Health visiting

Find out about the Health Visiting Service, which is based around the Healthy Child Programme, and the programme of care that we offer.

The information that we collect and use for SystmOne health data and your rights regarding your information is available in this privacy notice.

In the sections below you can find out who we are, how we can help you, details of our health visiting teams and child health clinics. 

You can also find lots of useful information and advice on a range of topics - including useful leaflets and resources that your health visitor may go through with you (click the + sign for details):

Within Suffolk, our Health Visiting teams are integrated with our Children's Centres, providing a range of services to help you and your family stay safe, happy and healthy.

We also work alongside other agencies such as

  • GPs and midwives
  • school nurses
  • early years' settings
  • voluntary and community groups
  • Other children's services such as social care

Health Visitors are qualified nurses or midwives with specialist community public health training and can offer families with children aged 0 to 5 years

  • support for the health and wellbeing of your whole family, providing antenatal visits, a visit after the midwife ends her care once your baby has arrived, and support and advice until your child goes to school
  • advice on healthy choices, e.g. breastfeeding, introducing solids and healthy eating
  • developmental reviews to ensure your child is reaching their full potential
  • advice on the childhood immunisation programme, which ensures your child is protected against disease and infection
  • information about specific difficulties, such as postnatal depression
  • support for your whole family into education, training or work
  • advice and information on wider issues such as housing problems or domestic abuse 
  • help with specialist services to support additional needs, e.g. speech and language
  • support for you to feel confident in your parenting skills and to provide the best opportunities for your baby as their grow

Some parents find the early years of a child's life both satisfying and rewarding but also challenging and frustrating. This is where the Health and Children's Centre team can help you. By working together, we can help ease some of the worries of being a parent and support you and your family to raise a happy and healthy child.

The Healthy Child Programme that you and your baby will be offered includes regular health and development reviews during their early years which will be carried out by your Health and Children's Centre team. This is recommended to make sure that your child stays healthy and is developing normally. Reviews can be done in your home, GP surgery, clinic, or Children's Centre, and provide you with time to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have.

The NHS gives further information about what to expect at health and development reviews.

In the sections below you can find details of our health visiting teams and child health clinics, plus lots of useful information and advice on a range of topics – including useful leaflets and resources that your health visitor may go through with you.

Need to change an appointment? Want to speak to a Health Visitor?

For all enquiries, information, advice and guidance, please call our Health Business Centre:

Clinics are held across the county in a variety of venues where Health and Children's Centre staff provide support for:

  • your child's growth and development
  • sleeping
  • infant feeding
  • coping with minor illnesses
  • managing a crying baby
  • immunisations
  • toileting
  • any other concerns you have about your child, yourself or your family

For most clinics, you can drop in during the times and days listed below. For some clinics you need to pre-book an appointment and these are indicated.

Here is a list of our Health and Children's Centre clinics.


Suffolk Wellbeing offers 3 free online courses for parents and mums-to-be that can help build a secure foundation for you and your developing child, supporting you on how to build a strong relationship/attachment, coupled with tried and tested strategies based on the cognitive behavioural therapy model.

You can find more information and access the free online courses on the Living Life to The Full website, or you can download the Are you... Living Life to the Full? flyer (PDF, 1.5MB).

Tommy's Pregnancy and post-birth digital wellbeing tool

To help look after yourself and be prepared for after the birth, Tommy's website enables you to create a Pregnancy and Post-birth Wellbeing Plan.

Midwifery Services

Other useful information

Best beginnings

Resources that give parents the knowledge and confidence they need to look after their own mental and physical health and to maximise their child's development. Baby Buddy is a free app that guides you through pregnancy, birth, parenting and beyond.

Go to the Best Beginnings website.

Understanding you

Unfamiliar feelings of anxiety and depression can often develop suddenly and range from mild to extremely severe, requiring different kinds of support or treatment. It is normal for new parents to experience broken sleep, relationship changes and impaired physical health as a result of pregnancy and giving birth. Often new parents dismiss their symptoms as a result of these changes. Healthy Suffolk has a helpful web page with information, advice and guidance including a downloadable leaflet on baby blues. 

Go to Healthy Suffolk information on maternal mental health.

Understanding baby

The Institute of Health Visiting has helpful factsheets to find expert advice on key areas of looking after your new baby, from when they are born to when they go to school. 

Go to the Institute of Health Visiting website.

Infant Feeding

For information, advice and guidance on all aspects of feeding please see the separate drop down called Infant Feeding

Tommy's Pregnancy and post-birth digital wellbeing tool

To help look after yourself and be prepared for after the birth, Tommy's website enables you to create a Pregnancy and Post-birth Wellbeing Plan.

Public Health: Birth to Five Book

This book provides information on caring for children up to five years old and contact details for useful organisations - it is available in downloadable chapters.

Go to: Public Health: Birth to Five.

