Our core purpose is to work with people and lead communities in improving their mental and physical health and wellbeing for a better life; through delivering excellent and responsive prevention, diagnosis, early intervention, treatment and care.
Our award winning health visitors are qualified nurses (and midwives) who have completed specialist training in public health for children, young people and families.
In particular, health visitors lead on the Healthy Child Programme, a government programme developed to improve the health and well-being of children under the age of five. The Healthy Child Programme is a series of reviews, screening tests, vaccinations and information to support parents and help them give their child the best chance of staying healthy and well.
Our health visiting teams are part of the Derby Integrated Family Health Service.
At the six-eight week check, babies have a thorough physical examination - this is usually done by a GP. Babies’ eyes, heart, hips and, for boys, testicles are checked – and they also have their weight, length and head circumference measured to ensure that baby is developing as they should.
Due to some babies not receiving this check for various reasons, parents are being asked to consider the following in their baby:
• Do you think your baby can’t ever fully open both eyes?
• Do you think your baby doesn’t make good eye contact and hold his/her gaze at you?
• Do you think that your baby doesn’t follow your face if you move your head from side to side when standing near him/her (less than one metre)?
• Do you think that your baby’s eyes shake/flicker/ wobble? Do you think there is something unusual about, or in, your baby’s eyes, for example, the dark central area (pupil) looks cloudy or the eyeball is an unusual shape or size?
• Are the whites of your baby’s eyes yellow?
• When you change your baby’s nappy, do you find that one leg cannot be moved out sideways as far as the other?
• Does one leg seem to be longer than the other?
• Do you have any other concerns about your baby’s hips?
If the answer to either of the following questions is “yes”, you should speak to someone the same day
• Does your baby seem breathless or sweaty, at any time, especially when feeding?
• Does your baby have blue, pale, blotchy, or ashen (grey) skin at any time?
If there are any concerns please contact your GP or Health Visitor for further assessment/ guidance.
This guidance is published as an iHV Parent Tip on its website.
National Childbirth Trust (helpline: 0300 33 00 771)
La Leche League – monthly meetings in Derby (24-hour helpline: 0845 120 2918)
Breastfeeding Network (helpline: 0300 100 0210)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (helpline: 0300 330 5453)
NHS Start4life - NHS Breastfeeding Guide
NHS Start4life - Going back to work guide
Supporter Line in Bengali & Sylheti – 0300 456 2421
Read our breastfeeding guide
View our breastfeeding support page
NHS Start4life - Guide to Bottle Feeding
NHS Start4life - Baby Vitamins
NSPCC website – handling your baby
Lullaby Trust website - Advice on safe sleeping for your baby
Handlng baby with care - NSPCC Need to Know Guide
Don't shake your baby - Advice leaflet
Caring for baby at night - a guide for parents
Gov.UK - Guide to immunisation
NHS Website - Guide to Vaccination
NHS Start4Life - Vaccination Schedule
NHS - Protecting your baby against Meningitis and Septicaemia
Handi Paediatric - An app to provide advice on common childhood illnesses.
Baby Check Up - 19 simple checks that parents can do if their baby is showing signs of illness.
NHS Website - Information on collic
NHS Website - Information on oral thrush in babies
Unicef - Building a happy baby
First Steps Nutrition - Healthy Start
Your Information Your Rights - Data Security
As a minimum, we offer:
Learn more about the two-year health review by downloading our leaflet.
We also work closely with our partners at Ripplez, supporting new parents – for example through the Derby Community Parent Programme.
Every baby born in the United Kingdom is offered newborn blood spot screening, also known as the heel prick test, when they are five days old. Newborn blood spot screening involves taking a blood sample to find out if your baby has one of nine rare but serious health conditions.
If you have moved into Derby from outside the UK and have not had the test done previously, our newborn blood spot screening team will contact you to offer to carry out the test. The test is available up to your child’s first birthday. For information on the newborn blood spot test, view the NHS website. The Derby screening team can be called on 0300 3690574 extension 31859.
We can advise on…
Safe sleep practices with a baby are really important.
