Find useful information on life with your little one
Child Developmental Reviews
Come and show us how special your child is. 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 a child’s health and development and to identify children early who are not developing as expected and who may require additional support.
As part of the review, health visitors will work with parents to complete an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) about their child’s development. Information about the Ages and Stages Development Reviews are available on the NHS website.
Newborn Behavioural Observations
Get to know more about your baby with the newborn behavioural observations (NBO).
Your Health Visitor will introduce the New Born Observation (NBO) to you as part of the mandatory contacts.
Neonatal Behavioural Observation is a way to observe babies and all their behaviours. It takes 20-30 minutes to do in a quiet, warm room with the mother / father / 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 / reflexes and how your baby is able to manage sleeping and crying.
We do this to share the abilities of new born 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.
Tell us what you thought of your NBO experience
If your Health Visitor has arranged a time with you for an NBO session, please answer our survey here.
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.
Guidance on interaction and understanding your baby – This 11 page guide provides advice for parents on getting to know your baby, becoming in tune and understanding cues.
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 .
Video Interactive Guides
Ask your Health Visitor about VIG (Video Interactive Guide)
Video interaction guidance is a tool which aims to improve communication within relationships. This tool is used to illustrate and focus on positive aspects of parenting. The health visitor will video a real situation, where you and your child(ren) are engaged in doing something together. This will last about 10 mins. This film will then be edited down to a few short clips. During the following visit, you and the health visitor will look at these short clips together and discuss what you see. The focus is on highlighting the positive aspects of your communication and parenting which you can build upon.
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.
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.
Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new mental health problem or another episode of a mental health problem you’ve experienced before. These are known as perinatal mental health problems.
Your Health Visitors are skilled listeners, talk to them. They can support and signpost you to other relevant resources.
Mental health support services in Gloucestershire
Find out more about the mental health support and services available here.
Babies Cry, You Can Cope
Find information and support on coping with a crying baby on the ICON website.
Our health visiting service has been awarded UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation Stage 3.
The Breastfeeding Network (BFN) and Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network (GBSN) offer local breastfeeding peer support and counsellors for at group settings and by telephone / text.
The Breastfeeding Network groups can be found here. You can also call or text Toni on 07936 391 085.
Find out about Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network groups here.
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.
- Here are some short films from four mums who decided to breastfeed their babies. These films will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about breastfeeding and how to do it successfully.
- UNICEF – Breastfeeding resources and information
- NHS Start4Life – Brestfeeding resources and information
- This Mum Can Glos – 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 – A live Q&A, which can be viewed here, hosted by Emma Rawlinson (MVP Chair) and Hannah Creswell (MVP Volunteer) with experts Sarah Fergusion, Specialist Infant Feeding & Tongue-Tie Midwife and Emma Cronin-Preece, Infant Feeding Specialist Health Visitor. This session focuses on infants over four weeks old.
GHC Handy Guides
- Common Feeding problems: This 10 page guide takes you through common feeding issues such as thrush, colic & reflux, milk allergies and mastitis.
- Feeding for the future: This 11 Page guide supports parents in the introduction of solid food, when and how and resources.
- Infant Feed guide: This 11 page guide supports breastfeeding, it looks behind the science of breastfeeding along with positioning and links to resources.
Introducing solid foods
Public Health England (PHE) has launched a Start4Life campaign about weaning babies.
A recent survey suggests that a quarter of mums lack confidence when introducing their babies to solid foods. The campaign is being launched as part of the Start4Life programme, which aims to help parents adopt healthy behaviours during pregnancy, birth and their children’s early years. A brand-new weaning hub is now available on the Start4Life website to help parents during their weaning journey.
With NHS-approved advice and tips for each weaning stage, plus simple, healthy weaning recipes for different age groups, it puts everything parents need to know in one place. Developed in partnership with parents, the weaning hub makes it easy for parents to find answers to their weaning questions and get information relevant to their baby’s age and weaning stage.
