Early health for babies

Your baby is dependent on you for all their health needs. This brand new life has started, and needs to learn and grow. From nutrition to activity, building their immune system to helping their brain development, you are responsible for their wellbeing.

What affects a baby's wellbeing?

Your baby has no control over their environment, and initially their only communication is their cry. Cries can mean they are hungry, tired, their nappy needs changing, or they just need attention. As a parent you will begin to understand the meaning of your baby's cry.

How can I improve my baby's wellbeing?

Encourage your baby and toddler to play and move around. Physical activity helps to combat childhood obesity.

Natural, free and helps build your baby's immune system, breastfeeding is a great way to help your baby. If you feel unsure or have concerns about breastfeeding, you are not alone! Many new mums have gained confidence in breastfeeding thanks to local services and groups supporting them. Search for breastfeeding online support or local groups in your area. In the East Riding the Integrated Specialist Public Health Nursing Service offers a range of support to Breastfeeding mums.

Benefits of emotional health after your baby is born
From birth, the interactions you have with your baby helps to shape the way he or she will think, feel and behave later in life. These interactions also help to form important emotional bonds between you and your child. Good emotional health also helps to maintain positive relationships with your older children and other family. They can help support you and your partner through the challenges of adjusting to a new baby.

Early learning and socialising
Talking to your baby and reading to them help develop language skills early on. Getting your toddler ready for school helps to improve their understanding and cognitive development. Sure Start Children Centres, available across the East Riding, are great education and social opportunities for you and your baby. They hold health checks, parent support groups and early learning activities.

Home safety
The top five most likely causes of unintentional harm to under five year olds are choking, suffocation and strangulation, falls, poisoning, burns and scalds, and drowning. Be sure to improve the safety of your home, such as keeping blind cords short and away from a child's reach, locking away chemicals and medications, covering plug sockets, and putting protectors on sharp corners of furniture.

The UK vaccination schedule starts when your baby is a few weeks old. Ensuring your child is vaccinated will protect them against many deadly illnesses throughout their life. Read more about why and when to vaccinate on the NHS website.

Making sure the whole family is eating well is vital for good physical and mental health, particularly while breastfeeding and for your baby's development. General guidelines says solid food should be introduced from six months old.

Oral Health: looking after your baby's teeth
You can start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come through. Use a baby toothbrush with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. Don't worry if you don't manage to brush much at first. The important thing is to get your baby used to brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine. You can help by setting a good example and letting them see you brushing your own teeth.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
This is the sudden, unexpected death of a healthy baby under the age of one. You can reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental death by providing your baby with a safe sleeping environment.

Safer Sleep
It can be tempting when you are tired and your baby needs attention to lie on the bed together, but this can cause many unintentional accidents, including suffocation. More information can be found on the Lullaby Trust.

Use the services below to find support:

How to help others

Children or teenagers

Children and teenagers may have mixed feelings of a new baby sibling coming into their home. You can get advice for various age children and breaking the news to them on the Baby Centre website.

I'm a professional

Midwives should refer to The Healthy Child Programme for pregnancy and the first five years of life. Encourage new parents in the East Riding to go to their nearest Sure Start Children's Centre. There is also information for professionals and new parents with the Integrated Specialist Public Health Nursing Service (ISPHNS).

Wellbeing in the workplace

NHS and Gov.UK websites have information on employee rights, including maternity and paternity leave.