Support groups for first-time parents (also known as new parent groups) have been provided by maternal and child health nurses since the 1920s.
The purpose of first-time parent groups is to:
- Enhance parental and emotional well-being.
- Enhance parent-child interaction.
- Provide opportunities for first-time parents to establish informal networks and social supports.
- Increase parental confidence and independence in child rearing.
The groups in Yarra are facilitated by qualified Maternal & Child Health Nurses. Families start attending these groups when their baby is between 1 month and 4 months of age. The program is held weekly and run for approximately 2 hours and the topics covered in the group meetings include:
- What to expect in the early weeks
- Transition to parenting
- Sleep and settling guidance
- Child development and the importance of playtime
- Introduction to children’s library services
- Family Health and emotional wellbeing
The first-time parent groups runs for 6 weeks. On completion of the program parents are referred through to age appropriate playgroups. Members of parents groups often forge long term friendships with each other whilst gaining valuable support and information.