Activities To Do With Baby
At this visit we will discuss tummy time. Start introducing tummy time slowly. Begin by laying baby on your chest and letting them lift their head for a short time. This helps develop their muscle strength. You can build up to them laying on their tummy on the floor, for a few seconds to begin with. You can gradually increase how long they play on the floor for.
They might feel a bit unsure at first – get down on the floor with them so they can see your face.
One of the most exciting things for a baby to look at is your face. They like to look at your changing facial expressions, try facing them to you and pulling different faces and as they coo, you make similar noises to them.
Put some toys and books (you will get your Bookstart pack at this visit) in front of baby to look at with you. They will eventually reach out for them.
As the protection your baby got from you in the womb is now decreasing, it is important your baby gets their immunisations on time. In the first year there are 3 lots of two vaccinations; these are done when your baby is around 8, 12 and 16 weeks old.
Your GP should contact you about these. If you have not heard from them, you should contact them to arrange it. If you have any worries you can discuss these with your health visitor or practice nurse.
As part of the 8 and 16 week immunisations, your baby will have the Meningitis B vaccination. It's recommended your baby has infant paracetamol, within half an hour after that vaccination as babies can get a raised temperature.
Some children will be offered a BCG vaccination.
If you're planning on going abroad discuss this with your GP practice. You may be able to get vaccinations earlier if you are visiting a high-risk country.
Now is the time to apply for any benefits you might be entitled to if you have not already done so.
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.
Talk to your baby all the time. It doesn’t matter what you say, you will be helping them learn to enjoy words and sounds. Nappy changes are a good time for chats, songs and nursery rhymes. Your baby will soon be ‘joining in’ with coos, smiles and giggles.
You could place your baby in front of a (safe) mirror and encourage them to look at their reflection. Put a puppet on your hand (you could make one from a sock) and encourage your baby to watch your hand. Try moving it in different directions to get your baby’s attention. You can do this with other toys too.
Singing & Nursery Rhymes
Sing songs to your baby and move them gently to the rhythm. You could touch their tummy gently and sing pat-a-cake or “this little piggy went to market” with their toes and hands. They will soon learn to get excited when the ‘tickle’ bit is coming up.
Reading & Talking
We will give you a Bookstart pack. Even at this young age your baby will benefit from looking at and enjoying books with you. Baby’s like to look at black and white images. You could help a big brother or sister to feel involved by getting them to create bold black and white pictures.
When you take your baby out, talk to them about all you can see and hear. This is them beginning to understand the world around them.
Parental Mental Health
Having a new baby is not easy and sometimes around 6-8 weeks you may notice you are finding it tough. It is tiring and can feel like a big life change. We will ask how both you and your partner are getting on both physically and emotionally. This is not because we don’t think you’re coping, but caring for yourselves is an important part of caring for your baby. We can tell you about other services who can support you, if you need them.
We often use questionnaires to help us talk with you, about how you are feeling and how best to support your mental health. It is important that you try and answer the questions as honestly you can so that we can help you feel better. Getting help when you need it is good for you and the whole family.
There are local charities and services which can support you. Here are a few;
We can weigh and measure your baby to reassure you they are progressing well with their growth. We can also teach you how to use the scales we use. Then you will be able to self-weigh your baby, if you want to.
We will show you where in your red book you can write your baby's weight and how to plot it too. If you do decide to self-weigh and want some reassurance about the weight, you can call Just One Number and speak to a health visitor (they can check the plotting on health records).
There are self-weigh scales all round Norfolk that can be accessed by parents. Unless advised to by a health professional, we don't advise weighing your baby more frequently than monthly.
If you are breastfeeding you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement (containing 10 micrograms).
It is recommended breastfed babies from birth up to one year of age also be given a supplement of 8.5 to 10 micrograms vitamin D per day.
Babies who are formula fed do not require vitamin D if they are having 500ml or more per day of infant formula. This is because infant formula already has added vitamin D.
You and your baby are getting to know each other more and more. All the things that you do to care for your baby are helping them learn that they can trust you.
Even on those days when you ‘try everything’ and can’t work out what your baby wants, the important message your baby gets is that you are always trying to help them. The most important things for your baby’s healthy emotional development is the relationship that they are building with you.
You have probably already noticed that you are the ones your baby most wants to be with. They love to look at you and may be beginning to return your smiles.
Responding when your baby smiles or cries, holding them close when they need you, is really important. Babies who always have their physical and emotional needs met, can make more of the brain connections that help them learn and thrive.
You may feel worried (or others might tell you) that you are ‘spoiling’ your baby by always going to them but this is not so. When your respond to your baby they;
So enjoy all those cuddles with your baby it is building your bond and good for you both.
When a baby comes, we know this is a busy time and want to also make sure you are thinking about your own health and wellbeing too, so can talk about healthy eating and exercise and your health visitor can advise about contraception postnatally.
We recommend all mums do pelvic floor exercises after the birth and for the first year.
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;
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).
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.