Health professionals may refer to something called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS for short. This is where a baby has died suddenly and in an unexplained circumstance. Other families may refer to this as 'cot death'.
We don't know why babies die from SIDS, however we can identify risk factors that can contribute to increasing the chances of SIDS.
You can find out more information about SIDs and how to prevent it on the NHS website.
There are some key principles you can follow to make your babies sleep time safer.
Breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.
You should try to breastfeed your baby, even if only for some of the time as this can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Breastfeeding some of the time may reduce the chance of SIDS compared to a baby who is fully formula fed.
If you would like help with quitting smoking see your GP or you can call the NHS smoke free team on 0800 022 433.
Information sourced from Lullaby Trust.
Public Health Wales have produced a video explaining why shaking a baby is very dangerous. Watch the Shaken Baby video on YouTube.
This Video is also available to watch in the following languages:
One of the best ways to protect your baby against diseases like measles, rubella, tetanus and meningitis is through immunisation. Your baby needs their first injections at eight weeks, then 12 weeks, 16 weeks and one year.
Vaccinations are offered free of charge in the UK – just book your appointments with your GP. Remember, as well as protecting your own baby, you're also protecting other babies and children by preventing the spread of disease.
These are the vaccinations your baby will need:
6-in-1 vaccine – 2nd dose
RV (rotavirus) vaccine – 2nd dose
PCV (pneumococcal) vaccine
Quick guide to your baby's vaccinations
6-in-1 protects against:
Other Immunisation information
Babies given the MenB vaccine alongside their other routine vaccinations at 8 and 16 weeks are likely to develop a high temperature (fever) within 24 hours of vaccination, this fever is an indication that your baby is responding well to the vaccine.
It's important to give your baby liquid paracetamol following vaccination to reduce the risk of fever. You will need to give a total of three doses of paracetamol over a 24 hour period (2.5mls of infant paracetamol 120mg/5ml suspension). This will be needed after the eight and 16-week vaccination visits.
Other common side effects include irritability, and redness and tenderness at the injection site. The liquid paracetamol will also help with these symptoms.
Information sourced from NHS Childhood Immunisations.
Please note if your baby starts to get excessive bruising following the vaccinations please seek urgent medical attention.
Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition in newborn babies that causes yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. The medical term for jaundice in babies is neonatal jaundice.
Your Midwife and Health Visitor will be assessing for this within the first 14 days of your baby's life initially.
The symptoms of newborn jaundice usually develop two to three days after the birth and tend to get better without treatment by the time the baby is about two weeks old.
Your baby will be examined for signs of jaundice within 72 hours of being born as part of the newborn physical examination.
If your baby develops signs of jaundice after this time, speak to your midwife, health visitor or a GP as soon as possible for advice.
While jaundice is not usually a cause for concern, it's important to determine whether your baby needs treatment.
If you're monitoring your baby's jaundice at home, it's also important to contact your midwife straight away if your baby's symptoms quickly get worse or they become very reluctant to feed.
Find out more about diagnosing jaundice in babies
Jaundice is caused by the build-up of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance produced when red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, are broken down.
Jaundice is common in newborn babies because babies have a high number of red blood cells in their blood, which are broken down and replaced frequently.
Also, a newborn baby's liver is not fully developed, so it's less effective at removing the bilirubin from the blood.
By the time a baby is about two weeks old, their liver is more effective at processing bilirubin, so jaundice often corrects itself by this age without causing any harm.
In a small number of cases, jaundice can be the sign of an underlying health condition. This is often the case if jaundice develops shortly after birth (within the first 24 hours).
Jaundice is 1 of the most common conditions that can affect newborn babies.
It's estimated 6 out of every 10 babies develop jaundice, including 8 out of 10 babies born prematurely before the 37th week of pregnancy.
But only around 1 in 20 babies has a blood bilirubin level high enough to need treatment.
For reasons that are unclear, breastfeeding increases a baby's risk of developing jaundice, which can often persist for a month or longer.
But in most cases, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any risks associated with jaundice.
Treatment for newborn jaundice is not usually needed because the symptoms normally pass within 10 to 14 days, although they can occasionally last longer.
