The Health Visiting Service supports families with a new baby or child under five-years-old by offering advice and guidance.
A member of the Health Visiting Team will see you at least three times; once during pregnancy (antenatal), again when your baby is around 10 days old and a further appointment at six to eight weeks following birth. We also offer two further developmental reviews, one between nine and 12 months and the next at two to two-and-a-half years.
Who’s in the team?
Our team includes health visitors, community public health nurses, senior public health assistants and public health assistants.
Health visitors and community public health nurses are registered nurses or midwives that have undergone additional training in the care and development of pre-school
We work with midwives, GPs, paediatricians, local children's centres and voluntary organisations to provide the best possible care to you and your family.
Appointments with your Health Visiting Team
We see parents after 28 weeks of pregnancy either virtually or at your home. This appointment is an opportunity to discuss any questions you have and go through some useful information for you and your baby’s health and wellbeing including; feeding your baby, encouraging baby’s development and general parenting as well as introducing you to your local Health Visiting Team.
We visit you when you baby is around 10 to 14 days old at home. This is your chance to ask any questions you have, explore how you are feeling physically and emotionally, and discuss your baby’s health and wellbeing. Your midwife will discharge you from their service and hand over to the Health Visiting Service around this time.
Six to eight-weeks
This will take place in a clinic or at your home.
This visit is an opportunity for you and your partner to discuss you and your baby’s physical health needs, explore your emotional health and wellbeing, your baby’s routines and development, feeding, immunisations and answer any questions you may have.
We will measure your baby’s weight, length and head circumference if not already completed by your GP. Your GP will also offer a six to eight week appointment around this time. It is important that you and your baby attend this appointment.
Nine to 12 months
Remember that all babies are unique and will develop at different rates without anything for their parents to worry about. This review gives you as parents the opportunity to see how your child is developing, and if they need any additional support to reach their full potential. This developmental review will take place in a clinic or your home and will take around 45 minutes.
A member of the health visiting team will work with you to complete an ‘ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ)’. This looks at areas of your child’s development including:
- gross motor skills such as sitting unsupported
- fine motor skills such as transferring a toy from one hand to the other
- personal and social skills
- communication skills such as babbling
- problem solving skills.
Two to two-and-a-half years
This review gives you as parents the opportunity to see how your child is developing, and if they need any additional support to reach their full potential and be ready for nursery and school. This developmental review will take place in a clinic or your home and will take around 45 minutes. A member of the health visiting team will again work with you to complete an ‘ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ)’. This looks at areas of your child’s development including:
- gross motor skills such as walking
- fine motor skills such as using crayons
- personal and social skills
- communication skills
- problem solving skills.
If your child attends an early year’s setting they will be offered a developmental integrated review at this age. This is combination of your Health Visiting developmental review and the Early Year’s progress review.
We are trialling the Early Language Identification Measure (ELIM) tool focusing on children’s speech, language and communication development as part of the review in certain areas of Kent. This will help identify any children that would benefit from some extra support at an earlier stage.
Kent health visitors and midwives have put together a video on how your baby's growth is monitored during their early years, why this is important and what support is available for you and your baby. Thank you to all the parents, children and colleagues at Kent Community Health Foundation Trust and East Kent University Foundation Trust for their help in creating this video.
Other support on offer from the Health Visiting Service
- Child health clinics - Come along to a child health clinic for advice, information and support for you and your child's health and development from your local Health Visiting Team.
- Beside You – help and support with breastfeeding including details of local breastfeeding drop-in sessions and virtual groups.
- Born to move app - is about encouraging play and interaction to help the learning and development of your baby’s brain at this early stage, building the foundations for a healthy, confident child.
- Kent Baby – has a range of information and support for local parents and carers of under-fives.
- Understanding your child – FREE online courses for anyone who is pregnant or caring for a child in Kent. There are courses for all stages from before baby arrives, up to 18 years of age. Use the access code Invicta to register for an account. You can complete courses in smaller chunks at your own pace.
- Virtual workshops on a variety of topics including starting solids and toilet training.
- Specialist Infant Feeding Service
- Family Partnership Programme - available to families living in Kent who have experienced difficulties such as poverty, mental health issues, family problems or domestic abuse.
Looking for breastfeeding support?
We’re right #BesideYou - if you’re struggling, need motivation, have questions or simply want to meet other women breastfeeding.