Services

Health Visiting

Health visitors support families with young children, we work in teams for a local community and will have extensive knowledge of your geographical area and its services.

About this service

Your health visiting journey

We’re here for you to provide support throughout your journey from your 28 week+ antenatal contact through to your two year developmental review.

28 week’s + Antenatal Contact

Your Midwife and Health Visitor will meet with you to discuss your pregnancy. As well as sharing information about breastfeeding, infant feeding, bed sharing, supporting a smoke-free pregnancy, healthy diet and immunisation advice and mental health support that is available for you and your partner should you need it.

More info

The guidance about pregnancy and babies does change, so it’s important to get up-to-date, trusted advice to help you make the right decisions and choices. Please contact your local Health Visiting Team if you would like to talk to or access a Health Visitor during your pregnancy. We work closely with midwifery services at Gloucestershire Hospitals to support your transition to parenthood. 

We contact all pregnant women by text message during the 26th week of pregnancy to encouraging you to book onto four midwifery and health visiting service antenatal group sessions.

Useful information

The Public Health Agency’s Pregnancy Book brings together everything you need to know to have a healthy and happy pregnancy and to make sure you get the care that is right for you.

Gloucestershire Hospital’s midwives have developed a postnatal information film designed to let you know what to expect in the first weeks of your baby’s life including feeding, sleeping, mental health and other important safety messages. Watch the film here>

 

They are working hard to reduce the increased risks that affect people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds during pregnancy. Watch this film to find out more>

 

 

7 – 14 day new birth visit

Your Health Visitor will visit your home to listen to you and offer support with anything that you may wish to discuss. As well as sharing information on breast or infant feeding, bed sharing, the move to parenthood, your relationship with your child and how to keep your home smoke-free.

More info

Get to know more about your baby with a new-born behavioural observation (NBO).

Your Health Visitor will introduce the New Born Observation (NBO) to you as part of the new birth and 6-8 week contact. It is a way to observe babies and all their behaviours and takes 20-30 minutes to do in a quiet, warm room with the mother, father or family. We look at how your baby responds to sound when asleep (habituation) and faces and objects (orientation). We can also look at your baby’s physical activity and reflexes as well as looking at how your baby is able to manage sleeping and crying.

We do this to share the abilities of newborn babies up to age 3 months, and your baby in particular, to look at what your baby likes and dislikes and how we can understand his/her signals. By understanding your baby’s behaviour and temperament we can develop the best ways to handle and look after your baby. Find out more about the NBO here>

Tell us what you thought of your NBO experience by completing this survey>

Useful information

The Birth to Five book provides information on becoming a parent, taking care of yourself and your child & finding practical help and support. Birth to Five 2020

Breastfeeding – Our health visiting service has been awarded UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation Stage 3. Find out more about breastfeeding and support further down the page.

Find out more about the support available, and resources that can help you, in the breastfeeding section below.

6 – 8 week postnatal visit

Your Health Visitor will visit you at your home to listen and offer support with anything that you may wish to discuss. As well as sharing information on breast or infant feeding, mental health and wellbeing, your relationship with your child and your child’s development.

More info

When a parent or carer is responsive to a baby’s signals and ‘takes turns’ in communicating with them from birth onwards, babies develop a secure attachment to the carer.

A secure attachment ensures a child will feel secure and reassured their needs will be met. This promotes emotional self-regulation and resilience into adulthood.

Positive touch (baby massage). When you visit a hub, ask your community nursery nurse or Health Visitor about the benefits of positive touch for both you and your child. We have developed a Handy Guide to getting to know your baby (positive touch) – Easy print version 

Our Health Visiting Team uses the Solihull course to advise parents when managing behaviour and parenting – ask us about the Solihull programme and information if you’d like to know more. An evaluation of the views of over 200 parents who have taken part in the Solihull ‘Understanding your child’s behaviour’ course showed that 95% of parents found the course highly satisfactory. Parents increased their knowledge of strategies and solutions for responding to children’s behaviour, they improved their interactions with their children and were better able to recognise and respond to their own and their children’s feelings. 

ICON – Babies Cry, You Can Cope Find information and support on coping with a crying baby on the ICON website or take a look at the section below.

6 month introduction to solid food

You will receive an invitation to a group, led by a Community Nursery Nurse, providing information on responsive feeding and a healthy diet for you and your child.

More info

We are offering virtual and face-to-face hubs, providing parents and carers the opportunity to talk to a professional about the Introduction to solid foods.

When your baby is 4 months, you will receive a first text message from the Health Visiting team, signposting you to our website where you will find evidence-based information to help you to prepare to introduce solid foods to your baby.

