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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Grandparents take 'baby classes'
Agnes Orr with granddaughter Rachel
Ms Orr attended the classes ready for her granddaughter's birth
Special classes to teach grandparents how to look after their grandchildren better have been set up by NHS Fife.

The refresher classes in modern parenting are being run in response to the growing burden being placed on grandparents by busy working parents.

About two thirds of families with babies and half of those with toddlers use grandparent care.

This makes it the most common form of childcare, especially for lone, younger and first-time mothers.

The courses have been started by community midwife Carol Murray.

I'm not here to tell them how to raise their grandchildren but just to bring them up to speed with what's happening
Carol Murray
Community midwife

She said: "I used to work in an ante-natal clinic so I was always doing classes for new mums and dads and occasionally I got the odd comment, 'you should send my mum along' so it was a wee idea that I thought about and thought about and eventually I was given the opportunity to be able to run the classes."

The classes are being run at the Forth Park Hospital in Kirkcaldy and are being funded by the Jennifer Brown Research Fund, which was launched by the Prime Minister's wife Sarah, following the death of her baby Jennifer Jane.

Ms Murray is anxious to avoid the charge of "teaching grannies to suck eggs".

Talcum powder

"I always start the classes off saying I'm not here to tell them how to raise their grandchildren but just to bring them up to speed with what's happening," she said.

"A lot of the things we do are showing them how babies go down to sleep, prevention of cot death and how we wrap babies and lay them down, because that's the biggest change over the last few years."

Community midwife Carol Murray
Carol Murray said the classes did not teach "grannies to suck eggs"

She added: "Grannies had a tendency a few years ago to swaddle babies, wrap them up tightly in shawls and prop them up on their side and lots of blankets.

"We've found it's safer if babies lie on their back with their feet at the bottom of the cot, and not too many layers depending on the temperature."

Agnes Orr is one grandmother who has attended the classes.

She said she did it so she would be more confident when dealing with her grandchildren,.

"I found it was very good," she said.

"Things have changed I think - mostly about talcum powder. They don't use talcum powder on babies now.

"When ours were first born we slathered them in cream, you don't do that now."

The scheme has attracted attention from other health authorities in Scotland and may be expanded to other areas.

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28 Feb 06 |  Lancashire
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13 Sep 02 |  Business

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