Start for Life
In Derby, we believe that every baby deserves the best start in life and we know how important those early stages are. Working together with our voluntary, community, health and council services, we can provide you and your baby with the best possible support. This support is called our 'Start for Life' offer that is available to parents, carers and their babies from pregnancy to 2 years.
Shaping Us: Layla's story
Our early childhoods, the time from pregnancy to five, fundamentally shape our whole lives. Shaping Us is the Centre for Early Childhood’s campaign to highlight the importance of early childhood. Watch their short video called Layla’s story, to find out how and why our early childhood shapes the adults we become:
Throughout your pregnancy, you will be seen by your midwife team, your GP and have appointments at the hospital. You will be able to discuss where you will have your baby and further support options.
'Antenatal care' is the name of the care you receive during pregnancy and is mainly delivered by your midwife. Your first appointment with your midwife is called your 'booking appointment'. This care happens throughout your pregnancy:
• 8 to 12 weeks pregnancy - your 'booking appointment'
• 16 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 20 weeks pregnancy - first 'baby scan' at the hospital
• 25 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 28 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 31 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 34 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 36 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 38 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 40 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
• 41 weeks pregnancy - midwife check-up appointment
Watch this video to find out more about antenatal services at Royal Derby Hospital.
Every family’s pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenthood experience looks different – there is no one size fits all! This is why Connected perinatal support Derby offer a range of free peer support services to suit every family.
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy foods and milk. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Money is added onto this card every 4 weeks. Find out how to shop, what you’ll get and how much.
Healthy Start vitamins support you during pregnancy and breast feeding. There are also vitamin drops for babies and young children. These are suitable from birth to 4 years old. You can collect Healthy Start vitamins from several locations in Derby city.
Staying healthy during pregnancy
Being overweight increases the risk of complications for you and your baby. Livewell supports pregnant women with a BMI of 30 or over to gain the right amount of weight by eating healthily and keeping active.
With 4,000 chemicals present in every cigarette, smoking in pregnancy has clear and significant health risks for both mother and baby. Livewell Derby provide help to pregnant women to stop smoking.
There is a Pregnancy week-by-week guide for parents from the NHS. Find out what to expect at every week of your pregnancy:
Around 28 weeks, your health visitor will visit you at home to assess any health needs and discuss preparation for parenthood. Also at this time, you will receive a text from your health visitor with pregnancy support links.
Health visitors advise on:
• bonding and responding to baby cues
• responsive infant feeding
• safe sleep
• healthy development
• how to promote communication through talking and singing to your baby
• family mental and physical health
• wellbeing and the value of supportive groups and friendships after the baby is born.
Watch this video to understand about the role of the health visitor.
Health visitors will explain the benefits of attending a Family Hub or Children's Centre to access health, family support and early learning services. Preparation to parenthood is a 3 week programme which will be rolled out in the Family Hubs from 2024.
Birth to 3 months
For the first 10 days after the birth of your baby, you will be under midwife care. You and your baby will be visited by a midwife at home. During the visits, the midwife will weigh your baby and answer any of your questions. Within 14 days of the birth, your health visitor will make a home visit to review you and your baby’s wellbeing and plan any additional visits. Watch this video to find out about early postnatal care in Derby.
Shortly before or after your baby is born, you'll be given a personal child health record (PCHR). This usually has a red cover and is known as the 'red book'. It's a good idea to take your baby's red book with you every time you visit the baby clinic or GP. They will use it to record your child's weight and height, vaccinations and other important information.
Between 6 to 8 weeks, your GP and the health visitor will do a health review to check on how things are going for you and your baby. This is to ensure continued progress and wellbeing.
Within the first 42 days, you must register your baby’s birth. This registration process normally takes 20 minutes. There is a fee for all certificates issued. You will need to pay by debit or credit card as cash is only accepted in certain circumstances.
Once you have registered your baby’s birth then you can apply for Child Benefit and this can now be done online for the first time. You can claim Child Benefit 48 hours after you’ve registered the birth of your child, or once a child comes to live with you. Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months.
If you are eligible for Healthy Start let them know when your baby has been born to transfer to the children’s scheme.
Our Infant Feeding Team provides mothers and families in Derby with advice and assistance to make informed feeding choices. The team also provides support to enable women who choose to breastfeed to do so for as long as they wish. This helps to improve health outcomes.