NHS: Start4Life

Whatever you want to know about parenthood, from breastfeeding to when your baby will have their first vaccinations, you should find it here. We're here to give you the essential guide and lots of free tools for having a healthy, happy baby. 

Go to the NHS Start4Life website.

UNICEF: Building a happy baby

Advice and information for parents on getting to know their baby and setting up the foundations for a close and loving relationship, with a downloadable leaflet. 

Go to the UNICEF: Building a happy baby.

Safer sleep

The Lullaby Trust safer sleep advice gives simple steps for how your baby should sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is more commonly known as cot death. The advice can give you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time. 

Go to The Lullaby Trust: Safer sleep advice.

NHS: your new baby

Advice on all the essentials of baby care, including breastfeeding, infant feeding, changing nappies, and washing your baby. 

Go to NHS: Your new baby.

Healthy Suffolk: children and young people

Information and advice services that are available in Suffolk. 

Go to Healthy Suffolk advice services.

Healthy Suffolk: coping with crying

Babies don't have the words to tell us what they want, and sometimes knowing what to do can be tough. Public Health has released a guide which may help you to cope with crying.

Go to Healthy Suffolk: Keep Calm.

Umbilical granuloma

An umbilical granuloma is an overgrowth of tissue during the healing process of the belly button (umbilicus). It usually looks like a soft pink or red lump and often is wet or leaks small amounts of clear or yellow fluid. It is most common in the first few weeks of a baby's life.

Go to Institute of Health Visiting: understanding umbilical granuloma.

ERIC leaflet potty and toilet training

Helps parents and carers to recognise when their child is ready to start toilet training, how to prepare, and what to do to make it a success. 

Go to ERIC's guide to potty training.

Understanding childhood leaflets

Young children react very differently to the triumphs and setbacks of their second and third years, so they need different kinds of support from their parents.  This website and the downloadable leaflets talk through what to expect and how, as a parent, you can help.              

Go to Understanding Childhood: Tempers and tears.

NHS information

Advice on all the essentials of toddler care, including toilet training, play, speech, and managing temper tantrums. 

Go to NHS: Babies and toddlers, and click on the learning, play and behaviour option.

Top tips for parents

The Institute of Health Visiting has helpful factsheets to find expert advice on key areas of looking after your new baby, from when they are born to when they go to school. 

Go to the Institute of Health Visiting website.

NHS information

Advice on all the essentials for caring for your child, including the first day of school and separation anxiety.

Go to NHS: Starting school.

School nursing

Information about the school nursing service in Suffolk.

Go to Suffolk school nursing.

Emotional Wellbeing Hub

Information and advice if you are concerned about the emotional wellbeing and mental health of your child or young person aged 0 to 25 years.

Go to the Emotional Wellbeing Hub.

Each year, 40,000 under-fives are admitted to hospital following accidents, and lots of these accidents are preventable.

Your Health and Children's Centre team can advise you regarding accident prevention in the home. The team may also contact you if your child has attended A&E, to offer any ongoing support if needed.

Take the Healthy Suffolk quiz to find out if your home is a Child Friendly Zone, along with ideas to help you make your home safer for your child.

Useful websites with information on what to do if your child has an accident:

A staggering 44% of British adults now suffer from at least one allergy, and the number of sufferers is on the rise, growing by around 2 million between 2008 and 2009 alone.

The most common causes of allergic reactions are:

  • pollen from trees and grasses
  • proteins secreted from house dust mites
  • moulds
  • foods (such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs)
  • pets (such as cats and dogs, and other furry or hairy animals such as horses, rabbits, and guinea pigs)
  • insects (such as wasps and bees)
  • medicines (these may cause reactions by binding to proteins in the blood, which then triggers the reaction)

Useful websites with information on allergies:

It's important to make sure that you get all the help that you're entitled to. The following websites provide information on benefits and tax credits if you are working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person, an older person or a veteran.

There is also information about council tax and housing costs, national insurance, payment of benefits and problems with benefits.

Useful websites for benefits advice which you can refer to:

Bereavement is one of the most painful emotions the human body has to deal with during our lifetime. Grief is a natural process, but it can be devastating. There are also lots of national and local support groups, some of which are listed below.

If this is affecting you or your family at this time, you can contact your Health and Children's Centre team for support.

Useful websites with information on bereavement support:

For advice about finding and choosing childcare and how to access the funded early education entitlement for 2, 3 and 4-year old children, please visit childcare information and support for parents and providers.

Sometimes marriages and relationships end in divorce or separation and couples have to go their separate ways. If you have children, it's important that your break-up goes as smoothly as possible to have as little impact on them as you can manage as a relationship break down can affect all other areas of your life.

If this is affecting you or your family at this time, you can contact your Health and Children's Centre team for support.

Useful websites with guidance to help you make this difficult transition easier for you and your family:

Everyone has the right to live without violence and fear. Domestic violence includes any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse between people within a close relationship. It affects women, men and children, and can happen in any family, immaterial of class, religion or culture. It is estimated to occur in a quarter of all households.

