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More help for young mums

26th March 2017

Family Nurse Partnership marks Mother's Day milestone.

More than 1,500 young mothers have graduated from a pioneering programme that provides them with support and regular home visits from a specially trained nurse.

The Family Nurse Partnership includes visits every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of a baby's life. The programme is set to be expanded to all first-time teenage mothers by the end of 2018.

The nurses support young mums on issues like parenting skills, health advice, making the home environment right for the child, breastfeeding, diet guidance, family relationships, and taking steps into education or the workplace.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:"I am really pleased that the Family Nurse Partnership has reached this milestone, just in time for Mother’s Day. More than 1,500 young mums have benefited from dedicated support to build on their strengths and achieve better outcomes for their children.

“We are absolutely committed to getting it right for every child. As this programme expands, I look forward to seeing more families with healthier, happier children - thanks to this extra support from nurses, giving first-time parents the confidence to make good choices."

Jamielee White from West Lothian participated in the programme, with Alison Scholes as her family nurse. She gave birth to her daughter Emily in 2014, when she was 19.

Jamielee said:“It made a massive difference having a family nurse. It was really good to have Alison visit me during my pregnancy so I could get to know her before I had my baby and it helped me feel prepared for becoming a mum.

“I was worried about not having a strong bond with my baby and Alison encouraged me to talk about it and see all the things I was doing well. She was always non-judgemental and gave me so much confidence.

“She was someone I could talk to about everything I was going through. She also helped me think about what I wanted to do in the future and encouraged me to go back to college.”

Alison added: “It is so rewarding working alongside clients like Jamielee. As family nurses we can build on their strengths, motivation and confidence to be a really good mum.

“During the visits we develop a trusting relationship and talk about the things that are important to them. We help them and their partners prepare for becoming parents, as well as other aspects such as their health and family relationships.

“From the very beginning, clients are encouraged to develop a strong bond with their baby. This important start in life helps their baby feel secure and is the foundation for healthy development.”

The Family Nurse Partnership programme is an intensive, preventive, one-to-one home visiting programme for young, first time mothers from early pregnancy until their child reaches two. Developed in the USA by Professor David Olds, it is delivered in this country under licence. Scottish Ministers hold the licence for the programme in Scotland.

As of February 2017, 1,517 mothers and 1,531 children (aged two) have graduated from the programme. This does not include the figures for the original Lothian pilots (120 and 121 respectively).

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