Bonanza of babies in first for Leeds

Sarah Lines, of Beeston, with one-year-old Leo

Sarah Lines, of Beeston, with one-year-old Leo

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The first ever celebration of babies in Leeds has been hailed as a hugely positive event.

The inaugural Baby Week in the city has just taken place with an array of events celebrating maternity and children’s services.

Baby Week Pram Parade

Baby Week Pram Parade

Following the closing ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday, mums and their tots took part in a pram parade in Millennium Square and were put through their fitness paces with a specialist instructor from Bumps and Babes.

Lucy Potter, director of Baby Week Leeds, said: “Everything we organised has run really smoothly.

“The engagement with families has been amazing and the opportunities that the staff and professionals have had to network has allowed them to show off their services and given people ideas.”

The Baby Week concept first began in Brazil and Leeds was the first English-speaking city to run the event, which aims to work with communities to raise awareness of a baby’s growth and development stages, both mentally and physically.

The week was also promoting the UNICEF baby-friendly initiative, the Best Start Plan in Leeds, which is designed to give every baby in the city the best possible start in life.

Lucy, who worked with Prof Nick Frost, from Leeds Beckett’s School of Health and Community Studies, and the council’s Child Friendly Leeds team to develop the programme, added that Baby Week was a simple idea which could help influence policy.

Activities held through the week included sensory storytelling, baby massage and messy play for tots at venues including children’s centres.

Groups for parents were held, such as a breastfeeding support session, while there was also event to discuss the Leeds Maternity Strategy.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families, said: “Ensuring children have the best start in life is a top priority for Leeds and by working together with our partners in health and education we can make sure that all children are able to benefit from the best services and opportunities as soon as they are born.”

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