Mother & Baby at the Centre

We call CEPPs ‘The Mother and Child Manifesto’ because it is dedicated to the wellbeing of Mothers during pregnancy and the early years of childhood. Yes, much of the CEPPs Manifesto is addressed to policy makers in Health and Social Care, but at its heart it is about enabling the voice of Mothers and Mothers’ Organisations to be heard by these policy makers in areas that are important to Mothers, Fathers and their Babies. For too long they have been on the sidelines – so it is now time for them to be represented as equals in policy making and priority setting related to Maternal Health and Social Care during pregnancy and the early years of their child’s life.

The evidence is now unequivocal about the crucial role of mothers (and fathers too) during the early parenting period in the creation of future societies. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and many others are encouraging governments to have a new look at the way services are provided to Mothers. Now is the time for mothers and mothers’ organisations to come together and speak with one voice in the consultation about the form these changes should take in their country.

CEPPs provides the framework for consultation with policy makers, but it is also about sharing knowledge and best practice that can help mothers – and fathers –  around the world give their babies the start they deserve in life. We encourage mothers and mothers organisations to support CEPPs.

Knowledge and Best Practice


Midwifery, a practice so ancient that it features in early Egyptian and Roman scrolls, is seeing a long awaited increase in global attention. Decades of neglect of the role of midwives, either because of the over-medicalization of pregnancy care or a lack of resources, has left a legacy of high rates of maternal and newborn mortality in developing countries.

‘Our responsibility is clear: we must safeguard each woman and child so they may live to their full potential. The results will reverberate far beyond the lives of those directly affected, fostering a better world for all.’
Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Read more.


When it comes to having a baby, a mother-to-be will have her own vision of the kind of birthing experience she wants. And many women are choosing to include a doula, a midwife—or both—as part of their plan for pregnancy, labour and delivery, and the crucial early months of learning to care for newborn. Every new mother needs a helping hand to make the transition from pregnancy to motherhood.

In one study, expectant women who had doulas during the prenatal period have been shown to have four times fewer low birth weight babies, be two times less likely to experience birth complications involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding. When pregnancy outcomes improve, then the health of the entire society can improve. Read more.

Mother-friendly childbirth

International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI) is a global initiative, designed to improve maternity care in both developed and developing countries.

Its purpose is to call global attention to the importance of the quality of the mother’s birth experience and its impact on the outcome, whilst also drawing attention to the scientific evidence showing the benefits of MotherBaby-centered care based on the normal physiology of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding and on attention to women’s individual needs.

The IMBCI 10 Steps is designed to raise worldwide awareness and encourage the practice of the MotherBaby model of care.  A woman-centered, non-interventionist approach that promotes the health and well-being of all women and babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Read more.

Bonding and attachment

These are both ways to describe the feelings between you and your baby, but attachment has a broader meaning than bonding.

Bonding is all about you. It’s about the surge of love and tenderness you feel for your baby. You may feel it when you’re pregnant, perhaps when you see the first blurry image of your baby on a scan. Or you may feel it when you first hold your baby after giving birth, but it can take longer.

Attachment is about both you – the mother –  and your baby. It’s about how you build a relationship over time that helps your baby to feel secure and loved, and ready to face the world. Read more.


Breastfeeding is a natural ‘safety net’ against the worst effects of poverty … Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence… It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.
James P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF (1980-1995)

As stated in the World health Organization Global strategy on infant and young child feeding: “Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Read more.


Pregnancy is a time when nutritional needs are higher, and meeting those needs has a positive effect on the health of both the mother and her unborn baby. The effects of nutrition while the fetus is developing during pregnancy last for a lifetime, and this way, children can inherit a legacy of good health for the future. It is important that can women enjoy a healthy pregnancy without the negative effects of poor nutrition on their health, and in the best possible nutritional state to support breastfeeding. Read more.

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Further examples of mother-centred care will be found in the Resources section of the website, where you will find Articles and Papers.



Support the Mother and Child Manifesto - become a CEPPs Partner or Supporter.