NCT (National Childbirth Trust) at Baby Bird Café CIC, Oswestry

Towards the end of last year, I started working with the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) to help support the formation of NCT Coffee Meets for mums-to-be and new mums at Baby Bird Café CIC, in Oswestry. Here the lovely Zoe from the NCT blogs a bit about the coffee meets, and answers that all important question…..Who are the NCT and what do they do?

Grab a cuppa and read on……

‘Hello, we’re relaunching the NCT coffee meet-ups that we started at the Baby Bird Café in Oswestry at the end of last year and we’d love to invite you to come and join us on a Friday 15th January between 9am and 11am. You don’t have to be an NCT member to come along, the more the merrier. We’re aiming the Oswestry NCT meet-ups at new parents and parents-to-be but if you have an older toddler as well, then they are very welcome too. It doesn’t cost anything except what you decide to indulge in from the café (the cakes are delicious!) and for the first week back, we are offering a few goody-bags for those who are there.

 What’s an NCT coffee meet-up I hear you ask? It’s an opportunity to get together with other new parents and parents-to-be in your local area, have a chat, get to know each other and share some of the trials, tribulations and fantastic moments that you’re experiencing. It’s no understatement to say that one of the most important things in the early days is being able to talk to other people who are experiencing the same things that you are, it gives you so much reassurance to hear that you are not the only person whose baby never seems to sleep or to hear that things really do get easier! I certainly found the friends I met through NCT antenatal classes and baby groups were a life-line, in fact I’m still friends with many of them today and my youngest child has just started school! These are people I saw virtually every week for five years and they’ve been a big part of surviving parenthood, especially those early days when everything is new and different.

So, we’re agreed, baby groups are great, but why NCT? Lots of you may have heard of the NCT (National Childbirth Trust). You might have been to NCT antenatal classes or bought and sold baby clothes and equipment at an NCT Nearly New Sale. You might just have seen the NCT mentioned in a newspaper article but how much do you know about what the NCT does?

The NCT is all about supporting parents during the first 1000 days of their babies lives: from conception to age two. The official words are that:

  • We offer information and support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
  • We campaign to improve maternity care and ensure better services and facilities for new parents.
  • We aim to give every parent the chance to make informed choices.
  • We want to make sure that everyone has access to our services and activities.

But what does this actually mean? In Shropshire, we hold antenatal classes and baby first aid classes. We offer breastfeeding support from a local NCT trained breast-feeding counsellor. We run baby groups and baby walks. We run two enormous nearly new sales every year to help new parents stock-up with all the essentials cheaply and enabling those whose children have grown a little bigger to declutter their homes and make a little money passing on their hand-me-downs. Much of this is organised and run by local parents, volunteering their time and energy because they want to do their bit supporting local parents and because we have lots of fun while we do so! Everything we do is open to everyone, not just to NCT members and most of it is either free or a very reasonable price.

Some of the things that we do raise money for the NCT nationally. It is money raised by us and by other NCT branches that helps the NCT run our parenting help-lines, subsidise antenatal and postnatal courses for teenage parents and those on benefits and low incomes, campaign for change, run our research and information team, provide our information centre online for parents, and support many of the other activities that assist parents across the UK.

 Did you know that the NCT was also centrally involved in the design and development of Preparation for Birth and Beyond (PBB) – a new antenatal education programme developed by the Department of Health in England in 2011? Or that one of the original aims of NCT was that partners ‘should be present during labour if mutually desired ’. The campaign to allow fathers into the delivery room began in the 1960s; however, it was not until the mid-70s that it became widely accepted. A generation of babies have now been born with their fathers in the delivery room thanks to our campaigning. Thanks to NCT research and campaigning you can eat and drink during labour, have more choice about where to have your baby… the list goes on! All this and you don’t even have to be a member to benefit!

So support the NCT by coming along to one of our local events, groups or the Oswestry Coffee Meet. You’ll meet some lovely people, get lots of encouragement and help with life as a parent and by supporting us in Shropshire, you are also supporting parents up and down the country. What’s not to like?

If you would like more information about the NCT locally, please like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NCTShrewsbury/ or email shrewsbury@nct.org.uk . For more information on the NCT nationally, please visit our website: www.nct.org.uk .