Infant Research Centre, CUMH launches B-Best Start Book

News | Posted on: 21 May, 2018

Infant Research Centre were delighted to launch the B-BEST START LifeMatters for Mums, Dads and New Born Babies handbook on Friday 12th May 2018 with author Dr Margaret O’Rourke, and alongside Principal Investigator Prof Eugene Dempsey and Centre Director, Professor Geraldine Boylan.

The B-BEST START Programme is part of the Infant Centre’s NeoView Programme, which aims to improve the outcomes of babies in the neonatal unit (NNU) by empowering parents to build their own health, well-being and resilience so that they can be active, informed and emotionally engaged with their new born babies, infants and children.

The focus of the day was on the Neonatal Unit (NNU). The NNU is a unit in Cork University Maternity Hospital that specialises in the care of babies, particularly those who are born too soon, who have a low birth weight, who have medical conditions that require additional care, and those recovering after surgery.  In Ireland, approximately 1 in 10 babies will visit the NNU for at least a few days. The length of stay in the NNU will depend on baby’s size, prematurity, and medical circumstances.

Speaking at the event, Dr Margaret O’Rourke noted that the book helps to empower parents, “Babies need their mums and dads, and the programme is about making them central to their baby’s care. Babies can’t wait: the first 1000 days of their lives are absolutely critical for their future development, and this book helps parents to cope and do the best for their babies”.

The handbook offers a huge opportunity to make a difference to the next generation: the first three years of life (or first 1000 days) are critical to long-term outcomes, as the brain is rapidly developing and building its architecture. Early experiences on the developing brain are hugely important, particularly the relationship and caregiving from parents.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Lincor Solutions, and working collaboratively with Health Innovation Hub Ireland, the NeoView Programme has demonstrated how research, particularly in an intensive environment such as the NNU, can contribute to the care there, and effect change in patient outcomes. Staff have noted that the B-BEST START book can help in taking the “psychological temperature” down as stress can be contagious between parents and staff. The focus on practical activities that parents can do to bolster their resilience makes a huge difference to outcomes, noted by staff as having a very positive impact on parents.

For more information on the NeoView Programme, including resources for parents with babies in the NNU: visit

For more information on the author, Dr Margaret O’Rourke: