Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Network Born of Desire to Help; If You're a New Parent or Parent-to-Be in North Tyneside, Your Life Just Got a Whole Lot Easier. SAM WONFOR Explains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Network Born of Desire to Help; If You're a New Parent or Parent-to-Be in North Tyneside, Your Life Just Got a Whole Lot Easier. SAM WONFOR Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: SAM WONFOR

IF KNOWLEDGE is indeed power, then Janine Rudin has just empowered mums and dads all over North Tyneside. As any prospective or new parent will tell you, all the cute little outfits or cuddly toys in the world pale into insignificance when pitted against a slice of experience-soaked advice from a mum or dad who is that little bit further down the parenting road than you are.

Faced with myriad choices when it comes to pretty much everything from antenatal classes and alternative pregnancy therapies to nappies, postnatal fitness and toddler groups, a well-informed and recommended signpost is worth its weight in breast milk (which comes in at pounds 100 per litre as anyone who watched that Is Breast Best? documentary on BBC3 on Tuesday evening will know).

Hence the advent of the North Tyneside Birth and Baby Network.

Launched on February 1, the website and accompanying blog offer a home to a collection of established and trusted providers of services for pregnancy and pre-school parenthood, based in the North Tyneside borough.

"I wanted the network to be a place where parents knew they could rely on the products and services which were being offered," says Midlands-born Janine, who takes care of the antenatal and relaxation classes, baby massage and doula services listed on the website.

"It has actually been in planning for the past couple of years, but with kids and work, these things always take a while to finally get started.

"I was already referring my clients to everybody who is involved in the network, but it was in an ad hoc, unstructured way.

"We all kept saying we really should link together properly and at the end of last year I finally decided to do it. We got the website, some flyers and all that stuff done and got ourselves out there."

Visitors to the network will find providers of reflexology, pilates, baby sensory sessions, chiropracty, singing sessions for babies and toddlers, washable nappies, baby massage and meeting-up sessions for mums and dads.

The idea is that it covers from pregnancy right through life as an early family, and with around 3,500 births registered each year in North Tyneside it seems there are plenty who could benefit from its existence.

"The longer-term plan is to get guest writers and more people involved in the generating of content too, so it won't be purely about information," says Janine, who was a founding member of the Prima Baby magazine team and spent many years as a journalist before training to be a an antenatal teacher when she had her second daughter, Lucy, now seven. She also has Alice, who is nine.

"I think people are finding it really useful and midwives in the borough have told us that it's also really easy for them because they can just hand out one flyer, directing mums to us, and from there they can have a look at what's on offer on their doorstep. …

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