If your baby has jaundice for longer than 14 days your Midwife or Health Visitor will request a blood test at your local hospital. Treatment will then commence if tests show very high levels of bilirubin in a baby's blood.
This is because there's a small risk the bilirubin could pass into the brain and cause brain damage.
There are 2 main treatments that can be carried out in hospital to quickly reduce your baby's bilirubin levels.
You can also read the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance about jaundice in newborn babies under 28 days.
Information sourced from the newborn jaudnice page on the NHS website.
Lifting head up when on tummy
Sitting without support
Starts to crawl. Forwards, backwards or bottom shuffle
Pull themselves upright and stand
Reach out for things
Holds an object and takes to their mouth
Passes objects from hand to hand
Lets go of things. May drop things if asked
Eats finger foods
Startled by loud sounds
Makes cooing noises
Makes repetitive noises
Turns to your voice from across a room
Responds to their own name.
Says mama & dada
First few weeks
Looks and studies faces.
Starts to focus
By 2 Weeks
Begins to recognise faces
By 6 weeks
Can follow coloured toy about 20cm away
Starts to smile and react to people
By 6 Months
Can see across a room
This outline is just a guide and all babies develop at different rates.
Please speak to your health team if you are concerned that your baby isn't meeting their developmental milestones as the health team members are trained to assess your child’s development. They will do this by looking at the facts and at detailed research. They will refer you and your child to other services if they think it is needed.
After you have had your baby you may experience some feelings of low mood for a couple of days. These are usually referred to as the 'Baby Blues'.
This is totally normal and every new mum usually goes through this period. They should only last for a couple of days.
Sometimes 'Baby Blues' can occur again around the time your baby is a few weeks old so dont worry.
Depression after a baby is born can be extremely distressing. Postnatal depression is thought to affect around 1 in 10 women.
Many women suffer in silence. Their friends, relatives and health professionals don't know how they're feeling.
Postnatal depression usually occurs 2 to 8 weeks after the birth, though sometimes it can happen up to a year after the baby is born.
Some of the Symptoms such as tiredness, irritability or poor appetite are normal if you've just had a baby. But these are usually mild and don't stop you leading a normal life. The time to get help is when these feelings have an impact on your day to day life.
When you have postnatal depression, you may feel increasingly depressed and withdrawn. Looking after yourself or your baby may become too much.
Other signs of postnatal depression may also include:
If you think you have postnatal depression, don't struggle alone. Your Health Visitor will assess your emotional wellbeing at your 6-8 week check. She will ask you to fill in an assessment called a HADS. This will assess your feeling and identify any anxiety or depression you may be experiencing.
It's not a sign that you're a bad mother or are unable to cope. Postnatal depression is an illness and you need to get help, just as you would if you had an illness like flu.
Talk to someone you trust, such as your partner or a friend. You can ask your health visitor to call in and visit you. Many health visitors have been trained to recognise postnatal depression and have techniques that can help. If they can't help, they'll know someone in your area who can.
It's also important to see your GP. If you don't feel up to making an appointment, ask someone to do it for you.
Milder cases of postnatal depression can be treated with counselling. This can be given by the health visitor, we can offer 6 listening visits in your home and then if further support is needed we can refer to a counsellor. More severe cases often require antidepressants and you may need to see a specialist.
It's important to let your GP know if you're breastfeeding. If you need to take antidepressants, they'll prescribe a type of medication that's suitable while you're breastfeeding.
Within Derby there is a service called 'Talking Mental Health' that service users can self-refer into for support with mental health illness.
They also offer relationship support through their service 'Relate'.
You may also find it helpful to contact the Association for Post-Natal Illness or the National Childbirth Trust.
The mental health charity Mind provides useful resources for people affected by postnatal depression
Your local Children's Centre can put you in touch with your nearest postnatal group. These groups provide contact with other new mothers and encourage mums to support each other. They offer social activities and help with parenting skills.
Weaning is the term used when you start to introduce solid foods to your baby's diet. There are a few ways you can start this process and this section will guide you through this.
