* Prices may differ from that shown
The NCT is well known for the bargains to be had at their nearly new sales, and for preparing parents to be through the popular ante-natal classes, but as I haven't had much experience with either, I decided to write about something a bit different, and that's the NCT Peer Supporter training which I recently completed.
Without going on and on too much, I feel lucky to have breastfed my daughter, but am well aware that my experience differs from other peoples, and not everyone finds it easy. Having spoken to both formula and breastfeeding friends of mine, I am aware of a lot of the pitfalls, and also of the lack of support that's out there sometimes.
And that brings me to the NCT, an organisation which is an excellent support to breastfeeding mums. They run Baby Cafes, where everyone is welcome, but there is a particulalr emphasis on breastfeeding. The cafes are run by qualified Breastfeeding Counsellors and Health Visitors and are supported by Peer Supporters.
Peer Supporters are volunteers who are trained to offer support on a mum to mum basis, as breastfeeding mums themselves, with experience to offer. Volunteers are expected to have breastfed for six months or more and the NCT pays for the training, and on completion it's appreciated if volunteers can help out on a rota basis around their other commitments
My local Surestart children's centre works closely with my nearest Baby Cafe, and suggested I do the training which came at the right time for me. I was becoming a little bored of being a stay at home mum, yet didnt want a full time job and coulden't find a part time one.
I signed up for the training as I wanted to do something useful, have a purpose, and open new opportunities for myself.
The course took place over eight weeks, and each session was two hours long. There were ten mums and we all had our babies with us, which was fine as the training was held in a children's centre, and the staff kindly occupied the babies in the same room.
The content was varied and thorough and we covered attachment and positioning which is vitally important for successful breasfeeding. We also looked at problems associated with feeding including Mastitis, Tongue Tie, Colic, Reflux and Thrush.
On top of that we looked at various scenarios and case studies and studied child protection issues. The content was delivered through flipchart exercises, worksheets, groupwork and videos, and through discussion.
The Breastfeeding Counsellor who faciliated my course was excellent and immediately made everyone feel valued and at ease. She was professional, yet warm and engaging.
Having completed the course I now feel well equiped to attend my local Baby Cafe, and support mums to the best of my ability. I am excited about my new role and look forward to having a purpose and being able to contribute something in my own right, and not just through my role as a mummy to my lovely baby.
I really enjoyed the training and learned an awful lot from it. I found it facinating to find out more about the biology behind breasfeeding, and to discover things I never new. It was nice to have my brain back in gear for a change!
Here are some useful web addresses;
I really hope other people consider becoming Peer Supporters as it is something really important which helps people who want to breastfeed. It's also a nice thing to say you have given something back to your community and hopefully made a little difference.
I signed up for my first NCT nearly new sale as a way of getting rid of my maternity clothes but I've since become an avid fan and am just pricing up items for my 4th sale in March.
How does it work?
Once you've found a local sale you need to contact the branch to book a sellers place. Most sellers places get booked up months in advance so act quickly.
My local branch require a £10 deposit which is only cashed if you fail to turn up on the day.
You are then sent or e mailed a sellers pack with 100 labels which you attach to each item. You fill in the description of the item and a price in multiples of 50p. Then you put your name and phone number on the back of the label, You also fill in a master sheet with the same info which enables the NCT helpers to tally up your profits.
Then you turn up on the day with all your items at least half an hour before the start of the sale.
The NCT take 25% of each item sold and sends a cheque for the rest a couple of weeks later.
What you can sell.
*Clothing for babies and children up to 6 years
*Baby & Maternity equipment
*Toys, games and books
Things I have learnt.
*Go to a sale before you become a seller to get an idea of what it's all about.
*There are always loads of young baby clothes so only send in your best stuff.
*Hand knitted stuff doesn't sell
*Toys always sell well in my opinion.
*Only send in good quality items - these sell well
*If you going as a buyer, get there early (NCT members are allowed in first)
*Volunteer to help at the sale, you get first dibs on the bargains then.