When your baby turns 5 months, you will receive a second text message to book onto a virtual or a face-to-face introduction to solid food baby hub by emailing your details to:  www.weaning@ghc.nhs.uk

If you have any questions or queries before then please contact your local Health Visiting Team.

Useful information

Introducing your baby to solid food should start from 6 months of age. It’s a really important step in your baby’s development.

We have developed Handy guides to help with this step:

 

Other useful links include:

  • Public Health England (PHE)’s NHS Start4Life campaign about weaning babies which aims to help parents adopt healthy behaviours during pregnancy, birth and their children’s early years.
  • Find out more about healthy eating, vegetarian and vegan diets and vitamins for children on NHS.uk
  • NHS.uk also provides information on formula feeding
  • Charity Bliss has information on weaning a premature baby
  • The Change4Life Sugar Smart app is designed to show quickly and easily how much total sugar is in the things you’re buying, eating and drinking to help you make healthier choices
  • Born to Move is a free NHS app to help guide parents or carers on physical activity with their new-born babies, right up to pre-school
  • First Steps Nutrition Trust is an independent public health nutrition charity that provides information and resources to support eating well from pre-conception to five years.

 

Vitamins

There is a new process in Gloucestershire for eligible families to access free Healthy Start Vitamins.

Read NHS guidance on vitamins for children.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Read NHS guidance on Vitamin D

 

Our Health Visiting team is advising people at high risk of not getting enough vitamin D, all children aged 1 to 4, and all babies (unless they’re having more than 500ml of infant formula a day) to take a daily supplement throughout the year as Jaz Choula explains in this short clip.

 

9 – 12 month developmental review

You will be invited to a one-to-one review with a member of the Health Visiting Team. Together you will discuss your child’s development and progress, speech and language skills, as well as information on diet and exercise, accident prevention, immunisations and mental health support for you and your family. Information will be shared about local groups or activities available near you.

More info

Make your child’s nine to 12 month and two-year developmental review a priority.

The developmental review is an opportunity to discuss and promote your child’s health and development and to identify children who are not developing as expected and who may need early additional support. NHS.uk has guidance on your child’s developmental milestones here>

As part of the review, we will work with parents to complete an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) about their child’s development. Find out more about Ages and Stages Development Reviews here>

Find out more about the role of the Community Nursery Nurse and what to expect from an Ages and Stages Developmental review in this short video> 

Useful information

Dental Check by One
All parents and guardians are advised to ensure that young children in their care are taken to see a dentist as soon as their first teeth come through, and before their first birthday. Find out more about Dental Check by One here>

Toilet Training / Continence ERIC is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people with continence problems. It also has information on toilet training. Find ERIC’s website here.

We have developed aHandy Guide to Toilet training PowerPoint with guidance and advice as to when your child is ready, bladder and bowel function and constipation, along with links to further useful resources.

Childcare Family Information and Services have contact details and Ofsted information for all the registered childcare providers in Gloucestershire.

2 year developmental review

You will be invited to a one-to-one review with a member of the Health Visiting Team. Together you will discuss your child’s development and progress, speech and language skills, as well as information on diet and exercise, accident prevention, immunisations and mental health support for you and your family. Information will be shared about local groups or activities available near you.

More info

Make your child’s two-year developmental review a priority.

The developmental review is an opportunity to discuss and promote your child’s health and development and to identify children who are not developing as expected and who may need early additional support. NHS.uk has guidance on your child’s developmental milestones here>

As part of the review, we will work with parents to complete an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) about their child’s development. Find out more about Ages and Stages Development Reviews here>

Useful information

Dental Check by One
All parents and guardians are advised to ensure that young children in their care are taken to see a dentist as soon as their first teeth come through, and before their first birthday. Find out more about Dental Check by One here>

Toilet Training / Continence ERIC is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people with continence problems. It also has information on toilet training. Find ERIC’s website here.

We have developed a Handy Guide to Toilet training PowerPoint with guidance and advice as to when your child is ready, bladder and bowel function and constipation, along with links to further useful resources.

Replacement guidelines and charts

The following charts are required by the School Nurse team to be completed prior to being offered an initial continence assessment:

Childcare Family Information and Services have contact details and Ofsted information for all the registered childcare providers in Gloucestershire.

Contact us

If you would like our support or haven’t heard from us for any reason, get in touch on the numbers below, or click on the map (further down the page) for more details about your local Health Visiting team.

About us

Health Visitors are trained nurses or midwives that work with public health nurses and community nursery nurses.

We can help with infant feeding advice, referring on to other professionals after a full assessment, behaviour and sleep advice, continence as well as developmental assessments including speech, physiotherapy, hearing and eyesight.

