UK & World News
PM: Parenting Classes Are Not Nanny State
New parents are to be offered practical classes and advice videos to steer them through the first five years of their child's life.
The Government wants to help them tackle everything from sleep issues and baby bathing to discipline and child development.
It is going to cost millions but Prime Minister David Cameron denies it is simply expensive interference by the nanny state.
"This is not the nanny-state, it's the sensible state," he said.
"It's ludicrous that we should expect people to train for hours to drive a car or use a computer, but when it comes to looking after a baby we tell people to just get on with it.
"I would have loved more guidance when my children were babies. We've all been there when it's the middle of the night, your child won't stop crying and you don't know what to do.
"In fact, three quarters of parents say they'd like more advice - and this is going to answer that call."
Texts with helpful information will also be sent to parents at relevant times.
Families of under-fives will also be able to pick up a £100 voucher from Boots or their local community centres and surgeries to exchange for parenting classes.
Mothers at a toddlers' group in Suffolk voiced concerns the scheme may simply be a gimmick to mask the fact that dozens of children's centres have been closed due to cuts.
Mother-of-two Leonie Oldfield said: "I think the cynic in me always thinks if something like this is released, actually, where is the money being cut? Is this the cheaper option? Is this the easier option?"
Justine Lewis, who has a two-year-old daughter, echoed her view.
"If it's a substitute for children's centres, I think that's a bad idea," she said.
"When I had my daughter, children's centres were a lifeline to meet other new mums."
Another mother-of-two, Carrie Risdale, liked the idea of the videos but feared the voucher scheme would fail.
"I think it wouldn't necessarily go to the targeted parents, those parents who perhaps need a little bit more guidance," she said.
But public health minister Anne Milton told Sky News that demand for advice was enormous.
"There's a lot of information out there but actually, interestingly, about 80% of parents say, that they don't have enough," she said.
"This is proactive, so the information will grow with your baby, so when you sign up it will send you timely information and links to information that we have quality assured so parents can trust it."
Trials of the scheme are just beginning in three parts of the country.
It is hoped the advice will help parents navigate their way through the struggles and joys of bringing up children.
The challenge will be to get the mothers and fathers who most need help to take advantage of the scheme.