I wish I had heard about the NCT sales when I was pregnant as I could have got a lot of the stuff I needed at a fraction of the cost but they have also proved really useful in getting rid of the mounds of baby stuff which won't be used again.
I find the 25% they take is reasonable, it doesn't compare well to auction sites but the sales do generate literally hundreds of buyers who are looking for baby bargains so I always find I sell around 75% od the stuff I send in.
As well as selling I can never resist buying a few things and have bought some lovely clothes and toys - my last bargain was a huge box of stickle bricks for £4.
I have been a member of the NCT for over 3 years now. Initially I heard about the NCT through a workmate who told me it was a good way to make friends with other first time Mothers. The joining "fee" is around £100 in my area (Hampshire) and this covers your initial classes which cover coping in labour, the different pain relief you can take and breastfeeding.
3 years later I still meet up weekely with my NCT group for coffee mornings, we take it in turns to host and have lunch together We have formed valuable friendships and its nice to have the support and advice of other like minded Mothers.
If you want to become a member without joining the classes it cost around £35 and for this you get a quarterly NCT newletter and get to go to NCT sales (second hand nearly new sales which are an exellent way of both making mney and picking up childrens items at a fraction of the price) 15 minites before the other customers letting you get to the bargains first.
Preparting for the birth of your first (or or any other) child is a nerve-wracking experience. You have little or no idea what to expect, suggestions, recommendations and warnings are offered from everyone from your mother to the cashier in your local tesco. Is there a voice of sanity somewhere out there? I would suggest there is (at least one) - the National Childbirth Trust (NCT www.nct-online.org) This is a charitable organisation supported primarily by members' subscription payments and fundraising who have been supporting new and soon-to-be parents for over 40 years and at the same time supporting parents in making informed decisions on how the child is born. My wife and myself went on a locally run NCT antenatal class and found it invaluable in preparing us for the birth of our first child. If your NHS antenatal provision is as bad as it is in our area you will benefit from something more - guarenteed! The sessions (I think there were 6) included teaching on what to expect before going into hospital, what to expect when you got there, and how to cope when you got home (do i really need an infinite supply of cotton wool balls?). I would say the format of the sessions are about half teaching (by a trained NCT antenatal teacher)and half discussion, and this certainly starts you thinking about what caring for a baby is all about. Talking through your preconceptions and worries with other soon-to-be parents is ,I think, the ideal way to understand that you're not the only one going along this scary journey. One other important thing - NCT nearly new sales. They are the biggest way of saving money we have found without exception. They are run by the local NCT groups and involve piles and piles of nearly new baby/child clothes for anything from 25p to a few pounds. The savings that we have made so far must run into over £100 at least - it's a bit hard to keep track when you come home from the sale wit
h two big bags stuffed full of almost brand new good quality clothes Find out where you're nearest one is, and if you've got children cancel everything and go - by the way I've just found a link to all locally run NCT sales on their website (address above)!
This web site is just bursting with sensible, no nonsense information that most of us want to know about when pregnant, especially for the first time. The National Childbirth Trust ( NCT) website can be contacted at www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com. Whilst the NCT is a registered charity, their services can be accessed by all and they want to promote good advice for all expecting a child, or for parents of young children. The website is easy to maneuver around. It gives clear information about the aims and ideals of the NCT, and how you can become a member. But for me, I was most impressed with their information pages. They split their information pages down into the following broad headings:- pregnancy, birth, after the birth, 3-6 months, 6 – 12 months, child development and becoming a dad. When you access each of these main headings, you are then given a range of pages to view that are relevant to that category. This might include information on the stages of pregnancy, feeding, sleeping, how becoming a parent affects your life, returning to work after the birth and equipment needed to care for your baby. The advice is clear, concise and non patronizing. The site also has a search facility if your not sure where to look for for advice. I personally found this facility a bit lacking in its ability to sort out information, but it does mean that you will find what you want if you use the search facility. The website also has information and contact numbers for all local NCT branches, details on their excellent nearly new sales, breast feeding information and assistance on how to contact one of their breast feeding counselors ( which is a free service, whether you are a member or not), and a link to the NCT shop. The NCT is renowned for its excellent range of maternity bras, equipment and baby products and this site will enable you to browse their products and buy online. There are pictures and descriptions o
n all the products available, and ordering is easy. I like the site because the information is great, its easy to negotiate around the site, they don’t oversell their wish for you to become a member of the NCT and they offer good up to date information on maternity services. Its well worth a look around the site, and the shop is great when your bumps to big to enjoy wondering around town!!!
