This year’s Baby Week Leeds was a huge success!

Lucy Potter, our Maternity Voices Partnership Chair, is also the founder of Baby Week Leeds.  She took a bit of time out of the fantastically busy BW schedule to update us on the launch.

Baby Week “Better Conversations” Launch Day One

The third annual Baby Week Launch got off to a great start on Monday 12th November 2018 at Civic Hall.

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Families opened the event with the ‘Better Conversations’ theme and promote the ’50 Things to do before 5′ app including the wonderful program of family events going on during the week.

Val Watson spoke on behalf of the Haamla midwife team who work with asylum seekers, refugees and homeless women in the city at St James’s Hospital.  Val and colleague Vicky Cranston helped introduce the Baby Boxes to Leeds last year at the launch of Baby Week 2017.  Val reported that they had managed to reach out to 50% of the women in the city – that’s 1283 baby boxes delivered by the great work that followed last years event including partnerships between Midwives, Doctors, Health Visitors and Children’s Centres!  Debra Gedge, Children Centre Manager, has helped the Baby Boxes to reach further by handing them out through Children’s Centres.

Helping continue the great collaborations was Professor Mark Mon-Williams, University of Leeds & Executive Member of the Born in Bradford Project.  He spoke about the new 50 Things to do before 5 App (which our YUMs group were particularly excited about!). Already connected with Leeds Local Authority,  we are starting to show potential in sharing the same vision with Baby Week Bradford to help make this a regional success.  He was excited about the app describing why evidenced based work helps target social and emotional well-being giving educational benefits of the app could save billions to the health service and even save lives!  Some of us who could downloaded the app right then and there!  We just dipped our toe into the wonderful low cost or free activities that you can share with your baby and celebrate all milestones of developmental journey of a baby’slife.

The week continued with various activities delivered through children’s centres and libraries go the to read the blog and breakdown of the week.

MSLC at Leeds Baby Week

This month’s Maternity Services Liaison Committee meeting took place within the second annual Baby Week Leeds at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last month. The morning meeting included professionals from Leeds University, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Clinical Commissioning Group, Head of Midwifery and a service user. The MSLC meets every two months and as a topic of discussion we invite a representative from other services around the city working families and children. In particular Karen and Ann from Family Support & Parenting Practitioners helped give an overview of the their courses available to families as this was a conversation at the previous meeting on where parents can get support following the birth of their babies. Interesting discussions followed along with updates regarding the changing of the maternity involvement structure becoming more regional – more information on this in the near future!


Continuing the theme of maternity services the event following the MSLC meeting in the main foyer saw ‘Maternity Strategy Conversations’ which welcomed the public to bring their baby to speak to professionals regarding different experiences of maternity care in Leeds, including; breastfeeding, discussing birth plans and supporting preparation for parenthood, young parents and the Haamla Service!

The Rt Hon Hilary Benn spoke a few words about the importance of engaging the families and saw the day as being the last event of another successful Baby Week in Leeds.

As well as the parliamentary presence and just as important was Johnathan Freeman Clinical Director of Women’s clinical Service Unit, speaking to service user and networking with fellow professionals.

Lucy Potter who chairs the MSLC is also the founder of Baby Week which is an adaptation of the Brazilian Semana do Bebe (2000) (UNICEF 2010). This is an early years initiative aimed to join multi professionals and cross sector services within family, children and maternity services across Leeds. The idea is to help improve communities engagement in services available to them and promote new policies including The Best Start plan.

The opening ceremony (Monday 11 September 2017) was at the Crowne Plaza and helped launch the first ever Baby Box scheme in Yorkshire. This helped attract families to obtain a Baby Box which helps to promote safer sleeping. The scheme includes a syllabus which parents are required to undertake in order to fully understand the learning benefits of the critical growth developments of their baby. This service is universal and information on where to get the Baby Boxes can be obtained from the Haamla service and children’s centres across the city.

Our lovely Elaine and Leeanne were also there supporting an MSLC volunteer and representing the rest of Womens Health Matters.

For more information on the MSLC please click here.