find themselves concerned they have not formed a strong bond with their baby in the way they hoped to.”

Specialised parent-infant relationship teams are made up of different experts who work with parents to support and strengthen the important relationships between babies and their parents or carers. Currently there are 39 parent-infant teams across the UK.

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “There is currently no parent-infant team in Blackpool, and we hope to create one. To make sure the new team works well for families in Blackpool we want to understand what the needs and expectations of new parents in the area are. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences to help guide the development of this new team.”

If you are a parent and have experienced any kind of concern when bonding with your child you can complete a short survey online. You can also visit your parenting hub for a printed copy. To take the survey online click here.