The Healthy Child Programme is designed to offer every family support
in making healthy choices. It includes immunisations, health
information, developmental reviews, and access to a range of community
services and resources.
Pregnancy and the first five years of life are one of the most
important stages in life, as this is when the foundations of future
health and wellbeing are laid down. The Healthy Child Programme is
delivered and supported by Health Visiting teams during this phase.
The Healthy Child Progamme continues to be delivered and supported by School Nursing teams once your child starts school.
If you have any worries about your baby’s or toddler’s development
talk to your health visitor, even if it is some time since the last
regular visit, or some time since you’ve been to a clinic. Health
visitors can come to your home to talk through any concerns you have and
can put you in touch with the people who can help if there are
There are key times which you can expect to have contact from your
health visiting team. This universal service offered to every family
Health Visitors will introduce to you the Healthy Child Programme and tell you about your local services and Children’s Centre.
At this contact Health Visitors can give you information about how
you can keep you and your baby safe and well, including information
about diet, vitamin supplements, smoking cessation, maternal mental
health, and baby’s sleeping position. They will also discuss the
benefits of breastfeeding, helping you prepare, and have an informed
choice, in feeding your baby.
Around 14 days after your baby's birth, your health visitor will
arrange a face-to-face visit usually in your own home. During this
visit, your health visitor can help support you with breastfeeding and
safe formula feeding, and offer guidance on the reality of the early
days with your baby, such as sleep and safety.
Your health visitor will discuss ways of enhancing your baby's
interaction with you in the coming months by enjoying playing, talking
and singing activities and promoting closeness by skin-to-skin care and
contact. Your health visitor will check your baby has had a
hearing and newborn bloodspot screen and is growing and developing and
will also talk about your own health and wellbeing.
Following the birth of a baby some women can experience feeling
low and emotional. This can occur between 4-12 days after childbirth and
is often mild and perfectly normal.
Postnatal depression symptoms can occur within the first year of
having had your baby and affects between one and four in every 10 women.
Symptoms include low mood, feeling emotional and tearful, anxious, and
loss of enjoyment in activities that you previously enjoyed.
If you feel you have symptoms of postnatal depression then you may need help from your Health Visitor or GP.
Your health visitor will sensitively discuss your emotional health
and wellbeing with you. They will be able to organise extra support for
you if you need it.
Within your locality there are child health clinics that you can
attend and be able to see a member of the health visiting team. Within
the team there are Health Visitors, Community Staff Nurses and Community
With these staff you will be able to discuss any aspect of your
child's growth and development or family's health and well-being.
Within the clinic there is the availability to have your child
weighed. The World Health Organisation suggests that healthy babies are
weighed at two, three, and four months and at one year.
Just before your child is one year old, your health visitor will
invite you and your child to an appointment to assess and discuss their
physical, emotional and social development.
Your health visiting team will check your child’s growth and offer information to support issues you may be encountering.
They can also give practical guidance on managing crying, healthy
eating, healthy sleep practices, bath time, bed routines and play and
At two years, your health visiting team will arrange an
appointment to review your child’s physical, emotional, social and
communication development with you. They can signpost you to appropriate
social groups and access to preschools if needed.
Your child's growth, development and immunisations will also be
reviewed, and the team can talk through any concerns you have about your
child's health and wellbeing.
The Health Visiting Team can give information on healthy eating,
including portion size and mealtime routines. They can also give
guidance on behaviour, physical activity and toilet training. The Health
Visiting Team can give information to promote language development,
talking about reading books together, participating in groups and
In addition to these key universal contacts the Health Visiting Team
are available to offer specific expert help and advice on a range of
topics. This can include:
Thank-you to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust for providing this information - www.southernhealth.nhs.uk