Monday 20th February 2023
The loss of a child is devastating for parents, and for some, having another child and the accompanying feelings of optimism and joy can conflict with other emotions of apprehension or fear, or even guilt at that feeling of happiness.
The Community Health Team of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is working with The Lullaby Trust on a timely programme called Care Of Next Infant (CONI). CONI provides support and advice before, during, and after pregnancy to parents who have experienced the sudden and unexpected death of a baby.
Based and operating in Cyprus, the Community Health Team provides services to UK Armed Forces personnel overseas from BATUS in Canada to Brunei as well as Kenya, Gibraltar, Naples, Sennelager, and SHAPE in Belgium. As such, it is well placed to signpost the CONI programme.
Explaining more, Zita Jehan, a Midwife and CONI Coordinator of SSAFA’s Community Health Team, said:
“No-one can understand the overwhelming range of feelings that go with the sudden loss of a baby and a subsequent pregnancy as much as the parents, but these concerns are perfectly reasonable.
“However, my colleagues and I are here to guide and reassure parents through these tragic times with a range of flexible, practical, and emotional methods of support, all of which the CONI programme contains.
“These include extra home visits, encouraging parents to keep a ‘symptom diary’ to record their baby’s health, using the Baby Check* app to help decide when their baby is unwell and needs medical help, and how to borrow movement monitors which pick up movements as the baby breathes, ringing an alarm if movements stop for longer than 20 seconds.
“And, vitally, accessing training on basic life support so parents will know what to do if their baby stops breathing before professional help is available.”
Jane Bojdys, Named Nurse for Safeguarding added:
“Ultimately, SSAFA’s Community Health Care Team is here to assist all parents in enjoying those precious early months of their new baby’s life, and this is why we are so pleased to be promoting CONI.”
Find out more about CONI
UK Armed Forces personnel and entitled civilians posted overseas should contact their Health Visitor or Midwife for more information about CONI.