The Health Visitor Team is made up of specially trained nurses, speech and language therapists, and nursery nurses. A Health Visitor is a qualified health professional who works with families in order to give pre-school age children the best start in life. Every family with children under five years of age has a named Health Visitor; they will make contact with you during the pregnancy and visit you after your baby is born.
They will want to see how you and your family are getting on. They are there to support you in getting to know your new family member and understanding their needs, as well as helping you understand how you can support your partner and play a leading role with your child.
There are a number of reviews that a Health Visitor will complete, and these can be done in your home, at a clinic or in a community setting. The Health Visitor will often use screening questionnaires to check how your baby is developing. Remember, though, that the Health Visitor is there to support you, so don’t forget to use these visits, and any other contact that you might have with the Team, to ask them for advice or about anything that might be worrying you.
The Midwifery Service will take the lead on the mother’s care during the pregnancy and in the first days following delivery. However, from 28 weeks of pregnancy, contact will be made by the Health Visitor Team. This will be to offer advice and support, and to assess if there are any extra needs that you will have as a family.
New Baby Review:
Within 10-14 days of birth, a Health Visitor will call round to offer support and advice to you all. As well as checking baby’s weight, finding out how feeding is going, and promoting immunisations, the Health Visitor will also want to check on the emotional health of both mum and you, provide information on safe sleeping and coping with crying, and may complete a hearing screening on your baby. Any examination carried out on your baby by your Health Visitor at this visit does not replace the examination completed by your GP or Midwife following birth.
6-8 Week Review:
At this visit, the Health Visitor will assess the baby’s progress, and check that you are booked in for the first immunisations. They will also offer support about infant feeding and make sure that your baby has had or is booked in for the GP check, which will include a physical examination. Once again, they will want to check on the emotional health and wellbeing of you and mum, and will continue to check on this at each further review or other contact.
1 Year Developmental Review:
Your Health Visitor will check on your child’s growth and development, and talk about a number of things including healthy diet and weight, vitamins, dental health, healthy sleep patterns, immunisations, managing minor ailments, prevention of accidents, and mixing with other toddlers.
2 to 2 1/2 Year Developmental Review:
Your Health Visitor will talk with you about behavioural management, dental care, accident prevention, sleep management, toilet training, and sources of parenting advice and family information.
Further visits, such as a 3-4 month review, will be offered according to the needs of your family. You are always welcome to drop in to the local baby clinic for further advice, or to contact the Health Visiting Team on the number shared with you.