From Pregnancy to Early Years

Starting a family and having children is one of the most natural things in the world and so is having a lot of questions.
In this section of our website we have links to information, advice and support services.

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant you want to be as healthy as possible to give your baby a head start and to help you feel as well as possible.  Start for life is a service which parents to be can sign up to for information and support throughout a pregnancy. You will receive weekly support through emails and texts and be able to watch helpful videos that will take you through each stage of pregnancy. You can also find the Healthy Start to Pregnancy leaflet in the downloads box on this page.

If you are on benefits or a low income you may qualify for extra help with fruit, veg and milk during pregnancy and once baby has arrived, through the Healthy start voucher scheme. to find out more visit the Healthy start website, or use the link to our healthy start vouchers page in related links.

There is also a useful weekly guide for when you are expecting a baby or just had a baby which outlines maternity rights and benefits available for working families.

For a helpful starting point with information about what to expect when you find out you are pregnant and keeping healthy in pregnancy, you can also take a look at the video at the bottom of the screen. There is one in English and one in Urdu also.

If you are expecting a baby, the Buckinghamshire Health Care NHS – Birth Choices website is a great place to start.  Here you will find information and advice on care and support services throughout pregnancy and what to expect from the maternity services in Bucks.  There are useful sections on the website with information on the support available, health checks, baby clinics and more including:

baby Buddy App

Baby Buddy is the FREE mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be, with personalised content approved by doctors and midwives, that spans from pregnancy right through to the first six months after birth.  You can download Baby Buddy for free on Google Play and in the App Store and the information is also available on the Best Beginnings website.

Check out the Welcome to Baby Buddy video below.

Health services for children and young people in Bucks  

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust provide a range of services for children and young people in Bucks including Health Visiting, School Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. This is a reliable place to go for information. You can find out more at Bucks healthcare Children and young people website or for information on Childhood illness visit NHS Child Health Bucks Facebook page.

Children's centres

Did you know that across the County we have are 35 Children’s Centres dedicated to providing information, advice, support and activities for parents-to-be and families with children up to the age of 5 years. Many offer sessions with Health visitors and Speech and Language services which will be listed on each centre's timetable.  

Advice and Support

  • Remember, babies are born completely dependent. You will need to do everything for your baby to make sure they get the security, protection, food, sleep and physical care they need. 
  • Very young babies might seem to do nothing but sleep and eat (not to mention cry!), they are affected by everything that is happening around them. The care you give your baby makes a major difference to their emotional and brain development. 
  • Babies can't manage their own stress. When you hold and soothe your baby, they know they are safe and can relax..
  • Babies need love. When you look and smile at your baby, they know they matters and feels secure.
  • Babies love faces and voices! When your baby looks at your face and you chat to them, they are learning and developing.
  • It can be exhausting looking after a baby and it can take time to get to know your baby and what they likes and need. Remember to look after yourself and ask for help when you need it so that you have got the energy to look after your baby – and enjoy it.

You’ll also find a link to our Advice and Support Information which provides information on a range of areas including:  becoming a parent, you and your partner and information specifically for dads and grandparents, parenting a teenager and so much more!      

Ante Natal classes provide expectant parents with reliable information and advice to prepare for baby’s arrival. 

Thinking about how you will feed your baby is a very important part of the preparation process.

Breastfeeding

The majority of parents choose to breastfeed their babies and the health benefits for this are very well established.  Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be at risk of: 

  • sickness and diarrhoea
  • ear infections
  • chest infections
  • allergies such as asthma and eczema
  • being overweight as children and are more likely to be healthier as children and adults.

The health benefits for mothers include:

  • it lowers the risk of mothers getting breast and ovarian cancer;
  • it naturally uses up to about 500 extra calories a day so mothers who breastfeed often find it easier to lose their pregnancy weight and get back into shape.

Breastfeeding can also help mothers and babies get closer physically and emotionally. So while mothers are feeding their baby, the bond between them grows stronger.  Breastfeeding is cheaper and convenient too as there is no need to carry around, sterilise or make up bottles.

Sometimes it can take a while before mothers feel confident with breastfeeding but there is a lot of support to tap into starting in the hospital with your midwife. For the first 28 days this support continues through Breastfeeding Clinics run by a dedicated team of midwives, health visitors and community staff nurses offering practical help and support during the early days. 

Fathers have a role to play as well.  The first few weeks with a new baby bring a whole range of emotions and changes to new parents’ lives.  Many women see their partner as their main source of support with breastfeeding.   The National Childbirth Trust has an information leaflet for fathers on breastfeeding.

Finally, there are a number of Breastfeeding helplines:

National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
NCT Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 330 0700
La Leche League Helpline 0345 120 2918
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0300 330 5453
Breastfeeding Network Supporter Line 0300 456 2421

Bottle Feeding

For mums who are not able to or choose not to breastfeed their newborn baby, midwives will provide help and support in hospital and health visitors will be available for advice when you come home with your baby.

Useful websites

We have done our research and found useful websites that can offer you advice and support:

Breast feeding

Bottle feeding

  • NHS Choices bottle feeding advice - If you are planning to bottle feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, these tips will help keep your baby safe and healthy.

  • NCT bottle feeding your baby advice - information and tips on how to bottle feed your baby and introducing a bottle.

 

Children develop at different rates – this is normal. But if you're concerned about your child – for instance, how many words they can say, whether they're walking or not or issues to do with their behaviour, it can really help to talk this over with someone.

Talking to someone can give you all-important reassurance – or a second opinion and help for your child if needed.

If there's something worrying you, talk to your health visitor, GP or a member of staff at your local children's centre. If you're not sure who your health visitor is, you will be able to get their contact details at your GP surgery or children's centre.

Or if you'd rather talk things over with another parent as a first step, Family Lives is a free 24 hour helpline for parents run by parents for other parents – and it's open every day of the year. Calls are in complete confidence and the person you talk to will provide a listening ear and let you know where to go for more help if you need to.

Health and Development Reviews for Two Year Olds 

When your child is two your Health Visitor and your child’s Key Person (if they attend an early years setting) can provide you with more information about their health, learning and development.

Two Year Health Reviews are carried out by your child’s Health Visitor. At this review you will discuss your child’s health needs, development and behaviour. A height and weight review will also be included at this appointment. 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Progress Checks at  Age Two are carried out by your child’s key person if they are attending an early years settings (e.g. pre-school, nursery, childminder etc.). The progress check will highlight areas where your child is progressing well and any areas where they might need some extra help or support.