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Health and wellbeing

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Sleep and your baby

Sleep can be one of the biggest concerns for parents and with every baby having different sleep patterns it can be hard to know what to expect.

You can find out about normal sleep for babies and young children on the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families website:

For information on how, why and where babies sleep as well as what the research says about sleep training and things to consider.

You can also speak to your health visiting team for advice on sleep. For information on safe sleep see our Staying Safe pages.

Immunisations also known as vaccinations are important for protecting your baby against serious infectious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight those diseases if we come into contact with them.  You can learn more about immunising your baby in these resources.

The Institute of health visiting have also developed helpful resources for you on Childhood immunisations.

BCG vaccination 

The BCG vaccine helps to protect babies from developing tuberculosis, which is also known as TB. In the UK, the BCG vaccine is given to all babies with a parent or grandparent who was born in a country with a high rate of TB.

Infant crying

ICON have developed a resource on Infant crying and how to cope, this includes information on infant crying and ways you can soothe your baby. Their leaflet can be found here.

The Anna Freud centre have developed resources on infant crying including what's normal, advice on managing crying and managing excess crying. Visit their website here.

Cry-sis provide information and support for parents with crying and sleepless babies. Visit their website here.

iHV - Coping with a crying baby during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Relationship building
UNICEF's Building a happy baby: a guide for parents provides advice and information for parents on getting to know their baby and setting up the foundations for a close and loving relationship. 

Positive parenting 

On the NSPCC's Positive Parenting resource you can find information on managing your child's needs and positive parenting advice for all ages from babies to teenagers.

Covid-19

The Anna Freud Centre have developed this resource on supporting your child back in to childcare called returning to nursery.

Find advice for parents and carers of babies on coronavirus from these NHS Start4life resources.

Topics include:

  • Infant feeding
  • Staying active with a baby during isolation
  • Your mental health
  • Safety at home
  • iHV Top Tips

iHV Top Tips

The Instutute of Health Visiting having developed a selection of resources for parents and carers can be found here.

Topics include:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Mental Health
  • Healthy Weight, Healthy Nutrition
  • Minor Illness and Reducing Accidents
  • Health and Development of your toddler

Dummies and speech

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have developed helpful information on dummies and speech development including advice on how you can help your child and ideas from other parents. You can find the resource here. 

New Baby, New Feelings

Pregnancy and the period after childbirth are significant times of change in a person’s life. It is common for women and their partners to experience many different emotions during this time. You can access our New Baby, New Feelings resources here.

Other helpful information can be found on these sites.

Nurturing yourself

Nurturing yourself or self-care are important for all parents but particularly when you have a new baby. It can be helpful to remember that looking after yourself is not selfish or indulgent but an important part of how we stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy so we can look after our children.

For practical ideas for looking after yourself see the below section.

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Other helpful resources from the Anna Freud centre can be found here:

Information on Young Children at Home during the COVID-19 Outbreak: The importance of Self-Care is available from Zero-Three.

You can find helpful videos for new parents on The BBC Tiny Happy People website.

Looking After Yourself

Having a baby is supposed to be a happy and exciting time but the reality is sometimes different and not what was expected. Adjusting to motherhood involves sudden and huge changes in your life as you get used to a new set of challenges that a baby brings. These include physical, psychological and emotional changes which if not acknowledged can lead to  increasing tiredness and feelings of being overwhelmed, which, unchecked, may reduce the joys of early motherhood. To try and prevent this happening something that needs to be prioritised is self-care - how to look after yourself during this time of transition in your life.

Here are some things that you can do to help maintain well-being:

Rest as much as you can especially during the first few weeks after birth. Tiredness is known to have a negative effect on mood and chronic tiredness can lead to low mood. Prioritise rest over non-baby related tasks such as housework and non-essential tasks.

Eat well and regularly: low blood sugar also has a negative effect on mood. Try to eat as healthily as possible and avoid junk foods.

