First Breath by artist Luke Jerram was a celebration of new life across Greater Manchester. From 1 to 29 January 2023, powerful beams of light shot up high above the city skyline and slowly pulsed to represent the moment that a baby took its first gasp of air and to celebrate the 177 new families from across Greater Manchester who joined us to be part of project.

As part of our ongoing First Breath Families programme, we invited 40 of these families to help us create moments of celebration and introduce art and culture into their child’s life. This programme has been designed in collaboration with our families and early years experts. It aims to strengthen parent-infant bonding and attachment, support parental mental health and draw on the well-researched benefits of culture and creativity on early years development.

First Breath Families are invited to participate in regular bespoke events and workshops, and to connect to our artistic programmes in new and exciting ways. The programme provides unique experiences for both parents and children.

Past events ↓ 

Spring Get Together

Friday 5 May 2023, 10am-2pm at People’s History Museum

The First Breath Spring Get Together was a social event for the 177 families who took part in First Breath. The event provided a chance for the families to meet each other and take part in activities such as Inclusive Art History Club by artist Kirsty Latham, Mamaste Yoga by Ashleigh Reed and Moo Music by Danielle Beasley. Parents were treated to chair massages by Massage On Set.

All photographs taken by Rebecca Lupton.

Parents/carers playing with their babies during the Spring Get Together
Babies sat under a large sheet with colourful stars and lights

You, Me and the Balloons: Sensory Experience

Saturday 29 July 2023, 9am-12pm at The Warehouse, Aviva Studios and Science Industry Museum

Our families were invited to a private viewing of Yayoi Kusama: You, Me and the Balloons at Aviva Studios, followed by a multi-sensory experience specially created in response to the exhibition at the Science and Industry Museum. Activities included two Kusama-inspired Baby Sensory workshops led by early years practitioners Hannah Williams (Adventure Babies) and Rebecca Platt (Baby Sensory Manchester Central). Parents and caregivers were also able to enjoy an on-chair Sensory Massage delivered by professional therapists, along with some mindfulness and quiet time in a specially created Sensory Lounge.

All photographs taken by Audrey Albert.

  • “It was really moving to see such a large group of parents all in the same phase of parenthood, having had a baby during lockdown, coming together in person as a community”

    Natasha Howard, Spring Get Together

  • “Our family really enjoyed the day! We liked the combo of exhibition, sensory, massage, breaks and refreshments! There was something for everyone”

    Carmen Chow, Sensory Experience

  • “I found the practical elements useful and the list of things to have in first aid kit”

    Fadumo Ali, Mini First Aid

Practical Workshop: Mini First Aid

Wednesday 20 September 2023, 10am-12pm at Department Bonded Warehouse and Wednesday 11 October 2023, 2-4pm at The Flexible Space, Aviva Studios

Mini First Aid is a multi-award-winning baby and child first aid class designed to give you the confidence to know what actions to take if faced with a medical emergency.

The two-hour session was delivered by Danny Wood in a relaxed and comfortable style. It covered CPR, choking, bumps, burns, breaks, bleeds, febrile seizures, meningitis/sepsis awareness and how to deal with shock.

A child touching a first aid dummy
Four babies playing on a mat decorated with the alphabet

Practical Workshop: Nutrition and Healthy Mealtimes

Wednesday 20 September 2023, 2-4pm at Department Bonded Warehouse and Wednesday 11 October 2023, 10am-12pm at The Flexible Space, Aviva Studios

The Nutrition: Happy and Healthy Mealtimes workshop went way beyond weaning. It focused on what and how much food babies need to be healthy, how to create a positive relationship with food and navigate fussy eating. The interactive two-hour session was delivered by paediatric nutritionist Aliya Porter with plenty of time for group work and discussion

  • “Great workshop! The content was extremely helpful, and this session was timed perfectly as my baby had recently just started to progress from purées”

    Sairah Zaman, Nutrition and Healthy Mealtime

Autumn Get Together

Saturday 23 September 2023, 11am-2pm at The Undercroft, Aviva Studios

First Breath Get Together returned with a day of family-focused activities – exclusively for the First Breath community. With the changing of the season and the vibrant colours of autumn surrounding us, there couldn’t have been a better time to bring our First Breath babies back together.

We met in the Undercroft at Aviva Studios for some family-focused social time filled with fun, autumn-inspired activities. From pumpkin painting and handprint trees, to face painting with Cookie Love and movement sessions led by Afrocats, these activities were designed for everyone to enjoy and to encourage physical bonding within families.

All photographs taken by Tanya Weekes.

Parents/carers playing with babies outside Aviva Studios
Parent/carers holding their hands in the air with their babies in slings

Free Your Mind: Movement Session

Tuesday 31 October 2023, 10am-12pm at The Flexible Space, Aviva Studios

A baby and partner movement session is a fun way for parents to interact with their babies while learning some cool dance moves. This workshop promoted physical activity, rhythm, and coordination in both parent and baby while also strengthening the bond between them.

Mama and Me from The Parenting Collective CIC delivered a bespoke contemporary baby-wearing dance choreography inspired by Free Your Mind, conveying the idea of breaking free from limitations and connecting two worlds. Dancers were invited to ‘wear’ their babies in slings as a symbol of the new generation and the project First Breath, signifying the responsibility and connection of parents of the future. We explored synchronised movements between the two sides, 'red' and 'blue' to symbolise the merging of two worlds, just like in The Matrix.

  • “The carousel style activity layout was great fun and allowed for us to choose what we wanted to do, as well as there being smaller groups to engage with. Food was stellar! Great job on catering for everyone, babies included”

    Sheri Lawal, Autumn Get Together

  • “I loved the session! Really enjoyed the opportunity to get moving, learn the dance routines and get advice on baby-wearing. The Flexible Space is great – we were very well looked after – the food was amazing!”

    Rebecca McKechnie, Movement Session

  • “It was a fantastic workshop! It was great to share experience with the group and get that community support”

    Hannah Clark, Infant Sleep

Practical Workshop: Infant Sleep

Monday 27 November 2023, 10am-12pm and 2-4pm at The Flexible Space, Aviva Studios

Our Infant Sleep workshop was delivered by certified Infant Sleep Consultant Louise Handsley AKA The Baby Sleep Doula and covered the science of sleep, as well as tips on sleep hygiene, routine and realistic expectations to help everyone get a better night’s sleep.

A baby sleeping on white bedding
A group of first breath families sat on the sofas at Aviva Studios – plus babies playing on a mat decorated with the alphabet

Practical Workshop: Speech and Language

Monday 4 December and Wednesday 6 December 2023, 10am-12pm at The Flexible Space, Aviva Studios

These sessions were led by Consultant Speech & Language Therapist Michelle Morris (Greater Manchester Clinical Lead for Speech, Language & Communication) and Early Years experts Cathy Radford and Lynda Kilduff. They introduced the magic of speech and language and showed how tiny changes to things done every day make a huge difference to a child’s development and closeness of relationship. Each session focused on some key learning points and combined a little of the science with tons of play and activities, leaving plenty of time to ask questions.

"100% incredible! There were goody bags, healthy snacks and lots of toys to keep the babies entertained whilst we concentrated on the class. It was a great interactive, engaging, and passionate session”

Katie Hoszowskyi, Speech and Language

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