I joined the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) a few months ago because i needed to get out and meet new people, I have 2 kids under 3, my local branch is brilliant and i have met so many wonderful people. I have recently decided to become a MAVA Bra agent for my local branch (volunteer bra fitter in other words) just so that i can help out and give something back to this wonderful branch. I also would like to become more involved and maybe do another position within the branch too. I have helped out at the rummage sale recently held and i am helping to collect money for them next weekend, its nice to help out. If anyone was considering becomming a member then i would say go for it because it is such an easy way to make new friends. Each branch holds coffee mornings and Tea afternoons every week and sometimes they are more elaborate, for example an easter egg hunt or a teddy bears picnic. You can even find them online now at nctpregnancyandbabycare.com, which is full of brilliant information including a list of local branches and a list of the nearly new sales coming up. The sales are the best way to buy things like clothes, toys and baby accessories that have hardly been worn/used. You don't even have to be a member to go along to the sales or coffee mornings, they are relaxed and fun, and you do get to meet new people.
On a recent visit to the National Childbirth Trust(NCT) Good as New sale in Harrogate this month, I was very impressed with the quality of clothes and equipment available. With clothes ranging from newborn to six years of age there was plenty of choice. The clothes are given to the sale by mothers and fathers and all proceeds go to the NCT. Depending on the age of your child the availability of clothing can be limited, as the clothes for babies and toddlers(0-18 months)tend to be snapped up very quickly. After arriving at the sale it is important to secure the best items first and to grab as many as possible,it can become a bit of a bun fight, but good fun too! After only an hour the purchases totalled £50.00 for a dozen outfits and a baby carrying frame. Well worth a visit as you get good quality items cheaply and all proceeds go to the charity. Contact nearest National Childbirth Trust for details regarding future sales.
I joined the NCT two years ago when I was expecting my second child. I heard about them via a few of my friends and I was very impressed with what I was told. The antenatal classes where very good, lots of information and the teacher would find things out for you if she wasn't sure by asking midwives at the local hospital. It prepared us well for what to expect when having a baby in Britain. (our first was born abroad) Issues covered where premature birth, cesaerean, different positions to give birth in, breastfeeding, relaxation. And all the different pain relief that's available. The social events they organise are nice, it gets you out the house and to meet people. I went along to their Bumps and Babes coffeemornings and it was nice to talk to other expecting or new mums. Once my second one was born I got lots of support from my postnatal supporter, this is one of the services the NCT offers. She would ring me up to see how I was and to tell me about any coffeemornings in my area. It made me feel less isolated and it was very welcoming. They also organise lots of outings for parents and their infants, like going to the park, Christmas party. Twice a year they organise a nearly new sale, which gives you the opportunity to sell your baby equipment and clothes or of course to pick up some nice bargains. Apart from the local activities, the NCT also brings out a monthly magazine called "Generation" with lots of info for parents. You can also Train with the NCT, become an Antenatal class teacher or Breatfeeding counsellor or Postnatal Discussion Leader. To me the NCT is a valuable resource and I can recommend them to all expecting and new parents or if you move to a new area they are a brilliant organisation to make friends.
