relationship and confidence building in Liverpool

This case study focuses on a Mum experiencing breastfeeding issues, anxiety and isolation, and her daughter Millie (not her real name; aged 2-11 months during the case study). The range of inter-linked support she received from Peep and other practitioners and families in her local Liverpool Children’s Centres highlights the value of such a connected, joined up approach.

How identified for Early Help:

Mum came in as a referral from the doctor, and wanted support with breast feeding. Mum was also experiencing other challenges that emerged during our conversations at the Children’s Centre (in italics below); the support we offered, and the impact for mum and daughter are described in the bullet points.

Support provided and impact:

Mum needed breast feeding support, as she could not get her baby Millie to latch on.

  • Our Health Promotion Worker went out on a home visit to give her tips, and then Mum was able to breast feed confidently, using the techniques she had learnt.

Mum was a single parent, who felt quite isolated. Dad lives abroad and didn’t want any contact with Millie. Mum had never wanted a baby and when she fell pregnant she started feeling very anxious, which became worse when Millie was born. The doctor had mentioned medication, but Mum wanted to conquer her feelings on her own.

  • Mum was encouraged to attend the Peep Baby Babble group, which she really enjoyed. At first she was quiet, but the friendly and supportive format of the group helped her confidence grow, and she started to join in the discussions more. Mum was anxious at first and didn’t want to put Millie down. With encouragement she gradually began allowing Millie to explore independently and her anxiety became much better.
  • Baby Babble and encouragement from staff and other families acted as a stepping stone to trying other groups in the Centre, and she started attending both Baby Massage and the Stay and Play group regularly.
  • Mum has made friends that she meets up with, outside of the Centre. She feels less isolated.

Strengthening relationships and understanding of how to support her child's development

Mum lacked confidence, as she wasn’t sure about child development and what milestones her baby should be meeting. This led to arguments with family members, when they made comments about Millie’s development. This also upset Mum and made her worry.

  • Mum has a better understanding of Millie’s milestones, from what she has learnt during the Baby Babble Peep sessions. She’s enthusiastic about the help she has received and said what a difference the Centre and the Peep sessions have made to her life:
    “I really enjoy coming to Baby Babble Peep and it has brought on my daughter so much. As a parent I feel this group has really helped me with my confidence and I have made friends. I look forward to what I will learn in our classes. I like the handouts we get too, and keep them in a memory box with all the things I’ve made with Millie during the sessions.”
  • We have covered topics during Peep when Mum has been concerned about aspects of Millie’s development, such as her speech and her physical skills. Mum said that this has made her more confident, especially when family members have made comments about Millie’s development.
  • Mum has a better relationship with her family, as she can confidently say that she knows about Millie’s development, and challenge when family members comment that she is behind or she should be doing more.

Increasing mum's own confidence, learning and employability

Mum needed support in getting back to work. However, she was scared about leaving Millie with anyone else and was putting a lot of pressure on herself.

  • Mum is attending a Confidence Building course at the moment, at one of our children’s centres, to develop her confidence further. She is due to attend a First Aid for babies and children course at the Centre.
  • Mum attended the ‘Prepare to work’ course at the Centre before Christmas. She finished the course and really grew in confidence. To attend the course, Mum had to leave Millie in our crèche. Mum was really nervous at first and struggled leaving her on the first week. After Mum saw how happy Millie was when she picked her up, she was a lot less anxious about leaving her for the other weeks.
  • With additional support from the ‘Ways to work’ Family Link Worker, Mum has a new job.  She is now able to leave Millie with her own mum when she goes to work without feeling anxious.

Mum has gained so much confidence. She is a lot happier and her anxiety has reduced. This allows her to care better for Millie and cater for her needs. Millie is a happy little girl and she has developed a really good bond and attachment with Mum.

March 2019. Thanks to Children's Centre Practitioner S Kilty.