- Start 4 Life NHS Weaning Hub
- Food Smart App from Change 4 Life
- Smart Recipes App from Change 4 Life
- Vegetarian and Vegan Diets on NHS website
- Vegetarian and Vegan children on NHS website
- Vitamins for children – NHS website
- Bliss – Information on weaning a premature baby
Food, diet and exercise
Handy guides to portion size and diet are available for two age groups. Both guides are two pages long and include visual guidance on food portion sizes for 1-2 & 3-4 years of age.
- Portion sizes for one and two-year-olds (PDF download)
- Portion sizes for three and four-year-olds (PDF download)
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 spot it more easily so you can make healthier choices and cut your sugar intake. Find the sugar smart app here..
BMI is a good way to check if you are a healthy weight. Use the BMI calculator to check the whole family and find helpful information and advice. BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height. Find a BMI calculator here.
- Information on vitamins for children.
- Guidance on Vitamin D
- Vitamin D may help reduce Type 1 Diabetes risk in susceptible children
Born to Move is a free NHS app to help parents or carers with their new-born babies, right up to pre-school. It’s packed with advice, tips and games that you can play with your child to support their development. It is available The Born to Move app is available here.
A guide to physical activity in the early years. This 2 page guide provides advice and resources surrounding the importance of prompting physical activity in the early years.
First Steps Nutrition
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.
Its mission is to:
- ensure that everyone working to support mums-to-be and young families has access to independent, expert and practical ‘eating well’ resources
- provide up-to-date information on infant milks for sale in the UK and promote better regulation and marketing of breastmilk substitutes
- contribute to good policy and practice throughout the UK and ensures that the importance of good nutrition from pre-conception to five remains on everyone’s agenda.
Feeding for the future: This 11 Page guide supports parents in the introduction of solid food, when and how and resources.
- Find out more about the NHS 111 service and when to use it.
- Find a visual guide to childhood illnesses – from measles to chickenpox.
- Information on the signs, symptoms and treatment of meningitis.
- Information on keeping your baby or child safe in the sun.
- The Red Cross baby and child first aid app is a great resource and free to download.
Download a handy guide to sleep here. This 14 page guide provides extensive advice and resources on the management of infant sleep, from routines to night terrors.
The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families and anyone affected by a sudden infant death (SIDS) as well as safe sleep advice for the prevention of SIDS.
Our dental service provides NHS dental care for people in Gloucestershire who are unable to access treatment from a general dental practitioner. You can contact our dental service on 0300 421 6440
A handy guide to looking after your child’s teeth is available here. Both guides have two pages of advice on looking after your child’s teeth, the use of fluoride and how to contact a dentist.
The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry is an organisation dedicated to improving the oral health of children in the UK.
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.
A Practical Guide to Children’s Teeth
Caring for your baby’s teeth is one of many important responsibilities as you become a parent. The BSPD has assembled the basic advice and information you might need about oral health in one concise leaflet, A Practical Guide to Children’s Teeth.
Family Information and Services have contact details and Ofsted information for all the registered child care providers in Gloucestershire.
Information on funded places for children from the age of two years old.
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
Please talk to your health visitor who will be able to support you.
The 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 5s.
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.
Information about child car seats is available from Think!
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.
Toilet Training: This 21 page resource provides guidance and advice as to when your child is ready, bladder and bowel function and constipation, along with links to useful resources.
Gloucestershire Care Services Health Visiting Team use the Solihull approach to advise parents when managing behaviour and parenting.
Talk to your Health Visiting team and local children’s centre about the Solihull programme and information.
An evaluation of the views of over 200 parents who have taken part in the ‘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.
Don’t forget, babies cry, you can cope!
Infant crying is normal and it will stop! Babies start to cry more frequently from around two weeks of age. Find advice and support here.
Screen Sense – Advice for Parents
Advice on how to help children get the best from screens to promote healthy activity levels and weight, reduce sleep problems and promote development of speech, social and physical skills.
Pregnant or recently had a baby and in need of emotional support?