IJBPE Conference 2024

1000 Days of Parent Education: Talking to parents about sleeping, feeding and language development

Thank you SO much to all who came in person and we loved that so many of you joined us online. It was an amazing day, full of wisdom, evidence, insight and laughter. 
The videos will be available online for a month to existing ticket holders.

To buy a ticket go to: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/ijbpe/1081116

Carol Smyth

Carol Smyth is an IBCLC and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist working in both Primary Care and in private practice in Northern Ireland. With a background in psychology, she is driven by a passion to promote attachment-based and trauma- informed care to families and babies. She is the author of ‘Why Infant Reflux Matters’, which is both an HCP education resource and a self-help book for families worried about their baby’s reflux and unsettled behaviours. She aims to increase understanding of normal (often misunderstood) baby behaviours and to explain why these are often different from what we expect. This understanding helps to lower parental anxiety and promotes attachment strategies proven to reduce crying.

Parents of unsettled babies desperately trial medications / diets / sleep interventions for reflux. Teaching parents how to interpret normal baby behaviours and  communications, and explaining parents’ role of co-regulation, is a missing puzzle piece which Carol will seek to put in place during her talk.

Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez

Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez, is a Reader in Psychology, an Assistant Director at Oxford Brookes University's Centre for Psychological Research, and Head of the Oxford Brookes Babylab. Her work delves into uncovering how babies learn language, particularly focusing on how infants perceive speech. With over 16 years of expertise in language development, she explores how babies grasp the sounds of their native language, how they acquire these language patterns, and how this knowledge aids in early word learning for both monolingual and bilingual children. Her research is not just about language; it's about understanding how factors like premature birth, socioeconomic status, and even unprecedented events like a pandemic impact a child's early language learning journey. 

During her talk, Dr. Gonzalez-Gomez will unravel the mysteries of early language acquisition, from deciphering sounds to connecting words with meaning. She'll shed light on how this research can be applied in real-life scenarios, bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and practical implementation.

Chris May

Chris May has a long-standing interest in fathering and parenting partnerships. His career included paediatric nursing, midwifery and academia. He has developed and delivered paternal antenatal education for 20 years. His work at the University of Newcastle includes the development and investigation of a range of father focused text-based programs, including SMS4dads.  Skills include message development through collaborative design, assessment of engagement/involvement with text-based intervention and assessment of the influence of text-based intervention with fathers of typically and atypically developing children. Current research focuses on facilitation of partner support, assessment of co-parenting quality and use of communication technologies to provide supportive interventions to new dads.

Chris’s presentation will provide a critical overview of content development in paternal antenatal education. Participants can expect to gain an understanding of what fathers are expecting from antenatal education and how content can be developed to meet their needs. This presentation will also explore the challenges faced by educators when working with new dads and present a vision for the integration of father, and other non-birthing parents, content into programs that can better meet the needs of 21st century parents. 

Dr Lexie Scherer

I am Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies. My research interests centre on research with children, participative methods and research around experiences of young children and their families with sleep. 

Conference paper (working) title:
'Moving beyond parenting self- help books:  ''troubling'' advice on sleep for young children and their families in mainstream parenting texts.

Dr Mary Nolan

Mary trained as a nurse in the 1970s and then as a childbirth educator with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Over her 30 years career, she worked with mothers and fathers across the UK and trained early parent educators in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She was a member of the 2008 UK Expert Reference Group which devised a national antenatal education programme, ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’ (PBB), focusing on normal birth, mental health and sensitive parenting. In 2009, Mary became Professor of Perinatal Education at the University of Worcester, a post she held for 13 years. She has published extensively in the academic press, including books on antenatal education, teenage pregnancy and home birth, as well as chapters in three editions of ‘Myles Textbook for Midwives’. Her research into women’s and men’s experience of early labour, what women want from antenatal classes, health visitors’ engagement with new fathers, and young parents’ sources of information and support has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Eleven years ago, she launched the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education which now has a readership across the world. Since her retirement in 2022, Mary has continued as the UK Editor of the Journal. 

Diane Baumrind put forward the concept of ‘parenting styles’ in the 1960s, inspiring a mass of academic research and much interest among practitioners and parents which persists unto the present day. But how useful is the notion of a ‘parenting style’? Are there universal parenting styles or are they dependent on culture, race and socio-economic variables? Is talking to parents about parenting styles helpful to them, or are we backing parents into a corner where they feel judged and in constant danger of not being ‘good enough’? Mary’s talk will explore these issues and try to suggest some helpful ways of supporting individual parenting styles.

Sophie Messager

Following 20 years as a research scientist, birthing her children led Sophie to a new calling in supporting expectant families. For over a decade, she has guided thousands of families and birthworkers to better understand and holistically support this profound rite of passage. Sophie holds a PhD in reproductive physiology and a DiPHE in antenatal education. She wrote the book ‘Why Postnatal Recovery Matters’, calling for a return to more nurturing postpartum care. A lifelong spiritual seeker, Sophie has trained as a Reiki, Reiki Drum and Drum Healing practitioner/teacher. She blends science and spirituality, reclaiming lost wisdom and rituals. An avid wild swimmer, Sophie spends time in nature, drumming, and conscious movement to stay embodied amidst life’s challenges, lighting the way for others on their journey. She is writing a second book about drumming to support women through birth and life’s transitions.

In this workshop, Sophie will briefly explain how drumming affects the brain and states of consciousness, before leading the audience through a shamanic drum journey.

Ruth Janssen

’Thula Mama is a mother & baby singing enterprise, founded in 2022 by Helen Yeomans with franchised groups around the UK. Thula Mama is about bringing mothers together with their babies and teaching them simple songs & lullabies in harmony. This gives the mothers confidence in their voice, encouraging them to sing more to their babies and share the music with their families. It has been said that mothers have another baby just to come back to Thula Mama!

At the IJBPE one of the group leaders will give a demonstration of Thula Mama in action.’

  • Carol Smyth on Sleep, Reflux and Co-regulation
  • Dr Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez will unravel the mysteries of early language acquisition
  • Chris May  will provide an understanding of what fathers are expecting from antenatal education 
  • Dr Lexie Scherer will talk on Parenting and Sleep Practices
  • Dr Mary Nolan will explore parenting styles and how educators can support individual parenting styles
  • Sophie Messager will briefly explain how drumming affects the brain and states of consciousness, before leading the audience through a shamanic drum journey.
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