'Click' antenatal classes: just one 'click' away from better mother-baby bonding

June 14, 2014, University of Hertfordshire

A one-off 3-hour antenatal class called 'Click' provides prospective parents with the knowledge and practical skills to build strong parent-infant bonds, according to new research from the University of Hertfordshire. The research is being presented this weekend (14-18 June) at the 14th World Congress of the World Association of Infant Mental Health being held in Edinburgh.

The quality of antenatal classes provided in the UK is currently quite variable in terms of length and content; with some receiving nothing, while others attend classes for as much as two hours per week for one month. There is often little or no guidance on the psychological needs of the infant. For example, learning how to think about what the infant is trying to communicate - being 'mind-minded' and recognising subtle expression of the infants emotional needs - this learning is key to secure attachment and bonding.

Importantly, recent research shows that as many as four in ten babies in the UK do not develop the strong emotional bonds with their parents that are crucial to success later in life (Sutton Trust, 2014). The 'Click' antenatal classes discuss the nurturing required to help the infant develop a sense of trust and security in the world enabling them for 'school readiness' and to begin their journey as independent learners whilst minimising unnecessary stress along the way.

The research led by Dr Kondel-Laws involved fifty expectant mothers who were randomly assigned to attend routine antenatal classes or the 'Click' antenatal class. The mothers and children were followed-up with video observation at 9 months to explore the impact of 'Click' on the mind-mindedness of the mothers as well as the observed mother-baby relationship. Finally, the cognitive, language and motor abilities of the children were assessed when they were 30-36 months old.

Dr Tejinder Kondel-Laws, principal lecturer in at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Our research revealed that 'Click' classes delivered before the baby was born not only improved the parents ability to 'be in the mind' of their child, but they also reported enjoying their babies more and feeling less hostile towards them.

"When these children were again seen around three of years of age, large advantages in cognitive and motor skills emerged compared to those children whose mothers attended routine antenatal classes. One key area that differentiated the two groups in terms of emotional development was that 'Click' parents reported their child to be 'less clingy' than those who had received routine antenatal care."

ClickParenting uses an evidence-based clinical psychology approach to sharing knowledge about infant mental health with prospective or new parents, so that they 'Click' with their baby and form a strong bond from the start.

Dr Kondel-Laws added: "With up to forty per cent of children missing out on the parenting that they need to succeed in life, we have shown that we can enable parents antenatally; showing them how to minimise stress by 'clicking' with their baby – and we have shown that we can do this effectively and quickly through our 'ClickParenting' approach."

Explore further: Early parenting routines may harm breastfeeding

Related Stories

Early parenting routines may harm breastfeeding

February 17, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—New collaborative research between Newcastle and Swansea University indicates that mothers who choose to follow strict parenting routines for sleep and feeding in early infancy are less likely to breastfeed ...

Sign language instruction for babies does not speed, enhance language development, research shows

October 5, 2012
Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire have found no evidence to support claims that using baby signing with babies helps to accelerate their language development. In a paper to be published in Child Development, ...

Four in 10 infants lack strong parental attachments

March 27, 2014
In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds—what psychologists call "secure attachment"—with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report. The researchers ...

Mothers see their youngest as shorter than they are

December 16, 2013
Many parents say when their second child is born that their first child suddenly appears to have grown overnight. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 16 have an explanation: until ...

First evidence that yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free

May 1, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—For the first time researchers in the UK have studied the effects of yoga on pregnant women, and found that it can reduce the risk of them developing anxiety and depression.

The benefits of touch for babies, parents

September 23, 2013
For babies, the nine months of pregnancy may feel like one long, loving embrace. It's not surprising, then, that studies support the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for mothers and babies from the moment of birth, throughout ...

Recommended for you

Short-course treatment for combat-related PTSD offers expedited path to recovery

January 23, 2018
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating and standard treatment can take months, often leaving those affected unable to work or care for their families. But, a new study demonstrated that many ...

Priming can negate stressful aspects of negative sporting environments, study finds

January 23, 2018
The scene is ubiquitous in sports: A coach yells at players, creating an environment where winning is the sole focus and mistakes are punished. New research from the University of Kansas shows that when participants find ...

Social and emotional skills linked to better student learning

January 23, 2018
Students with well-developed and adaptive social and emotional behaviours are most likely to excel in school, according to UNSW researchers in educational psychology.

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.