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Better Health Start for Life Parent-Infant Relationships

Start For Life’s ‘If They Could Tell You…’ campaign focuses on promoting the importance and benefits of strong parent-infant relationships, and the importance of building a strong connection from pregnancy to the age of two, which helps babies develop into happy and healthy children, able to manage their emotions, develop confidence and learn new things.

Campaign details

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Start for Life bonding with your baby

Campaign start date: 26/03/2024

Campaign end date: Always On


On 4th March the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE), launched the Start for Life ‘If they could tell you’ campaign, promoting the importance and benefits of strong parent infant relationships. From 18th March partners are able to support the campaign, with a range of free resources being made available, including:

  • Partner activation pack with tips on how to start conversations about parent-infant relationships
  • Campaign communications toolkit with campaign overview, long and short copy and key messages
  • Social media toolkit with posts, suggest copy and content calendar
  • Posters including empty belly versions for partners to add their local service information
  • Digital screens
  • Web banners

The first years of a baby's life, from pregnancy and the first two years, are so important for their healthy development and this campaign will highlight the importance of building a strong connection during this time which helps them develop into happy and healthy children, able to manage their emotions, develop confidence and learn new things.

The campaign will work to show that baby’s use their body language, facial expressions, noises, and cries which can help parents find the best way to meet their needs. Support and free resources, including tips and learning materials, will be available on the Start for Life website. Elements of breastfeeding and introducing solid foods will also be woven in to the ‘If they could tell you’ campaign.

Family Hubs

For partners in areas with Family Hubs, we have created a range of resources with a specific Family Hub call to action, encouraging parents and carers to use the Start for Life website to find their local Family Hub. On the Start for Life website, users can find a link to the GOV.UK website to find out if there's a family hub in their area

Start for Life email programme

We know that what happens during the first few years of life (starting in the womb) has lifelong effects on many aspects of health and wellbeing – from obesity, heart disease and mental wellbeing, to educational achievement and economic status. We also know that parental behaviours impact heavily on their child’s behaviours. Parents’ health can act as an enabler or barrier to nurturing their children’s development.

Research shows that becoming a parent presents an opportunity to provide information to support behaviour change, and that when looking for information and advice people want validated sources of authority, such as the NHS. This puts the Start for Life Email Programme in a unique position within a very crowded market of pregnancy and parenting advice.

The Start for Life Email Programme is a universal offering, for all parents-to-be and parents of children up to four and a half years old. The service provides regular emails to the audience as their child reaches key milestones.

The Start for Life Email Programme has a particular focus on those from less socioeconomically privileged backgrounds, as we know that they are much less likely to be searching for and accessing reliable information on pregnancy and parenting. Healthcare professionals are also a target audience as they are a key channel for driving people to Start for Life services.

The email programme can be translated in to dozens of different languages, provides personalised messaging that is time sensitive and served to parents and carers as and when they need it, according to their parenting/caring journey. Encourage parents and carers to sign up now.

Published: 13 March 2024