Be kind to your self: you should not try to be superwoman. Start recognising your daily accomplishments, no matter how small you think they are. Remind yourself that you are new to this role and your baby is also adjusting to their new surroundings so don’t blame yourself when you have difficult days and things are not going so well.

Accept practical offers of help.

Exercise is known to have a good effect on mental health. Try to take baby for a walk with sling or pram every day and enjoy the fresh air and connect with what is around you. Exercise is good for your fitness and can boost self-esteem. Think about returning to whatever exercise you normally enjoy or start something new e.g. yoga, pilates, running, swimming (as long as you have had your post-natal check with your GP

Talk to friends and family. Avoid becoming isolated by making contact with other mums whenever possible, this will help you to establish a support network, share experiences and gain information about local facilities.

Nurture yourself on a regular basis! Simple activities such as having a bath by candlelight, using nice body lotions, doing your hair differently, painting nails, reading a magazine, enjoying a favourite food, listening to music on your own, putting on makeup, wearing different clothes etc. will help you feel good about yourself.

Baby-free time: if the opportunity comes up, take it and don’t feel guilty. You could do something simple like trying one of the self-nurturing ideas already mentioned or try practising relaxation or get creative e.g. mindfulness colouring for adults, knitting or craft activity, playing an instrument, singing or cooking-think what activities you normally enjoy and give it a go!

Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to bottle up difficult feelings, if you can talk to your partner or those closest to you it will help them to understand, remember that it is okay not to feel okay, do talk to a health professional such as your Health Visitor or GP who can then support you and help you to access specialist help if needed.

Baby Massage

Baby Massage is a wonderful activity to do with your baby. In many cultures it is a traditional part of baby care and is taught from one generation of mothers to the next. You can start massaging from birth and continue until baby is mobile.

There are many benefits for both mother and baby, and fathers and other care givers may also take part. It is something that is unique and brings a sense of joy and emotional closeness to your baby. Massage will help you learn and understand more about your baby as they develop. You will be communicating with each other through gentle touch, voice and eye contact.

Baby massage can have a profound effect on different aspects of development as babies quickly respond to loving touch and stroking. This helps them develop a sense of being loved, feeling secure, confident and importantly supports their ability to self soothe and regulate their own emotions from an early stage. This in turn will give psychological benefits lasting into adulthood.

Baby massage also promotes physical development, for instance muscle tone, and helps strengthen immunity. There are specific strokes to help with wind, colic or constipation. There is also evidence that baby massage stimulates all the body’s major systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal systems and of course the skin.

Baby massage may be suitable for all babies including those who have been on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or those with special needs. Baby massage is of particular benefit for mothers who are experiencing low mood or who are feeling anxious.

You can learn how and when to do baby massage by joining a class or watching instruction on line.

Staying active and helping your baby to become active is important for keeping you and your baby healthy. It helps you to improve your fitness levels post birth, helps with mood and improves sleep.

You can find out how much activity you should be doing and get top tips for helping your baby to start building their strength through activities like tummy time

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The Department of Health recommends that all children ages 6 months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. It’s also recommended that babies who are being breastfed are given a daily vitamin D supplement from birth, whether or not you’re taking a supplement containing vitamin D yourself. Babies who are having more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day shouldn't be given vitamin supplements. This is because formula is fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.

Families who are entitled to Healthy Start can receive free vitamin drops.

Healthy Start Application

Your health visiting team can provide more information on vitamins.

You can learn more about vitamins and breastfeeding from the UNICEF Baby Friendly website.

As soon as your baby’s teeth start to come through it’s time to start brushing them. This will help your baby to get used to brushing their teeth and helps avoid them having problems with their teeth as they get older. It’s also important to start taking them to the dentist when you go so that the dentist can look at their teeth and they get used to going to the dentist. Here are some helpful resources on how to look after your baby’s teeth and how to access a dentist.

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