Family coaching in Helsinki
Family coaching in fall 2020
Virtual family coaching groups in Finnish and Swedish started in August. This family training is aimed at families expecting their first child in Helsinki. Signing up to these virtual training can be done via Perheentuki Finnish Website, see link and instructions below.
Material used in Family coaching
Childbirth is a great unknown that makes every first-timer more or less nervous. For many, it is the first time in their lives when they simply cannot know how things will go. Usually, they cannot even know when it will happen! Since we cannot plan childbirth in advance, can we prepare for it? We can, and we should. Studies show that those who have prepared rate their childbirth experience as better in retrospect, even when the experience has been difficult and everything has gone differently than expected.
A good information package on childbirth has been compiled on the Family Support and Naistalo websites. Take your time in exploring the sections. You may feel like there is a lot of information to absorb at once, but take it one thing at a time.
How do I prepare for breastfeeding? What purchases do I need to make for breastfeeding? Why should I breastfeed? Are there any benefits? What if I get a wound in my nipple at the beginning of breastfeeding? How can a spouse or support person support breastfeeding? When expecting, preparing for breastfeeding and gaining information is very important. The spouse is an important support person for breastfeeding, so get to know the topics of breastfeeding together.
The Naistalo website has good videos related to basic baby care. You will also find information about newborn screenings, i.e. the tests that are done on your baby after birth, and how you are discharged from the hospital.
Role of father/spouse
The role of the spouse or support person is absolutely essential despite the emergency conditions and limitations. The Family Support and Naistalo websites have good texts on the subject. Before childbirth, you should think together about different ways to create a sense of security for the mother in the delivery situation and how the division of labour at home will be carried out after the childbirth. Discuss what is most natural to you and what thoughts this evokes.
Preparing for parenthood
Parenthood brings a new dimension to the parents’ relationship as well. The parents do not have to be together to be good parents, and the composition of families varies a lot. A good relationship needs work and the parties can influence its functionality. Even small actions and discussions help to keep the relationship balanced and alive. There is no script for parenthood, and there are many different kinds of good parenting. It is important to find your own way of being a parent and discuss it with your spouse. For some, the feelings towards the baby begin already during pregnancy, for others on the first encounter with the baby, and for others it takes a little longer. This is perfectly normal, and you should give it time.
Information on parenthood and preparing for the baby’s arrival is available on the Family Support website.
See also (depending on your situation)
Vanhempainnetti service provided by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (in Finnish)
Family Federation of Finland: various information on relationships and online courses. There is also a lot of information about parenthood on the Family Federation of Finland website.: Families and parenthood
Finnish Association for Breastfeeding Support: Breastfeeding Support
Duoduo: Family training online course in English Duo family training
Please note that audio books and e-books on the subject are available in libraries and various streaming services.
Test your knowledge
- What are the different stages of childbirth? What happens in each one?
- At what point of the start of childbirth should you go to the hospital? How long can you wait at home and what are the situations where you need to contact the hospital immediately?
- List different non-pharmacological pain relief methods. Why do you need them even if you are also interested in pharmacological options?
- What is the function of contractions?
- What are the benefits of using your voice, breathing exercises or guided imagery during childbirth?
- What different kinds of care does a newborn baby need on a daily basis?
- Why is skin contact important for a newborn?
- When we talk about breastfeeding, we talk about safety signs. What are they?
- List three things that will help you start breastfeeding after giving birth.
- What is meant by baby blues?
- What is meant by afterpains? What about lochia?
- Think about your own strengths and which aspects of baby care you enjoy. How could you share responsibility in everyday life?
The family coaching intended for first-time mothers in Helsinki consists of a physiotherapy group and family coaching arranged at the maternity clinics before the birth, and activities for families with babies held at playgrounds after the birth.
First-time mothers can make a booking for the physiotherapy group between gestation weeks 15 and 25. You will receive information about the physical changes and exercise during pregnancy, how to relax your back muscles, how the pelvic floor functions and how to stay fit. You can find more information on the physiotherapy groups from your own maternity and child health clinic , and on the physiotherapy units' webpage (in Finnish). Information about childbirth and arranging a visit to a maternity hospital can also be found in HUS’s website.
First-time parents can also book a free appointment with a dental hygienist to receive guidance on dental care. This appointment is not intended for an oral health check-up but to discuss dental care and the development of a child’s teeth.
Some of the family coaching takes place online, and the material dealing with the relationship between the parents can be found in the section Parenthood and parents’ relationship. The services described above are collectively called family coaching, which is intended for all families in Helsinki expecting their first child. The aim of family coaching is to support new parents in their rewarding yet demanding task of caring for and raising a child. The coaching reinforces the parents’ knowledge and skills in order to ensure that their everyday life with a new baby will go as smoothly as possible. The intention is that every family can identify their own strengths and approaches.
Family coaching in Helsinki (pdf, in Finnish)
Maternity and child health clinic family coaching
Registration for the family coaching sessions held at maternity and child health clinics takes place at the mother's public health nurse appointments. Family coaching is an interactive and resource-based group activity; every family has expertise in their own lives. The family coaching groups meet twice before the birth of the baby.
- Watch the breastfeeding videos before the first session.
- Watch childbirth videos (HUS) before the second session.
At the clinic's first family coaching sessionhalfway through the pregnancy (approx. week 25-28), topics discussed include memories of participants' own childhood, and envisioning the baby growing in the womb. Additionally, breastfeeding and other practical matters relating to caring for the baby are also covered. A family with a baby will come to visit the family coaching group. During the family's visit the group will go through matters relating to care for the baby and parenthood.
At the clinic's second family coaching session the theme is birth. The group will discuss
- the signs that labour is approaching and going to the hospital
- relaxing and exercise
- pain relief
- the different stages of birth
- meeting the baby for the first time and skin contact
- and the first attempt at breastfeeding, and care.
At the clinic's second family coaching session the theme is birth. The group will discuss the signs that labour is approaching, going to the hospital, relaxing, exercise, pain relief, the different stages of birth, meeting the baby for the first time, skin contact and the first attempt at breastfeeding, and care. During the coaching session the group will also discuss caesarean sections and other abnormal births. The post-partum period and related matters will also be discussed. The mother's physical recovery, mood swings, feeling down, and depression, as well as participation of the father or partner and support from friends and relatives, are topics that are dealt with in the group. Material dealing with relationships has been compiled on these pages, with the intention that couples familiarise themselves with the information independently. The family can take a virtual tour of the maternity hospital.
Infant family activities
Playgrounds and family houses of Helsinki organise infant family activities as a continuation of the child health clinic's family training for first-born babies families of Helsinki. The infant family activities include four themes, which have the same contents at all locations.
The themes are:
- Being with the baby - what is early interaction?
- Coping in everyday life, being a parent
- The baby’s daytime and sleep rhythm
- Services for families with children: presentation of day care and dental care twice a year.
The activities are voluntary and free of charge for families.
You can select any theme you like or all of them and you can attend them in the order of your choosing and at any location. The locations would like you to register by e-mail or phone no later than the day before the event.