We can help with the early identification of social and communication difficulties, infant and maternal/paternal mental health and provide support with infant relationships, healthy families, diet/weight and exercise.

We also provide baby hubs in your area which are drop-in sessions or appointments and provide relaxed settings for families to meet and chat with Health Visitors and other parents and Carers. They provide an opportunity for you to meet with a member of the Health Visiting team for advice and support. Click on the map below for details of your nearest hub.

Health visiting in your community video

This video has been developed by the Institute of Health Visiting (IHV) to find out more about health visitors, what we do and what families can expect from our service.

COVID-19 Advice

Who should wear a face mask and when Guidance from Gov.uk Click here>

Caring for your baby during the pandemic Guidance from the Lullaby Trust Click here>

How to stay safe outside your home during the pandemic Guidance from Gov.uk Click here>

 

Home visits
  • Before your home visit you may find it helpful to make a list of any questions or concerns about yourself or your baby. Please have your child’s red book available and if possible inform your midwife when your Health Visitor is visiting.
  • Please put any dogs in another room before you open the door. They are sometimes confused and may react unpredictably when visitors wear masks.
Video appointments
  • Video appointments may be offered, using a secure NHS site, alongside face to face New Birth and Six Week Contacts, and if requested by parents and carers as an alternative to face to face 9-12 months and 2 year developmental reviews. You can also request a video contact for advice and support relating to yourself or your child. To book a video contact with a member of the Health Visiting Team, please phone your local team on the numbers provided.
  • Antenatal groups are being held by Health Visiting. Those that are 26 weeks pregnant will be sent an SMS inviting you to book into these sessions.
Video Interactive Guidance

Ask your health visitor about VIG (Video Interactive Guidance)

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) can bring positive changes in behaviour by helping you notice the special moments you have with your child.

It is a service that is being offered by VIG-accredited health visitors and VIG trainee health visitors in Gloucestershire. If you choose to take part, they will film you and your child for a few minutes as you
undertake an activity that you enjoy doing together.

People are often unsure about seeing themselves on film but nearly everyone is surprised by how good VIG makes them feel. They will then take two or three short clips that shows positive moments between you and your child which you will watch together in your next appointment.

By looking at these clips in detail, you will be able to explore the positive relationship you have with your child and help you discover your strengths and new skills.

The aim is to provide a new understanding of the part you play in building your relationship with your child and to help you do more of what you are doing well. Your clips will only be watched by yourself and the Health Visiting team. The clips will be kept securely until the end of the intervention when they will be deleted. You can request a copy of the clips and share them with others should you like to. Occasionally we may ask you if we can use your clip for training or presentation purposes. Find out more in this .pdf leaflet>

If you have been involved with our video interactive guide programme which supports maternal mental health and promotes bonding between parents and their babies. Let us know your thoughts by completing the following online VIG questionnaire.

 

Support with mental health

Pregnant or recently had a baby and in need of emotional support? 

Having a baby is a big life event, and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.

Your Health Visitors are skilled listeners – talk to us. We can support and signpost you to other relevant resources. Find out more about the mental health support and services for pregnant women and new mothers in Gloucestershire here>

Whilst we encourage users to undertake treatment with the support of a health professional there are external websites that may be of interest. The National Institute for Health Care & Excellence (NICE) is a one-stop resource, with access to most of the international freely/openly available, evidence-based or informed perinatally adapted interventions. Click here>

Positive touch When you visit a hub, ask your community nursery nurse or Health Visitor about the benefits of positive touch (also known as baby massage) on emotional health, for both you and your child. Click here for a Handy Guide on positive touch>

 

 

Support with sleep

Sleeping is a very big part of your baby and young child’s life, especially during their first year and it is important that they sleep as safely as possible.

We can help provide advice and support to help with sleep and have developed a Handy Guide to Sleep .pdf leaflet which provides extensive advice and resources on the management of infant sleep, from routines to night terrors.

For further information regarding safer sleeping visit The Lullaby Trust website or Lift the Baby resource. 

Support with breastfeeding

We have been awarded UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation Stage 3 for our Health Visiting Service.

