When your baby is around 10-14 days old you will receive your first visit from your health visitor. They will be there to offer you and your family support until your child starts school.
Health visitors are qualified nurses who have a specialist qualification in public health and the care and development of preschool children. They work closely with midwives, GP surgeries, local children’s centres, paediatricians, and voluntary organisations to make sure you, your baby and family stay healthy.
They can visit you in your home or you can see them at your local GP surgery, children’s centre or community clinic.
Your health visitor will be able to provide you with lots of information about caring for your baby and early parenthood. Here are some of the things your health visitor will be able to give you advice on:
- You and your family’s emotional health and wellbeing
- Your baby’s development and growth
- Safe sleep and sudden infant death
- Parenting support
- Local support groups
- Sexual health and relationships
- Coping as single parent
- Helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy and birth.
Before or just after your baby is born you will be given a personal health record (PCHR). This is called a ‘red book’.
It contains lots of information for parents and it is used to record your baby’s growth and development such as weight, height and vaccinations. Your health visitor or GP will also make a note of visits and what was discussed in the red book. You can also record any illnesses or accidents your baby has or medicines you have given them.
Remember to take the red book with you when you visit the baby clinic or your GP surgery.
Your health visitor will usually book in regular visits with you to talk about your baby’s health and development. They will also check whether your baby has gained weight and to talk about any concerns you may have.
These visits are part of the National Healthy Child Programme and normally include:
- an antenatal visit at about 28 -32 weeks
- a new birth visit when your baby is about 10-14 days old
- a support visit at 6-8 weeks after the birth
- development review for your child between 9 -12 months
- developmental review at 2 – 2 ½ years old.
Find out more about your baby’s health and development reviews at nhs.uk