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Kent Baby frequently asked questions

How our service is operating during the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In response to COVID-19, the way we provide our service has changed but don’t worry; we are still here if you need us.

We still really want to hear from you if you need our help or are feeling worried about anything. You can find your local duty line here Health Visiting Service.

We can offer advice over the phone, or arrange for video conferencing so that we can see you and your baby/child. If after speaking to you we think that it is important that we see you face-to-face, we will arrange this. Staff will wear full PPE and ask that family members and any children over the age of 11 wear a face covering if they are able to do so for any face-to-face contacts.

We will phone before we visit to check everyone in the family is well.  If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, or you are self isolating, we will offer a virtual review and book follow ups after your isolation period.

You can find lots of useful guidance and advice in the ‘Birth to Five’ book. Our health visiting service has also put together some useful information for parents in our frequently asked questions section below.

FAQ contents


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Health Visiting Service

Due to the current Coronavirus, (COVID-19) outbreak we have had to make some changes to the way we work. Don’t worry; you are not alone, we will still be here if you need us.

Just call our duty line and you can speak to a health visitor who can provide advice and support. We still really want to hear from you if you need our help or are feeling worried about anything.

You can find your local duty line here Health Visiting Service.

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We are no longer able to routinely weigh babies/children as our baby hubs have been suspended. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s weight please contact your Health Visitor local duty line and a health visitor will be able to help you.

It is normal for babies to lose some weight the first few days after birth but most babies are at, or above, their birth weight by two weeks.  Your baby’s weight will be monitored by your midwife during this time. The midwifery and health visiting teams will talk to you about how feeding is going, possibly ask to observe a feed if you're breastfeeding, and look at your baby's health in general during these first two weeks if there are any concerns about your baby’s weight.

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COVID-19 advice

Please find a range of resources to support you and your family in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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Emotional health

Many women find it hard to talk about any negative feelings after having a baby because they feel under pressure to be happy. Remember that you're not alone if you are feeling low or anxious and support is available to you.

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Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members. Domestic violence can happen to anyone. If you feel uncomfortable, pressurised, threatened or have been attacked don't wait, ask for help now.

You can find more information about local support for domestic abuse at

Children and young people can call ChildLine 24/7. Calls to 0800 1111 are free and confidential. You can also get information at Childline online.

Women can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247), and men the Mens' Advice Line (0808 8010327) for free at any time, day or night.

They will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support.

You can also speak to Kent Police on the non-emergency telephone number 101, but if you are at immediate risk then please call 999.

You can also call your local health visiting team for support.

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Find all the information on your rights and benefits.

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Most feeding problems can be solved with some support and reassurance.

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Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition in newborn babies.The symptoms of jaundice usually develop two to three days after birth and tends to get better without treatment by the time the baby is two weeks old.

If your baby has jaundice for longer than 14 days speak to your midwife or health visitor who will request a blood test at your local hospital.

Symptoms of newborn jaundice include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Yellowing of the palms or soles of the feet
  • Dark, yellow wee (a baby’s wee should always be clear)
  • Pale-coloured poo (it should be yellow for breastfed babies or orange for formula fed babies).
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Constipation is common in childhood, particularly when children are being potty trained at around 2 to 3 years old.

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Potty training

Using a potty is a new skill for your child to learn. It's best to take it slowly and go at your child's pace. Being patient with them will help them get it right, even if you sometimes feel frustrated.

Children are able to control their bladder and bowels when they're physically ready and when they want to be dry and clean. Every child is different, so it's best not to compare your child with others.

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Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night, while some don't for a long time.

Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.

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Immunisations and vaccines

One of the best ways to protect your baby against diseases like measles, rubella, tetanus and meningitis is through immunisation. Just to reassure you that despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is still recommended that your child receives their routine vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 13 months, as this protects them against other serious diseases that can still cause them harm. Start4Life has a full list of the all the vaccinations you baby is entitled to and the diseases they will be protected against.

If your child was aged two on the 31 August this year, protect them and those around them with a free flu vaccine. This is given to children via a nasal spray. Please contact your GP direct to book an appointment for your child.

The Institute of Health Visiting has a great resource for parents with explanations of how vaccines work, how they are regulated and why it is important to ensure your baby receives all the recommended immunisations.

If you are feeling particularly anxious, please speak to your local health visitor of have a look at some frequently asked questions on vaccines including knowing what to expect on the day and being aware of common side effects, which can help to put your mind at rest. You can also have a look at how local surgeries are taking additional precautions to maintain a safe environment for everyone here.

The NHS website has some useful appointment tips that may help your child's vaccination appointment go smoothly.

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Introducing solids

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Ailments and illnesses

It can be difficult to tell when a baby or toddler is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts.

You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you'll know when something is seriously wrong.

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Child development

Remember that all babies are unique and will develop at different rates without anything for their parents to worry about. There is lots of useful information on development in your child’s red book. If you are worried at any time, please call your local health visiting duty line and a member of the team will listen and talk through your concerns and explore with you what support your child might need.

Kent County Council has developed a resource ‘Explore Your Options’ for those parents and carers who think their child might have special educational needs and what will happen next.

By answering a few questions parents and carers can get recommendations about the next steps they can take, who to talk to and where they can find out information and get advice about what support may be available for their child.

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Special Education and Disability (SEND)

All children are individual and will develop at their own pace. Some children and young people may require more help to learn and develop than others of the same age. If this is the case they may be classed as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and they can get extra support.

Families in Kent can access the ‘Understanding your child with additional needs’ online course. This looks at some particular aspects of parenting such as sleep and anger management, helping to make it easier to work with your child's behaviour as well as supporting their development. Go to ‘In Our Place’ and apply the access code Invicta to register for an account.

If you are worried about your child’s development please contact your health visitor who will be able to support you and your child.

Further information can be found on

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Healthy lifestyle

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Starting school

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Understanding your child - free online courses

Understanding your child – FREE online courses for anyone who is pregnant or caring for a child in Kent. There are courses for stages from before baby arrives, up to one year of age, up to 18 years of age and one on understanding the brain changes that take place in adolescence.

These courses:

  • Help you build a loving and close relationship with your baby even before they arrive.
  • Give simple, practical strategies for your parenting toolbox.
  • Covers everything you need to know about pregnancy, labour and birth and beyond.

Go to, apply the access code Invicta, and register for an account. You can complete courses at your own pace, starting in pregnancy up until your child’s 19th birthday.

If these courses raise any concerns please contact your local health visiting team or school health team for more support.

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Free childcare for 2 year olds

Some two-year olds can receive up to 15 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year. Eligibility criteria includes receipt of benefits such as Universal Credit, if a child is looked after by a local authority, has an Education, Health and Care Plan or receives Disability Living Allowance. A full list of eligibility criteria including specific date of birth ranges is available on the Kent County Council Free Childcare website page. handy parents’ guide is also available on the website.

You do not have to use the full 15 hours each week and once eligibility has been confirmed, the funding will remain with your child until they take up their free three year old place – even if your circumstances change. To find out more about using the free childcare for two year olds and to apply online visit the Kent County Council Free Childcare website page.

Benefits for children include access to different play and learning opportunities, support for their social and emotional development including the opportunity to socialise with other children and getting ready for school.  Parents can either work, or to take the opportunity to do some training, volunteering or to have some free time.