A few days after I gave birth, I left the hospital still really struggling to breastfeed my son. I have inverted nipples which didn't help, but after being in hospital for several days, I lost count of the different positions and ways that each midwife showed me regarding breastfeeding. I came home really confused, still struggling to breastfeed and worrying whether my son was getting enough milk. On Sunday evening, the day after coming home, I phoned the NCT in desperation and got the telephone number of a breastfeeding counsellor, who I phoned. I can't remember the lady's name, but I am forever thankful to her for her advice and it's thanks to her that I'm still breastfeeding my son nearly 6 months later. She gave me important advice about positioning my son on the breast, with his head facing it and she spoke to my husband to help him to position me as it's hard to see what you're doing close up and someone else on-looking can really help you with your over all position. I am really grateful to the breastfeeding counsellor and to the NCT. I wasn't even a member at the time when I phoned, although I have joined since. I would advise every mum-to-be to join the NCT or at least keep their number handy, then if you find that you come home from the hospital and you are struggling on your own with breastfeeding, their advice can be invaluable. I am really grateful to them as I believe that with their help I was able to give my son the best start in life through breastfeeding.
I particularly reccommend postnatal groups to parents who don't know many people locally. Having been to my local health service antenatal classes I did not use the NCT until after my baby was born. The people at my antenatal class live a few miles away so I thought I'd try the NCT. I found a group a 10 min walk away from my house so I will get to know the parents of the children my little girl will eventually go to school with. It is hard to go the 1st time, your life has been turned upsidown especially after your 1st baby but it is worth it. My baby loves seeing other babies and I have the chance to discuss baby things with the real experts, other mothers. I have also found out about local baby swimming which I am planning to try when she has finished her vaccinations. They do ask for a small donation to the NCT but only about 50p and it is voluntary. So don't sit at home lonely and bored take the plunge and ring the NCT.
I thought the NCT was great. My partner and I went along before the birth of our first child. Although we expected the room to be full of blokes with beards, earth mother types, and everyone wearing kaftans and whole-wheat sandals, we were pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was just normal, like us. It was just as well, because much tea was consumed with these people over the weeks preceeding the birth. The meetings were mainly informative, with the tutor talking us through different aspects of childbirth and the first few weeks with anew baby. There was plenty of time and space to ask questions, and I felt that we gained a lot. You can feel sometimes that you are doing all the pregnancy thing on your own, and this is a good way to get your partner involved, and ready for the birth if he/she is attending. I felt that all this paid off during the birth of my child, as I was able to make an informed choice about drugs and intervention. The cost varies - there are concessions for people on benefit and students, look them up in the phone book for a group near you.
I found my local NCT group unhelpful. The ante-natal classes were very good but there is very little support for working or non-breastfeeding mothers. I only breastfed for 5 days and I cried most of those because I was struggling so much - the NCT frowned on this. I spent a lot of time justifying why I was doing it. My breastfeeding contact wasn't available when I needed her - as we understood it from our antenatal classes. None of my local group work and the working mums group only meet once a quarter. I find this totally out of date - there are lots of working mums now. Fortunately our area is getting better but my son is nearly 4 now - I needed this support when he was little. Boo to the NCT.
If you are pregnant (especially with your first child) I wouldnt hesitate in telling you to sign up for NCT classes. We went along to our first class with the fear that it might be full of lentil eating sandal wearing people that would tell us that even taking an asprin in labour was wrong! It was full of normal people -they limit the class sizes to about 5 couples. we found that it was not just a teaching session but also a social thing ( 3 years later we are still in contact) We found the classes to be a goldmine of information and it was invalible the things that we learnt. After the birth we were also contacted by our local group and this was another source of meeting people throw coffee mornings and their adopt a new mum scheme- it was great to be able to say help I think some things wrong and actually be told nah! mine did that as well. Dont be put off by the image of it all being about natural birth and breast feeding it really isnt. Its about being able to make choices in later pregnancy and during birth. It really was worth it for us. NB they do do a discounted rate for students low waged etc.