Local support The Breastfeeding Network (BFN) and Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network (GBSN) offer local breastfeeding peer support and counsellors at group settings and by telephone or text. If you live in Gloucestershire and would like help with breastfeeding, give a call or text 07936 391 085 with your name and postcode to find out if there’s a BfN Supporter working in your area. Where there is no BfN support available, they will let you know about other local breastfeeding support groups

  • Find out more about Breastfeeding Network groups here
  • Find out about Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network – the website includes information on groups and one-to-one video call support
  • Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network also runs specific sessions for expectant parents to find out more about breastfeeding. Find out more here
  • The National Breastfeeding Helpline is open 9.30am to 9.30pm. Call: 0300 100 0212.
  • Lots of information on breastfeeding can be found on the NHS website
  • Watch these short films from Best Beginnings featuring four mums who decided to breastfeed their babies here These films will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about breastfeeding and how to do it successfully.
  • UNICEF has a wide range of breastfeeding resources and information here
  • NHS Start4Life has breastfeeding resources and information on their website here
  • This Mum Can Glos is a series of webinars featuring local professionals, Health Visitors, and Breastfeeding Groups, presenting topics related to Infant Feeding which can be viewed on YouTube here
  • Gloucestershire Maternity Voices Partnership is made up of volunteers who represent the voice of women and families from all communities and cultures to inform improvements in local maternity care. Watch a live Q&A focusing on infants over four weeks old here
  • UK Drugs in Breastmilk Advisory Service has a free helpline: 0116 258 6491 or email: enquiries@nhs.net
  • La Leche League Cotswolds is comprised of leaders Geraldine and Georgia (Accredited Breastfeeding Counsellors) who provide online and in-person support. Georgia also takes some local calls and house visits.
    Their group runs every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at Nailsworth Library from 10.15-12pm, and in-between they run a Facebook group (LLL Cotswolds) where mothers can access support either through posting on the wall or sending a private message. You can also email lllgbgeraldine@gmail.com or call 07481 944280, to request support.
  • The Barnardo’s Virtual Family Hub Digital Infant Feeding Support Service – also known as GIFT (Gloucestershire Infant Feeding Support Service) is bookable via this link

GHC Handy Guides

Support for domestic abuse

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, help is available. Please talk to your health visitor who will be able to support you and get you the help you need.

Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS) offers support to anyone over the age of 16 who has or is experiencing domestic abuse. This includes those going through, or have experienced ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and dowry crime. This is a free and confidential service and can be contacted on 0845 602 9035

Gov.uk provides guidance on accessing help here>

Our Hope House service provides confidential sexual health services that support healthy relationships and sexual wellbeing across Gloucestershire. Find out more here>

Support with safety

Home safety is an important part of child health. Our Home Safety team works closely with our health visitors as well as children’s centres and other child health professionals to make sure that Gloucestershire’s under-fives are well protected from avoidable accidents.

Our Gloucestershire Home Safety Check Scheme visits homes throughout Gloucestershire and offers free, friendly advice on any issues that they identify to minimise the risk of accidents for families with under 5’s.

They can identify what safety equipment may be required, which they can also supply and fit. A wide range of items including fire guards, stair gates and window locks are provided at low cost, and there is no charge for the fitting. They also work with medical and social care professionals, charities and voluntary agencies to provide equipment free of charge to families in need.

Support with illness

It can be difficult to tell when a baby or toddler is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts. You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you’ll know when something is seriously wrong.

NHS.UK provides useful guidance on some of the signs and symptoms of illness in babies and young children and what to do about it here>

Taking children to A&E If your child (age 16 or under) is unwell and needs urgent care, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist children’s services are based at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Find out more here>

All ambulances will take your child to A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Please be aware that there are no specialist children’s services at Cheltenham General Hospital, except between 8am – 8pm when children with minor illness and injury only can be seen.

Alternatives to A&E There are 7 minor injury and illness units (MIIUs) across the county. Find out more here>

Other useful sites and services:

Community Baby Hubs

The Health Visiting Service is now providing drop-in and appointment-only community baby hubs across the county. Please click on the ‘Services in your Area’ tab below for a list of drop-in and appointment-only hubs in your area.

Developmental Reviews
  • All 9-12 month and 2 year developmental ASQ reviews are being offered as face-to-face appointments in Covid-Secure clinics. If you have not yet received an invitation, please contact your local team.
ICON - Babies Cry, You Can Cope

Find information and support on how to cope with a crying baby on the ICON website>

Steps Ahead support for families with babies and young children

Steps Ahead is new and exciting project which started in April 2022 and provides enhanced opportunities across the county such as, public health social and support groups for families with babies and young children born during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The project is delivered in partnership between ourselves (GHCNHSFT) and Gloucestershire County Council, Barnardo’s and the Aspire Foundation.

Families can find out more and register interest here.

If you have a question related to Steps Ahead services across the Forest of Dean, Stroud and Gloucester City, contact the team at: stepsahead@barnardos.org.uk

For more information about Steps Ahead services across Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, click here.

