On March 13, 30 Health and Social Care students were able to take part in the baby hire program and find out what it would be like to be real parents over a four day period.
Each student was given a wristband to wear which was programmed and aligned especially for their baby. When the baby cried it was up to the student to figure out what type of care it needed. If the student was slow to react to the baby’s cry, or didn’t give the appropriate care, neglect was logged on the care report. As well as this the student had to remember to support the baby’s head and not rough handle or shake the baby as this would be abuse and the baby would have ‘shutdown’.
Many pupils appreciated and enjoyed the experience of hiring the baby and got a taste of what it would be like to be a teenage parent. Pupils were able to understand the sacrifices real parents have to make and the responsibilities of caring for a real, new born baby.
Gayle Wattrus – Head of Faculty reports:
‘We have been running this programme for 4 years now and have found it to be really successful. The idea is not to put the students off having a baby for life, but to make them think about the reality of being a teenage parent. It gives them a very worthwhile, realistic experience of the commitment and responsibility that goes with being a young parent’
‘It was difficult to tell why the baby was crying as the baby cried for different reasons! So I had to try feeding the baby, then rocking the baby and then finally changing the nappy!’
‘I was unable to leave the house to see friends as I had to take the baby with me in a push chair with the nappies and a milk bottle on the bus.’
‘It was a really good experience as I was able to understand how to look after a new born baby and appreciate how my parents looked after me.’
‘The baby woke up every 2 hours during the first night and I had to make sure I fed the baby and rocked the baby to sleep! Which took me 45 minutes every time.’
‘I missed going to the cinema with my mates on the Saturday – I was really fed up!’
‘I couldn’t believe the looks and comments that I got from people out in the community – people were so judgemental.’
‘This was a fabulous idea as my daughter now realises how difficult the responsibility of having a baby is and all of the demands a new born baby has!’
‘Not only was the experience of the virtual baby really good, it promoted lots of discussion in the family about all sorts of teenage issues – relationships, teenage pregnancies, young parents.’
‘The best £20 I have ever spent! What an eye opener to both of my teenagers.’