The team works closely with our health visiting team and provides training and support to local Children’s Centre staff and GPs.
If you choose to bottle feed, it’s important to bottle feed as responsively as possible. This will help support the development of a close and loving parent-infant relationship. More tips on building a close and loving relationship with babies can be found in this Building a Happy Baby leaflet for parents.
Around this time, you will also be invited to register at your local Family Hub or Children's Centre. After registering, you can access all the different services and sessions that are delivered such as baby massage, development advice, communication advice and breastfeeding support.
If you are planning to return to work after your maternity leave you need to start to think about your childcare options. You can browse the online childcare directory or call the Families Information Service on 01332 640758.
There are a number of vaccinations given to babies under one year old. A GP or health visitor will discuss your baby's vaccinations with you. These are offered at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and 12 months old, and before your child starts school.
At 3 to 12 months
During this time, your will receive a text message offering advice and support with weaning and oral health support.
Your health visitor will contact you to arrange a 6 to 12 month development review at a clinic or at home. This check will usually be completed when your baby is around 10 to 11 months old unless you highlight any concerns sooner. The review will cover:
- assess progress and advise on health
- nutrition and development
- safety and communication
- plan any follow up required
- supporting any identified needs.
Don’t forget that your dental treatment is free for the first 12 months after your baby is born. Simply provide your dentist with a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx) issued by your midwife or GP. It’s a good idea to take your baby with you so that they become familiar with the dentist and the surgery.
The first few weeks and months after having a baby can be very emotional. You may feel a huge mix of emotions from joy, love and pride to worry, sadness and frustration. There is advice and tips on coping with emotional changes, stress and anxiety after childbirth.
If breastfeeding is established, you may feel confident enough to start feeding in a public space. The Council aims to create a city where mums feel welcome to feed their babies and are confident to breastfeed for as long as they choose. Businesses who actively make their premises welcome for mothers and families to breastfeed can positively contribute to a woman feeling more confident to breastfeed in public. There are a number of accredited breastfeeding friendly venues within the city. These venues have been assessed to:
- provide a comfortable place for women to breastfeed; it doesn’t need to be a separate room but it should never be a toilet
- treat breastfeeding mums the same way as any other customer
- train staff to be supportive of breastfeeding and know how to react to both positive and negative comments from other customers.
These businesses will display a certificate and window sticker to show that you welcome breastfeeding.
Both Family Hubs and Children’s Centres run Breastfeeding Club. Each club is facilitated by a member of the Infant Feeding Team. Text the Parents and Carers ChatHealth Service on 07507 327754 to book your place.
At 12 to 24 months
You will be offered regular health and development reviews, known as 'health visitor checks', for your baby until they are aged 2. These are to support you and your baby, and to make sure their development is on track.
Stay and Play sessions in Family Hubs and Children's Centre's promote talking, singing and playing with toddlers and children. Storytimes and Rhymetimes promoting early language and listening skills are held at Derby libraries.
You can sign up for 52 Things to do before you're 5 and join in all the free and low cost fun activities that parents and children under 5 can do together.
If you are planning to return to work after your maternity leave, you need to start thinking about your childcare options. You can browse the online childcare directory or call the Families Information Service on 01332 640758.
For some families of 2 year olds, there is funding worth up to 15 hours of childcare each week. You can find out more about the funded childcare offers from Childcare Choices and use their handy calculator to see what you could be eligible for.
At 24 to 36 months
After your baby has turned two years old, you and your baby will be invited to what is called a '2-2 1/2 year development review' at a Family Hub or Children's Centre. This will generally be completed when your child is around 2 years 4 months unless you have concerns.
This review will cover:
- general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision
- growth, healthy eating and keeping active
- managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
- tooth brushing and going to the dentist
- keeping your child safe
As part of this review, your child will have a speech assessment overseen by practitioners at a Family Hub or Children’s Centre or by health staff in your home using the assessment toolkit is called an Early Language Identification measure. An Ages and Stages development assessment toolkit will be used at the development reviews to assist the practitioner in reviewing the development of the child. Watch this video to find out more about what happens at your child's 2 year development review.
At this time, you might want to consider supporting your child to become toilet trained.
Once your child turns three years old, they are entitled to 15 hours a week of funded childcare for 38 weeks of the year. Some working parents and carers of 3 and 4 year olds, may be eligible for up to a further 15 hours funded childcare.
Don’t forget to check out the fun things to do with your child: