What happens to children before they are born and in their early years can affect
their health and life opportunities later on. For example, babies that are breastfed
have less chance of getting infections or of becoming obese and therefore
developing diabetes and other illnesses as they get older. Those who grow up in a
caring and safe environment and have a healthy relationship with their parents/
carers are more likely to do better at school and as they go through life.
If we know how to prevent illness, and encourage healthy behaviour from
pregnancy onwards, our children stand a great chance of having a healthy life.
Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts so that it can
work properly. Even though you can get lots of vitamins from a healthy balanced
diet, you still might not get everything you need at certain times in your life - such as
when you’re pregnant, a new mum or a small child. NHS information - Vitamin D
Ask your health visitor about the
free Healthy Start vitamin vouchers (see below).
If you don’t already live a healthy lifestyle, now is a great time to start. Sign up and
register to Change4Life for lots of handy healthy eating and exercise tips for you
and your child. www.nhs.uk/change4life
Baby’s weight should be
monitored regularly. Most babies
will not need to be weighed more
than once a month in the first 6
months, once every two months
between 6-12 months and once
every three months thereafter
unless there are concerns.
There are concerns that babies
who are weaned off breast milk
too early can become
overweight, as it can be difficult
for parents to know how much
and what to give in the form of
Babies who are not at a healthy
weight can be at risk of a range of health
problems as they get older, including high blood
pressure, heart disease and
stroke as children who are above
a healthy weight are much more
likely to continue to have
unhealthy weight into adulthood.
A healthy weight will have the
best outcomes for baby’s health
now and in the future.
free fruit, vegetables and vitamins
Healthy Start is a government scheme for pregnant women or women with children between the ages of 1-4. Women receive vouchers every week to support a healthy diet if they are receiving income support or other related benefits. The value of the vouchers depends on the number and age of the children. The vouchers can be used to purchase, plain cow’s milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose.
Parents can obtain healthy start vitamins at health visitor clinics. If a family is eligible for Healthy Start vitamins then they are
given free and if not, they have the option to buy these from their health
visitor. The vitamins supplied for mums are in tablets and the vitamins for
babies and children are drops.
As well as giving your baby a healthy start, you can help support them in early experiences and discovering the world around them. During the early months, babies explore and learn using their feet as well as their hands to feel textures and form. Leave their socks and shoes off when you can.
It's also important to spend one-to-one time, giving them your complete attention, without any distractions like the TV or mobile phone.
Should I give my baby sweet things to eat and drink, she loves fruit squash?
Drinks with added sugar are particularly bad for babies’ teeth - it’s like giving a baby a lolly to suck on all day. Giving your baby a ‘sweet tooth’ also means that they are more likely to keep pestering and crying for sugary things.
It's much easier to get your baby on the right track now than to try and change what they eat later.