Parent power for first-time mums and dads

Kayleigh and Declan enjoy their new arrival, baby Freya, with the support of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.
Kayleigh and Declan enjoy their new arrival, baby Freya, with the support of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.

More than 100 young women aged under 19 and expecting their first baby have taken part in an innovative programme since its introduction in Ayrshire and Arran in February 2013.

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme begins in early pregnancy and focuses on helping young women to have a healthy pregnancy and to feel confident about supporting their baby to grow, develop and learn.

The Family Nurse Partnership programme was developed in US by Professor David Olds over a period of 30 years. NHS Ayrshire & Arran is the fifth Scottish health board to introduce the programme, which will be introduced across Scotland by 2015. The programme involves a pattern of weekly and fortnightly visits from early pregnancy through to the child’s second birthday, and is designed to help young women and their partners develop an understanding of their baby, behaviour change, emotional development and the building of positive relationships.

And earlier this summer the Family Nurse Partnership team welcomed their first baby, Freya McPhee, who was born on 12 June 2013 at the Ayrshire Maternity Unit to proud parents Kayleigh Holland and Declan McPhee, of Ardrossan. Freya arrived 8 weeks earlier than expected but has continued to thrive with her mum and dad’s constant support. Freya is now at home with her family and home visiting support continues from Nicola Murphy, NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Family Nurse Partnership Supervisor.

Nicola explained: “The programme works with the strengths of the young people and encourages them to fulfil their aspirations for their baby and themselves. Kayleigh joined the programme on 8 March 2013 and throughout Kayleigh and Declan have shared their future goals and aspirations for themselves and their daughter. Becoming a parent for the first time is a really special time and I am extremely proud of what Kayleigh and Declan have achieved. They want Freya to have the best start in life and to grow up in a loving and nurturing family. Both parents are making plans for the future - for example, Kayleigh intends to return to school to complete her education and eventually go to university. As Kayleigh and Declan’s Family Nurse I am proud to walk alongside them on the beginning of their journey as parents and help them achieve their aspirations for themselves and Freya.”

Kayleigh added: ““Becoming a mum at a young age is hard and I hardly knew anything about becoming a mum. At first I was scared but my Family Nurse helped me through everything and was there to talk to. I think Family Nurse Partnership is a fantastic idea and helps you become the best mum and dad you can possibly be.”

If you would like any further information on the Family Nurse Partnership Programme please contact Nicola Murphy in the Child Health Department at Ayrshire Central Hospital by telephoning 01294 323342 or emailing nicola.murphy@aapct.scot.nhs.uk.