Classes For V I Parents

Antenatal & Parenting Workshops for V I Parents

I offer specialist birth and babycare classes to blind and partially-sighted parents, as well as the option of sessions by phone. If you’re planning to breastfeed, my V I mums breastfeeding workshop may be just what you’re looking for, whilst my weaning workshop is aimed at parents whose little ones will soon be starting solids. Finally, my baby sleep workshops tackle the dreaded issue of sleep and how to get some!

Have a look through this page, to see what might suit you best, and do feel free to get in touch if you are unsure which option to go for. You may decide to choose a combination of workshops and topics from the Birth & Babycare Classes menu below, and if that’s the case, we can put together a package to suit your individual needs.

In addition to classes, I can provide ongoing support through pregnancy and/or the postnatal period, via telephone. Have a look at my Doula Services page to find out more.

Birchtree Birth & Babycare Classes For V I Parents

Even if you are lucky enough to have good local classes to attend, the reality is that “mainstream” antenatal and “parent craft” sessions just can’t fully address all of the questions we all have as V I parents-to-be. Those teachers or midwives who do take steps to include us in classes and make resources accessible, still can’t share with us any of the practical tips and reassurance which another V I mum can provide.

What I offer are specially designed private sessions for V I mums and/or dads, to help you plan for a positive birth, ensuring your individual needs are met, and to prepare you for the practicalities of newborn babycare. No question of not being able to access teaching aids and handouts, or feeling self-conscious or excluded from visual demonstrations. In a relaxed environment, we can discuss some issues which just aren’t relevant to sighted parents, and you can practice new skills like nappy changing and baby carrying, without an audience!

As classes are tailored to you, the schedule depends on your individual priorities, but the menu includes:

    • Accessing pregnancy and parenting info
    • Debriefing/talking through previous birth experience
    • Physiology of normal birth
    • Comfort measures for labour
    • Options for pain relief
    • Water birth
    • Medical routines and interventions
    • Caesarean
    • Choosing your birth companion/s
    • Making your birth plan
    • Preparing your “labour bag”/home birth supplies
    • Ensuring your specific needs are met in labour
    • Dealing with a hospital stay
    • V I breastfeeding basics
    • Changing and bathing your baby including cloth nappies
    • Sleep safety
    • Minor ailments and measuring medicine
    • Measuring formula milk
    • Baby soothing tips and tricks
    • Juggling  guidedogs and little ones
    • Choosing and using slings/baby carriers
    • Getting out and about and buggy options
    • Accessing local professional support
    • Tapping into peer support
    • Home-made cake

Birth prep and Babycare sessions will include practical discussions on ensuring you get the best support possible for labour, and how to manage day to day tasks such as pulling buggies and measuring feeds, as well as opportunities to look at a variety of “specialist” and “mainstream” equipment which you may find useful. You will also practice some new skills, such as using carriers, swaddling, and changing nappies! (We will be practicing with dolls, not newborns!).

You will make plans for a positive birth, and increase your knowledge and confidence about babycare, before your baby arrives. I will share with you information and tips which can help you, give you the chance to chat about some of these issues in advance and practice some unfamiliar skills. The intention is to offer encouragement and boost your confidence in your ability to cope as a new parent and to overcome the ordinary practical challenges we all face.

Classes draw on my knowledge as a doula and antenatal teacher, with the addition of BabyCalmTM training, as well as the real-life experience of supporting literally dozens of V I parents over the years. As a blind mum myself, I obviously have first-hand experience of the challenges and joys you face!

Dads – I am aware that birth and parenting classes can be particularly daunting for you V I dads, and you can often end up feeling quite out of the loop and excluded. I also understand that dads tend to have different concerns to mums, and may want different information. I have experience working with V I dads of sighted partners, as well as V I couples. My classes give you the opportunity to ask questions and try out equipment and techniques like changing and baby carrying in a relaxed way, without feeling self-conscious.

My birth and babycare packages are tailored to the needs and experience of the parents involved; So they are not just aimed at first timers! Many parents like to refresh or increase their knowledge for the new arrival, particularly if it’s been a while since their first. If your previous birth was difficult or traumatic, I offer debriefing time to talk through what happened and how you feel, before making plans for a more positive experience next time around. You may also want to find out about the strategies for babycare which other V I parents use and recommend.

You will be able to try out swaddles, slings, carriers and other baby equipment before you buy, and I can provide discounts for certain baby carriers and birth pools. In addition, I can help you to access local support from a doula, breastfeeding counselor or sling consultant if you want it.

Comprehensive handouts are provided in accessible formats.

The course is suitable as a “specialist supplement” if you are attending classes elsewhere, or as a complete “stand alone” package.
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Telephone Sessions

In order to make my support available to V I parents across the UK, I offer a modified antenatal package using telephone or Skype, as an alternative to “hands on” sessions. Packages are tailored to individual needs, and will provide you with a wealth of information and the chance to discuss your birth plans and/or preparing for the practicalities of caring for your new baby. Depending on whereabouts you are, you may opt for a single face to face class, with follow ups by phone.


