18th April 2019

INSPIRATIONAL parents whose children were born prematurely have used their charity and business to offer a new level of support in the community.

Leo’s, the charity which supports families and staff on the neonatal pathway across Teesside and County Durham has teamed up with leading child yoga brand Kalma Baby.

LottieKing, 30 from Yarm, founder of Leo’s Rebecca Riley 33 from Cleadon,founder of Kalma Baby and Emma Overton 42 from Norton a Kalma Baby franchise owner have all had premature babies and wanted to offer a new service to families who had gone through the same as them.

Kalma Baby, which has 18 franchises across the North East including, Newcastle,Tyneside, Stockton, Billingham, Yarm, Middlesbrough and Ingleby Barwick, and two franchises in North Somerset and St Albans, will launch a dedicated specialist neonatal class.

The class which has been specially adapted to accommodate the needs of babies who spend time on a neonatal unit, is the first of its kind in the region.

Rebecca Riley, owner of Kalma Baby, said: “It’s been a privilege to be able to help set up and support a collaboration with Leo’s in delivering Neonatal Baby Yoga classes.  As a parent of two preterm babies I
can really relate to the parents and the challenges they face on the journey with their babies. Kalma Baby was founded in 2014 after the birth of my first baby born at 31 weeks. After searching for groups
to help Tyler who’s now 8, developmentally there was nothing.

“There were also very little groups where I felt I could take him, and he would be protected or where I would perhaps find the comfort and support, I needed after my experience with my preterm baby and SCBU. Tyler became the inspiration behind Kalma Baby after I’d practiced yoga then fell in love with the concept of baby yoga. 

“I suffered severe PND and yoga was an emotional support tool for myself as much as it was a development tool for Tyler’ I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive effects baby yoga has on babies and parents emotionally, physically and socially and we can’t wait to bring these specialist classes to other parents.’ 

Lottie King, founder of Leo’s added: “As part of Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week we released a survey online to see what long-lasting impacts parents were facing as a result of having a neonatal journey.

“Shockingly 79% of parents admitted to their mental health being affected by having a neonatal stay, and we want to address this as best as we can throughout the region.

“We are delighted to be working with Kalma Baby on a dedicated class which will not only help babies develop but it will also support parents greatly.

“We all agreed that coming out of the neonatal unit was incredibly lonely and isolating, being able to offer a space for parents to make friends and get support is wonderful.”

The classes have been launched as part of Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week which was founded by Leo’s and has received support nationally from neonatal units across the country including Leeds General Infirmary, The James Cook University Hospital, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and some of the UK’s leading charities such as The Smallest Things, NEC UK, Bliss, Child Bereavement UK and many more.

Emma Overton, Kalma Baby Franchisee, and mum of a premature baby said: “Lottie and I met when I was in the neonatal unit with my son Harry back in 2017. We were both incredibly passionate about giving back to those who had been through similar situations to us.

“We got our heads together and decided it would be a great idea to run a class for neonatal babies. I was already trialing one specifically for premature babies in Billingham which was doing really well. With Rebecca’s direction it’s now being rolled out across the region.”

The classes can be booked at and will be taking place at the following locations Stockton, Billingham, Bishop Auckland, Durham and Hartlepool to begin with.

Leo's Neonatal

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