UK Government to give guidance on changing diapers and baby talk
No 10 guide to changing nappies and baby talk
New parents will be given government advice on changing nappies, breastfeeding and “baby talk” under a multi-million pound initiative to support family life.
By Tim Ross, Political Correspondent
12:01AM BST 18 May 2012
David Cameron said it was “ludicrous” that parents received more training in how to drive a car than in how to raise children.
A £3.4million digital information service, which begins today, will provide free email alerts and text messages with NHS advice “on everything from teething to tantrums”, Mr Cameron said.
Separate pilot schemes will offer couples with young children free parenting classes and subsidised relationship counselling to help cope with “tiredness” and “mess”.
As part of a series of “family friendly” initiatives unveiled this week, the Prime Minister yesterday gave his strongest signal yet that tax breaks may be offered to families who hire nannies or childminders.
Speaking at a business event in Manchester, he said he was “hugely attracted to the idea of making child care tax allowable”.
Mr Cameron, who has been stung by criticism that his policies have alienated women voters, said that the plan for parenting classes was not a manifestation of the “nanny state” and sought to pre-empt criticism that the Government should be focusing on the economy, by declaring that parents “shape” society.
“These are the big, gritty issues,” he said.
An influential study found that 85 per cent of new parents wanted more practical help on how to care for their babies, he added.
A vast array of websites provide often conflicting advice on parenting, which ministers believe can result in “information overload”.
The new Information Service for Parents will offer NHS-approved guidance on what food is safe to eat during pregnancy, how to make homes safe for babies and toddlers, and nappy changing.
Videos, which can be accessed on smart phones and tablet computers, include help with relaxation techniques and messages from young fathers encouraging other men to attend the birth of their children.
The digital information service, which has been nicknamed “digital baby” in Whitehall, will also send tailored information to parents at different stages during pregnancy and their baby’s early childhood.
Topics covered include “Tots’ bots”, which states: “Find out what you need to know about nappies, including how to choose the best type, how to change a nappy and the accessories you’ll need.”
A section on “Brilliant baby names” lists the most and least fashionable names, while clicking on a link to the “Get fruity” page will give parents information on how to plan meals with sufficient portions of fruit and vegetables.
Other pages recommend yoga for expectant mothers, advice on “staying calm in labour”, and the importance of making a will.
Launching the initiatives, Mr Cameron said he “would have loved” more advice on how to look after babies before becoming a parent for the first time.
“Parents are nation-builders,” he said. “It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values.
“This is not the nanny state; it’s the sensible state. It’s ludicrous that we should expect people to train for hours to drive a car or use a computer, but when it comes to looking after a baby we tell people to just get on with it.”
The pilot parenting classes will be available initially in Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire, and Camden, north London. The subsidised relationship counselling trials will run in parts of London, York, Leeds and Essex.