My full birth and babycare preparation package for V I parents costs £120, including classes individually tailored to you, comprehensive handouts, discounted birth pool and slings/baby carriers, help accessing local support, and home-made cake!

This is based on a total of 8 hours, which can be made up of either 1 or 2 “hands on” workshops, 4 telephone sessions, or a combination of both, depending on what suits you best, taking into account the logistics of travelling. I don’t charge anymore for face to face than phone sessions, in order to keep costs as low as possible for you.

If you decide to take a class or 2 with me to supplement an antenatal course you are doing elsewhere, such as with NCT, then we will agree on a price, depending on what you want to cover and the hours we will need to do that.

For a chat about your needs and how I can help, please feel free to contact me.
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Birchtree Breastfeeding Workshops – for V I Mums

Breastfeeding when you are blind/visually impaired is perfectly possible, plenty of us do it.

Birchtree breastfeeding workshops will teach you the basics for getting started with breastfeeding, in a non-visual way, along with tips and techniques which other V I mums have found useful. I will share with you my experience supporting many V I mums with feeding over the years, underpinned by up to date breastfeeding knowledge. Obviously, face to face workshops are ideal, but if distance is an obstacle, my telephone workshops provide the next best thing – including detailed handouts, and assistance locating appropriate local support too.

Breastfeeding a new baby can be daunting for any mum, but being V I may mean some extra challenges. Breastfeeding classes tend to be taught quite visually, and you can’t take advantage of pictures and videos explaining how to get your baby well positioned and latched on comfortably to feed. Health professionals may not have the experience and skills to support you if you encounter difficulties. Your midwife and health visitor are unlikely to have come across a V I mum before, and may be unsure of how to help you – they may even think that breastfeeding will be too difficult if you can’t see!

It can make all the difference if you can do a bit of preparation, and get hold of really good support.

What’s included in the workshop?

    • Breastfeeding: how it all works?
    • Positions for feeding
    • Good attachment and how to recognise it
    • Flagging common problems and overcoming them
    • Accessing support: when, where and how
    • Breastfeeding benefits
    • Accessible handouts designed for V I parents
    • Tactile resources


Breastfeeding, Weaning and sleep Workshops cost £30.

For more details or to book your workshop, please do get in touch.
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Birchtree Weaning Workshops – for V I Parents

Starting solids can be rather stressful for any parent, but particularly so if you are visually impaired. You may worry about the logistics of spoon feeding, feeding your baby safely, and how to avoid a terrible mess!

Birchtree Weaning Workshops are designed to leave you calmer and more confident about the whole weaning process, and to answer any questions you may have. You will learn about your baby’s development and nutritional requirements, and the reasons behind current weaning guidelines. I will also share with you lots of practical tips and techniques which other V I parents have found helpful.

If distance prevents you attending a face to face workshop, my telephone workshops are the next best thing – including thorough explanations of all the topics covered, backed up by detailed handouts.

What’s included in the workshop?

    • How to know when your baby’s ready to start solids?
    • Baby-led Weaning: how it works
    • Spoon feeding tips for V I parents
    • Feeding safety measures
    • Menu suggestions
    • Coping with the mess
    • Accessible handouts designed for V I parents
    • Tactile resources and useful products to handle and look at


Breastfeeding, Weaning and sleep Workshops cost £30.

For more details or to book your workshop, please feel free to contact me.
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Birchtree Baby Sleep Workshop For V I Parents

This workshop aims to help you better understand your baby’s development and sleep patterns, and learn tried and tested tips for getting that bit more sleep for all the family.

Sleep can be a huge issue for new parents, and it can be hard going coping with lack of sleep at night, as well as the constant questions from those around you, as to how well your baby is “going through the night”, where they sleep, and concerns about safety and creating “bad habits”. This workshop provides you with the research-based information to feel confident about your sleep choices, and equips you with techniques to encourage your baby to sleep that bit longer, whilst creating a positive relationship with bedtime in your household which will last right through childhood.

Since this workshop is designed for V I parents specifically, all tips take this into account, and we will be sure to address particular common concerns, such as spotting signs of sleepiness non-visually, checking temperature, swaddling confidently, and the practicalities of getting out of the house with your napping baby.

If distance prevents you attending a face to face workshop, my telephone workshops are the next best thing – including thorough explanations of all the topics covered, backed up by detailed handouts.

What’s included in the workshop?

  • Sleep expectations: what’s normal and what’s realistic?
  • The science of infant sleep, sleep cycles and night feeds
  • Practical tips for encouraging baby sleep
  • Drawbacks of “sleep training” and “controlled crying”
  • Sleep safety
  • Co-sleeping and safe bed sharing
  • Swaddling and babywearing guideance
  • Coping strategies for tired mums and dads



Breastfeeding, Weaning and sleep Workshops cost £30.

For more details or to book your workshop, please feel free to contact me
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