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Services To Support You & Your Family

Antenatal Appointment

Towards the end of your pregnancy the Norfolk Healthy Child Programme will contact you by letter or email. This is a time to get to know about the services and support we offer, for your family as your baby grows.

We will provide you with information about lots of different things including;

  • What health services might be involved with your pregnancy and baby.
  • Your hopes for the birth and baby, and how your family will adapt. 
  • What to expect when your baby is born.

We will give you advice on what is recommended for babies, so you are able to make informed choices about what will work for your family. This is also a time for you to think about any questions you may have. 

Although a lot of information is aimed at women when a baby is coming into the world, we know this is a massive change for dad's and partners too. So we encourage you to think about questions and share your worries as well. We are here to support the whole family.

You can always contact us through Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 to ask our clinical team about any questions you may have.

Dive Deeper

Feeding Options

You may have already decided how you plan to feed your baby, or you may want to discuss it further with your health visitor. 

However you decide to feed your baby, your choice will be respected and you will be supported by trained and caring professionals. We are here to support your choices and can share lots of information on breastfeeding and formula feeding. If you plan to breast and formula feed, you can discuss combination feeding with your health visitor. 

Health professionals may have told you about the benefits of colostrum. This is the first milk your breasts produces, usually in the first few days. It usually looks golden yellow in colour. Your baby will only need a small amount (about a teaspoonful), as it has so many nutrients in it. The reason health professionals tell you about colostrum is because of the benefits it has - it lines the baby's stomach area, which then protects them from germs. It can help your baby poo out the meconium (black poo), which helps reduce jaundice. Colostrum can be expressed and given via a syringe or through breastfeeding.

Read more about breast and bottle feeding

Safer Sleep

Your midwife and health visitor will talk to you about how to sleep your baby safely when you are pregnant and after your baby is born. This is to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). We follow Lullaby Trust guidelines:

  • For the first 6 months your baby should sleep in your bedroom, in their own cot/crib or moses basket next to your bed.
  • Your baby should be laid down on their back with their feet at the foot of the sleeping space.
  • Your baby should not wear a hat indoors as this may cause them to overheat.
  • The mattress should be new, firm, flat and waterproof.
  • Babies don't need bedding, pillows or other items (like teddies, cot bumpers, sleep pods) around them as these could cover their face.
  • The recommended room temperature is between 16 - 20 degrees celsius, if you're worried about maintaining the room temperature, you can talk to your health visitor.
  • Do not sleep with your baby on a sofa or chair as this is very dangerous.
  • Breastfeeding can help lower the risk of SIDS.

Co-Sleeping

Some families choose to co-sleep with their babies. This means they share a bed with their baby during the night, not just to feed or comfort. We do not recommend co-sleeping if;

  • If either you or your partner smokes.
  • If either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs.
  • If either you or your partner has taken prescribed medication that might make you feel drowsy.
  • You are extremely tired.
  • Your baby was premature (born at 37 weeks or earlier).
  • Your baby had a low birth rate (5 1/2 pounds or less).

Read more about safer sleep

Pathway to Parenting

Pathway to Parenting is our free online antenatal classes. You can watch the sessions with your birth partner at a time that works for both of you.  

There are 4 sessions, with videos and resources:

Session One - Becoming a Parent

Session Two - Feeding and Caring For Your Baby

Session Three - Preparing For Labour and Birth

Session Four - Keeping Yourself and Baby Well

If you want to meet other parents we have an online community forum for Norfolk families.

Parental Wellbeing

Looking after your own wellbeing is the most important step to feeling well and ready for your new arrival. Taking care of yourself is good for you, your partner and the rest of the family. We know adapting to parenthood can have an impact on mental health, we are available to offer support or signpost you to other services who are able to help.

We usually discuss your mental health and how this may change both during pregnancy and postnatally.

If there are specific things you want to discuss about your health and wellbeing with your heath visitor, there will be an opportunity for this.

Read more about mental health during pregnancy

Read more about postnatal mental health

Getting To Know Your Baby

As your pregnancy progresses you may begin to notice your baby is more responsive to certain things, like voices or songs.

Around 16-24 weeks you'll start feeling your baby move. This will become more and more up until about 32 weeks. From this point you should feel your baby move at least 10 times in any 24 hour period. You may notice more movements at certain times of the day, if you eat and drink or have a bath or shower. If you notice your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed from their usual pattern and this is worrying you, seek immediate advice from your maternity unit or midwife. Do not delay in seeking advice for movements. 

Even whilst they are in the womb a baby can begin to build a bond with the people who love them. From about 16 weeks babies can hear their mum’s voice, and by about 20 weeks they start to get to know other familiar voices too. Knowing unborn babies can hear you, gives you a great opportunity to begin communicating and building a bond with your baby even before they are born.

Find out more about communication with your baby

Financial Support

Some families on a low income will be entitled to Healthy Start vouchers. You can discuss this during pregnancy or postnatally with your health visitor or midwife. 

If this is your first baby and you are on a low income, towards the end of the pregnancy, or before your baby is 6 months old, you may be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is £500 to help with the cost of having a baby, and does not need to be paid back. Speak to your health visitor to find out more.

During pregnancy and until your child is one year old, mum is entitled to free NHS prescriptions and dental care, with a Maternity Exemption Certificate. You can discuss this at your midwifery appointments. Children are entitled to free prescriptions and dental care, whilst they are in full time education.

We can also discuss your options with regards to parental leave for both parents.

When Baby Is Born

When your baby is born, midwifery lets us know and we will contact you to arrange a New Birth Appointment. Up until your baby is 28 days old you are still under the care of midwifery and you can also contact them if you have questions or concerns. 

Your personal Child Health Record (Red Book) will be given to you at your child's hearing screening appointment at the hospital. This usually happens in the first few days after birth. 

Within 72 hours of giving birth, you will be offered a top-to-toe physical check up for your baby, by a trained midwife or paediatric clinician. This is to check for problems or abnormalities. As part of the check up your baby’s skin will be checked for birthmarks.

If you notice your baby has a mark on their skin which has not been noted, we encourage you to speak to your midwife before leaving the hospital. Ask them to document it in your baby's Red Book. This is important because during other appointments, if your health visitor or other health practitioner notices an undocumented mark on your baby, they have a duty to report it and take further advice. This may mean your baby needs to see a paediatrician at the hospital. This can feel stressful for babies and families, but your health visitor will support you through the process.

Find out about your new birth visit

Domestic Abuse

We routinely discuss domestic abuse during visits. We do this because we know domestic abuse can get worse during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

Domestic abuse can take many forms and is not always physical violence. It can be;

  • Controlling behaviour, such as preventing someone seeing their friends and family.
  • Making someone feel humiliated, stupid or bullied.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Financial abuse, such as getting you or the family into debt or controlling the money you can access. 

Charities who can offer support:

Leeway - A Norfolk Domestic Abuse charity - 0300 561 0077 (24 hour helpline).

The National Domestic Abuse helpline - 0808 2000 247 (open 24 hours).

Read more about domestic abuse

Who Can Help?

You can always contact us by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. Our clinical team will be able to answer any questions or worries you may have.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.

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