A new life full of hope

HAVING a baby is a life changing experience. But what happens when you bring a new life into the world? Today feature writer JAMES MARSTON finds out what support new families can expect.

HAVING a baby is a life changing experience.

But what happens when you bring a new life into the world?

Today feature writer JAMES MARSTON finds out what support new families can expect.

FOR Sarah Buckle it's an emotional time.

Her first baby Zachary Leslie Stables is just a day old.

Born weighing 6lb 9oz little Zachary is sleeping contently while Sarah waits to go home with her new bundle of joy.

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The 25-year-old said: “He's my first child. It was a surprise for me and my partner but we always wanted children and it's a natural progression in life I suppose.

“He has changed my life completely within 24 hours. I never thought it would happen like that but it is emotionally over whelming.”

With powerful maternal instincts taking over, Sarah seems totally at ease with her new son.

And she picks up him up and poses for a photograph she explains, with a touch of humour, how she chose the name.

She said: “We looked through a book of baby's names and we couldn't make our minds up. Zachary was literally the last name in the book that we both agreed on.

“His middle name is Leslie which is on memory of my father.”

Choosing a name, decorating the nursery, finding the money for all the things the baby needs - there's lots to be done when a baby is born.

Sarah, of Hall Road, Stowmarket, said she and her partner will be going together to register the birth.

She said: “We're planning to go fairly soon to register the birth. We know we both have to go together because we are not married.”

In fact Sarah has 42 days to register young Zachary's arrival into the world. The birth must be registered in the registration district in which the birth occurred.

For example a birth at Felixstowe would need to be registered at the Ipswich Register Office, as the Ipswich registration district covers the town of Felixstowe.

If it is not convenient for you to visit the district register office then you can go to any register office of your choice in England and Wales and make a 'Declaration of Birth'.

The birth certificates will be posted to you instead of being handed to you in person by the registrar. In all cases you will need to make an appointment.

As well as child benefit since September 2002, parents are given a £250 voucher to start a Child Trust Fund (CTF), a savings and investment account for children.

The account belongs to the child and can't be touched until they turn 18, so that children have some money behind them to start their adult life.

Sarah said: “I think it's a good idea. It is so easy to spend money but not so easy to save. We will put all his Christmas and birthday money in the fund so he has something later in life, he might like to go to university or buy a house and he will have some money waiting to help him. It will be up to him how he uses it.

“I want him to be happy and enjoy his life.”

As she gets ready to go home Sarah knows that she will be supported by the community mid wife team in the first days of motherhood.

She said: “I am a bit nervous but also excited about getting him home. Its good to know there is someone there is there are any problems or you need to talk to someone.”

Joanne Meekings, practice development midwife, said mums stay in hospitals for about 24 hours after a birth with no complications.

She said: “We help new mums with baby and show them how to breast feed and look after their babies feeding so they know what to do when they get home.

“When they have their baby it's a very emotional and happy time but when they get them home the responsibility often dawns on them then.”

Once at home new mums enjoy the support of a community midwife.

Joanne said community midwives are linked to GP surgery.

She said: “The community midwife will visit the day after they go home to make sure the baby is feeding well, mum is coping and to answer any questions.

“It depends on the individual but there would normally be three to four visits for up to about ten days.”

Babies are weighed by the midwife to make sure they are developing properly.

Joanne said: “Nowadays people don't have the same family support they used to have. Some times a new baby is the first baby a woman has ever held.

“Often it comes naturally but the midwife is someone to talk to and someone they can contact to ask for help.”

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The first step to opening a Child Trust Fund (CTF) account is to make a claim for Child Benefit.

Once you start receiving Child Benefit for your child, an information pack and then a voucher will be automatically issued.

neither you nor your child will pay tax on income and gains in the account.

Each child is given a £250 voucher to start their account.

Children in families receiving Child Tax Credit (CTC), with a household income not greater than the CTC threshold of £14,495 for 2007/08 will receive an extra payment

A maximum of £1,200 each year can be saved in the account by parents, family or friends.

Money cannot be taken out of the Child Trust Fund (CTF) once it has been put in - once your child is 18 they will be able to decide how to use the money

Children can start to make decisions about how the money is managed when they are 16

The government will make a further contribution when your child is seven.

Child Benefit is for people who are bringing up children and is usually paid for the period from the Monday following the child's date of birth. It is paid for each child and is not affected by income or savings.

Child benefit is a tax-free benefit paid to most people with children. You do not need to have paid any national insurance contributions to get Child Benefit and it does not matter how much money you have coming in.

You can claim Child Benefit if you're bringing up a child or children:

under the age of 16, or

aged under 19 and studying full-time up to A level, Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education (AVCE) or equivalent, or

aged 16 or 17 who have recently left school, and registered for work or training with the Careers Service or Connexions Service (in Northern Ireland, Training and Employment Agency).

You do not have to be the child's parent to get Child Benefit. You may get Child Benefit if you pay towards bringing up a child who does not live with you and no one else is claiming it for them

Child Benefit is paid at a higher rate for your oldest child and at one rate for all your other children.

The weekly rate for Child Benefit for your oldest child £18.10, other children is £12.10.

You should claim Child Benefit by completing form CH2 which you can get from the Child Benefit Office, HM Revenue and Customs enquiry centres or Jobcentre Plus offices.

The Child Benefit Office number is 0845 302 1444 (textphone 0845 302 1474) in England, Wales and Scotland, and 0845 603 2000 in Northern Ireland. You can download this form from HM Revenue and Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit, or you can make an application online.

When you claim Child Benefit, you will have to provide your national insurance number, or information to help the office find your number. If you do not have a national insurance number, you will have to apply for one before you can claim.

Who can register my baby's birth?

If the parents of the baby are married to each other then either of you can register the birth.

If you are not married and you would like the father's details entered into the Register then both parents will need to attend. Or, alternatively either the mother or father may attend with a completed form of Statutory Declaration by the absent parent. Please contact your local office for more information on this issue.

If you are not married to the father of the baby you are not normally obliged to have the fathers details included in the Register.In some cases it may be possible for the father's name to be added at a later date.

In certain exceptional circumstances someone other than the parents may register the birth. In this situation please contact your local Register Office.

Do they need to see my baby?

No, your baby does not need to be present.

What information will the Registrar need about my baby?

The Registrar will need the date and place of your baby's birth. If you have twins or triplets then the time of each baby's birth will be needed as well. You will also be asked for the full name (forenames and surname) in which you intend the child to be brought up.

What information will the Registrar need about me?

The Registrar will need the name of the mother and any names she has used before, the date and place of the Mothers birth and her occupation. If the father's details are to be entered in the Register then the same information will be required for him. If you are married to each other you will be asked the date of your marriage. The mother will also be asked for the number of children she has had previously.

Do you need to see any of my identification documents such as my birth certificate?

No, there is no need for you to produce any official documents.

What documents will the Registrar give me?

You will be given a short birth certificate free of charge. This will show the name of the child and the date of their birth. A full birth certificate that shows the parents' details in addition to the baby's information costs £3.50. You will also be given a form which will enable you to register your child with your chosen general practitioner.

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