I am a family practitioner level 1 and I work in Carousel children’s centre. My role is to support vulnerable families, one of the ways we do this is by delivering infant massage sessions to promote the attachment and bonding between parent and child.
One area I work with is with the growing Polish community. Feeling of isolation and loneliness is one of the aspects of living abroad and can be more overwhelming when you become a parent away from your family and friends.
As I am Polish it was agreed to use my skills to help the Polish community and engage them with the services we deliver at the Centre.
Prior to the Session
I designed a poster in Polish, detailing essential information: dates, time, venue, but also the benefits of infant massage to interest parents and get their attention.
I displayed the poster in places where Polish people are most likely to be, e.g. Polish shops, local notice boards etc. I also asked local Health Visitors to promote the session.
For most of the parents this was their first visit to a children’s centre and were unfamiliar with a children’s centre’s role and who can access our services.
Initially parents were not sure what to expect, but the ability to talk in their first language gave them confidence. Parents, who had problems with language barrier in English, were more open to ask questions about infant massage and join in discussions about related topics, such as: child’s health, development, feeding and bedtime routines.
This block of sessions was a big success. After 5 weeks, families learnt about baby massage as a quality time together, a way to relax for baby and parent. They also found new friends and support. Now they access other services, e.g. baby group, parental courses and they feel they are part of their Community.

Aleksandra Tokarz

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