Weaning should commence when your baby turns 6 months of age. You should continue to give your baby breast milk or first stage formula milk alongside this food.
At 6 months of age the baby's body is equipped to digest the food, and they are more developed to assist them in chewing, swallowing and holding the food.
Your baby will start to show signs they are ready to wean. Some of these include:
Baby led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods to your baby where they can feed themselves the food. There is no need for spoon feeding or the use of Jar foods with this method. If you want to do a mix of spoon feeding and Baby led weaning this is also ok.
The benefits of baby led weaning enable your baby to explore lots of different textures, tastes, colours and smells. (They may get messy but that's all part of the fun).
It will help the baby to develop hand-eye co-ordination and encourages chewing skills.
Here are some examples to get started if you choose this method:
Good foods to offer also include: Fruit, cooked vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, well-cooked eggs, bread or toast, rice and pasta.
Introducing foods that may trigger allergic reactions once at a time in small amounts. Examples of these foods are:
If baby tolerates these you can keep offering them
There's no more risk of choking when a baby feeds themselves than when they're fed with a spoon.
If you remain concerned St Johns Ambulance have produced a very good video for you to watch.
This differs for all children and totally depends on the individual child. Most children will be showing signs of wanting to toilet train from 18 months to three years of age.
Try to avoid starting this if you have big changes coming up such as moving house, or having a new baby.
How to get your child ready
If you need more support with toilet training contact your Health Visiting Team.
Come and meet your health visitor at one of the child health clinics, which are held Monday to Friday across the city. You do not need to make an appointment and can attend any of these clinics.
If you would like a private session or separate meeting, please discuss this with your health visitor.
To find your local health visiting team call 0300 3690574, Extension 11827.
To contact the Derby blood spot screening team, call 0300 3690574, Extension 31859
Your baby's Personal Child Health Record is also known as the red book or PCHR. It's used to record your child's weight and height, vaccinations they've been given and other important health information. You can also add information yourself – it's a great way of keeping track of your child's progress. Remember to take it with you when your baby has appointments at the clinic, GP or hospital.
An online version – the eRedbook – is being trialled in some areas in the UK. Sign up via the link if you're interested in participating in the trial or being kept up–to–date with the developments.
Starting school is a big transition for your child. There are a few things you can do to help with this transition period.
You may hear your Health Visitor talk about 'School Readiness', the information below will outline what this means.
Here are some handy tips that can help your child learn valuable skills before school starts and they will help them when they start school.
If you require any support with school readiness please call your Health visiting team and they can support with this.
NHS website – pregnancy and baby section
Derbyshire City Council - birth registration
Mother Hub - Derbyshire's online resource with information for parents before and after birth
Maternal Mental Health
World Health Organisation (WHO) - Information on maternal mental health
Mind - What is post natal depression?
Derby City Council - Childcare information for parents/guardians
Derby City Council – funded childcare
National Childbirth Trust (helpline Tel: 0300 33 00 771)
La Leche League – monthly meetings in Derby (24-hour helpline Tel: 0845 120 2918)
Breastfeeding Network (helpline Tel: 0300 100 0210)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (helpline Tel: 0300 330 5453)
Supporter Line in Bengali & Sylheti – Tel: 0300 456 2421
View our breastfeeding support page
NHS Start4life - Guides to weaning
First Steps Nutrition - Eating Welll
NHS website – weaning
First Steps Nutrition - Information on Infant Milks
Healthy Start – applying for vouchers for vitamins and food
Keeping Your Child Safe
RoSPA website – safety in the home
RoSPA website – avoiding children’s accidents
RoSPA website – product safety information
RoSPA website – car seats
Read our leaflet on domestic abuse
Caring for baby at night - a guide for parents
NHS Start4Life - Vaccination Schedule
Read our guides
Handi Paediatric - An app to provide advice on common childhood illnesses
Baby Check Up - 19 simple checks that parents can do if their baby is showing signs of illness
Up Beat Communities - A What's On Guide for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Derby
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Children and young people's services
Learn about our services for people with a learning disability
Make an appointment
Information for members of the public and health professionals on requesting treatment and support
Learn about different ways to stay healthy and well