Getting ready for school

Starting school is an exciting time for parents/carers and children, and there are things you can do to help make sure your child gets the most out of the experience. Your health visiting team is here to help you feel confident in supporting your preschool child to be ready for school.

In this recording, Health Visitor Liz Wells presents the first Handy Guide to Toilet Training>

In this recording, Community Nursery Nurse Sam Witek presents the second Handy Guide to Toilet Training>

In this recording, Community Nursery Nurse Rose Davies presents the Handy Guide to Children’s Communication>

In this recording, Health Visitor Jenny Astridge presents the Handy Guide to Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour>

Is your child school ready? Helping your child get ready for school is very important and how you support them really matters. Take a look at this school ready guide for families, produced by Gloucestershire County Council.

National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)

When your child starts school they will be measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme. This short video explains more about why this is done and why it is important for your child to be a healthy weight. If you have any questions please contact your school nurse team.

Best Start in Life
Is your child starting school soon? Our community nursery nurses and Health and Wellbeing team runs sessions looking at communicating with your child ahead of the move, how your child is feeling, healthy eating and continence top tips as part of the Best Start in Life Project with Gloucestershire County Council.

Contact your nearest Health Visiting team on the details in the map below for more information, or visit: Gloucestershire County Council’s website for bitesize videos and leaflets.

DadPad

Dads in Gloucestershire can prepare for parenthood with a new free app called DadPad

DadPad is an information pack in digital form developed by dads, for dads to help fathers of all ages in Gloucestershire prepare for family life.

This is particularly relevant in a time when access to parental education classes and midwife appointments have been changed or curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The app covers a range of issues, such as how dads can support mums who are breastfeeding, the anxiety and frustrations that come with parenthood, as well as hands-on advice on issues like nappy changing. Its aim is to provide new fathers across Gloucestershire with guidance on how to develop the mind-set, confidence and practical skills needed to meet their baby’s physical and emotional needs.

In addition to general advice, the app is designed to help partners cope with theirs and their partner’s mental health problems during pregnancy and in the period following the birth of a baby. These perinatal mental health issues affect 1 in 5 women and can include anxiety, depression or more severe illness like post-partum psychosis, which can have a devastating effect on families if left untreated. It is also common for new parents to feel a sense of anxiety, which can lead to fathers becoming depressed, particularly if their partner suffers from perinatal mental health problems or where they feel unable to cope.

The app has been funded by two charities, Gateway and the Peter Lang Trust, along with Better Births Gloucestershire and will be rolled out immediately. DadPad can be downloaded for free by going to the App Store or Google Play Store, and entering a Gloucestershire postcode when prompted. A limited number of hard copy versions will be shared with people who are unable to access online resources.

Specialist Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Health visitors are supported by a specialist team of public health nurses (PHNs) and community nursery nurses (CNNs), who are skilled in working with families and children who may present with specialist educational needs (SEND).

They are trained to identify developmental delays and the early detection of health problems which may impact on your child’s development.

The overall aim is not only to provide key health messages to improve health outcomes, but to provide early intervention and support for your child and family.

If your child’s needs are more complex, your health visitor and PHN can play a key role in bringing together local services that can support your child and family.

Our designated clinical officers (DCOs) provide a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges, who need advice or support about health for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Find out more about this role, about Gloucestershire’s Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Support, about SEND and the Graduated Pathway here>

Immunisations

Immunisation helps protect against serious diseases including influenza, measles, mumps, meningitis, polio and whooping cough. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight these diseases if we come into contact with them.

Ask a member of your Health Visiting team about childhood immunisations.

Visit Immunisation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) to find information on UK and international immunisation schedules. Alternatively download their visual guide to vaccinations>  

For information about vaccinations for older children, visit our School-aged vaccination page>

Community Partners

Gloucestershire Maternity Voices is an independent organisation, working with the NHS to help improve maternity care locally. If you would like to give feedback around your maternity experience, join as a member, or find out more about what it does, please click here to visit their website

 

Friends and Family Test

The Friends and Family Test is an important way for the Health Visiting Service to receive feedback from our service users and their families about their experience. Listening to your views helps us identify what is working well and what can be improved.

if you have got concerns regarding a child’s safety please go to the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board

If you are new to Gloucestershire we will see you to explain our service and find out how we can help you and your family.

If your child goes to an Emergency Department or is admitted to hospital we are notified. We may give you a call to follow this up with further advice and information.

Baby hubs and services in your area

Choose a location on the map to see your local baby hubs, services and contact details. 

Services in your area

Other Children’s Services

Community Nursing
Find out more >

Physiotherapy
Find out more >

School Nursing
Find out more >

Immunisation
Find out more >

Accessibility