In stage two of the Knee High Design Challenge, with New Moments we’ve been super busy meeting and filming mums, dads, babies (lots of twins!), grans, and sometimes, family pets!

New Moments aims to promote attachment, bonding and parental self-esteem. We hope to see positive effects in the short term, on the parent-infant relationship and then see a continuing long term positive impact on children’s development, emotional wellbeing and resilience.
We offer home based sessions starting in pregnancy until the babies are 6 months old, with a follow up at 12 months of age. During the sessions we work with parents using V.I.G. (video interaction guidance), an evidence based intervention recommended in the NICE 2012 guidelines, which is based on filming brief clips of only positive interactions between parents and babies, which are then edited and viewed by the parent together with a VIG guider. This strategy positively reinforces parental self-esteem and awareness, help parents understand the baby’s cues, promote parental attunement and mind-mindedness in an empowering and positive way.

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We have found that many of these families feel countless people around them are more than ready to offer advice around what to and not to do in the relationship with their child, but nobody has ever taken the time to tell them or show them, how good a parent they are. It’s great to see the sparkle in their eyes when they see and smile and comment on their best, really special moments with their children!

As New Moments is building roots in the community, it has sparked a lot of interest and so far we have received very encouraging feedback. It feels the programme is building momentum and becoming not just bigger, but more inclusive and feels it’s starting to become the empowering network we would like to ignite amongst families.

Parents have also been incredibly generous and active when offering suggestions and ideas for how to engage more families in the future; what might work and what could be done differently. All of which we interpreting to develop the design of New Moments’ next steps.

We have established a good working relationship with the local authorities (Lambeth Council’s Children and Young People’s Services, Lambeth Children’s Centres, St Thomas’ Hospital), who have decided they would like to partner with us in delivering New Moments. The next step here is to meet and discuss how to tackle and plan for key challenges and obstacles the programme may face in the future. It’s already a big result for us to be able to work effectively, collaboratively and with such energy with both local statutory and other voluntary services, showing how it’s possible for different sectors to join forces to bring a real change in families’ lives. In this regard, a special mention goes to Homestart in Lambeth, who have been fantastic to work with from the beginning of the Knee High Challenge and have proven to be an excellent partner.

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This is not to say that all is roses with no thorns, we still wake up in the middle of the night having had nightmares about the dreaded word: “scalability”!!! But the good news is we’re shaping a plan, and it looks feasible and effective, thanks to the Design Council Challenges team’s support with building some great new connections. Including a great collaboration with Uscreates, they are helping us to develop an effective business model for our new programme…we can’t wait for our next meeting this week!

Additionally, we have a great new team member, Katrina Jenkins, who has immediately started visiting families in their homes too, and we have bought new equipment in the form of lightweight laptops (finally, no more dragging around ancient laptops, weighing 35kg each!).

Our latest news: On Friday we met with a group of expectant parents at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital to discuss the programme and some of them wanted to participate in the pregnancy phase of New Moments! We are very excited about this as we think pregnancy is often a missed opportunity in terms of bonding, helping parents manage and express emotions and feelings and start thinking about the new “us” they are creating.

Finally, today was a special day as we’ve met our first dad, who has agreed to take part in the programme: he will be remembered forever as a pioneer for New Moments and so we must thank him as he made us realise that some of our questions (we ask a lot of them and parents are always very patient with us!) and ideas work well with mums but not so well with dads!

Time to get back to work now: lots of things to do, change, think and yes, dream of 🙂

As always, we are grateful to the families and colleagues joining us on our journey, and helping us to shape our programme and sharpen our focus and ideas.