If this is affecting you or your family at this time, you can contact your Health and Children's Centre team for support.

Useful websites to access help and support:

Drug and alcohol misuse are two significant issues facing people today, and they can be very harmful to your physical and mental health and wellbeing. 

Drug and alcohol treatment services for adults and young people in Suffolk are provided by Turning Point in conjunction with Suffolk Family Carers and Iceni. 

Useful websites with information on drug and alcohol support: 

A well-balanced diet is essential for children in their early years and starts with establishing good eating patterns necessary to ensure they grow and develop appropriately.

Your Health and Children's Centre team can offer you advice around healthy eating habits and how to boost your child's relationship with food as well as helping to deal with the challenges that may arise. They are available to provide support in order for you to give the best opportunity for your child to grow into a healthy and confident adult. Staff are trained in the HENRY approach: Henry: Healthy Start, Brighter Future.

Healthy Start Vitamins are available to some families from your Health and Children's Centre team. For more information and eligibility, see Healthy Start vitamins.

You may also find the following websites useful:

If you're homeless, or at risk of losing your home, we may be able to provide you with housing related support.

Housing related support can help to resolve the problems that are contributing to your housing issues, including:

  • managing your mental or physical health
  • problems with drugs or alcohol
  • difficulties managing a budget or paying your rent or mortgage
  • problems getting or staying in work or education

Useful websites for housing advice:

As a parent, you may not like seeing your baby or child being given an injection. However, vaccination will help protect them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases.

There are three good reasons to have your child vaccinated:

  • vaccinations are quick, safe and extremely effective
  • once your child has been vaccinated against a disease, their body can fight it off better
  • if a child isn't vaccinated, they're at higher risk of catching – and becoming very ill from – the illness

You can find information on the childhood immunisation schedule, including the ages at which they should ideally be given, reasons for vaccinating, and managing side effects on the NHS page about vaccinations.

If you're not sure whether you or your child has had all your routine vaccinations, ask your GP surgery to find out for you.

Useful websites with information about vaccinations:

Knowing what to expect in terms of feeding your baby should help you feel as confident as possible when you have just given birth. 

Antenatal sessions, whether held by the NHS or another organisation, should cover the most important aspects of infant feeding, such as attachment, positioning, expressing, common questions and concerns, and how to overcome them.

Your Health and Children’s Centre team can help you with any concerns regarding responsive infant feeding. There are also lots of groups and drop-ins for you to attend for support and advice with responsive infant feeding.

Here is a list of our Health and Children's Centre breastfeeding support groups and national support helplines.

UNICEF offer a range of helpful leaflets and tips for parents. Below are the ones parents find most helpful:

NHS Start4Life provides lots of helpful information and advice on breastfeeding  Below are the ones parents find most helpful:

Other useful websites and information:

Introducing your baby to solid foods, also referred to as weaning or complementary feeding starts when your baby is around 6 months old. You should introduce your baby to a varied diet, alongside their usual breast milk or infant formula.

Your Health and Children’s Centre team can help you with any concerns regarding introducing solids. There are also lots of groups and drop-ins for you to attend for support and advice.

Here are websites and information that you may find useful: 

Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. A booklet has been written to help you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in this Early Years Foundation Stage Parent Guide (PDF, 1.6MB).  

Your child's development is a continuous process that is unique to your child. Each baby child and young person does not progress at the same rate.

Your Health and Children's Centre team can support you to help your child achieve their potential. The team will offer you routine contacts to review your baby's development. This ensures that early help can be put in place for you and your child should you need it. 

If you are concerned about your baby, child or a young person's health and development, please contact your general practitioner or Health and Children's Centre team at any time.

You may find the websites and information helpful:

Watch this video to find out how you can encourage your child's confidence and self esteem.


Your Health Visitor is a nurse who can offer you advice on your child’s health, working in partnership with your General Practitioner (GP).

If you are concerned about your child's health, contact your GP to discuss the symptoms, or contact 111 for further advice.

It can be difficult to tell when a baby, toddler or child is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts. You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you'll know when something is seriously wrong. If your child requires urgent attention, call 999.

Useful websites with information about illnesses and symptoms:

Being pregnant is a time of change, but this can also be a time of feeling worried, fearful, excited and joyful.  Although all of these feelings are completely normal, for many women, some of these changes can be distressing and more severe.

The 'baby blues' are due to the sudden hormonal and chemical changes that take place in your body after childbirth.  This can affect many women and should only last for a few days.  However, for some women, these symptoms can be more severe and last longer, and could be postnatal depression.

Depression and anxiety are thought to affect 15-20% of women in the first year after childbirth.

Signs of postnatal depression may include:

  • feelings of being unable to cope, hopelessness and excessive anxiety
  • not being able to stop crying
  • panic attacks
  • concerns about bonding with your baby

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to a Health Visitor or someone you trust. Your Health and Children's Centre team are trained to recognise postnatal depression and anxiety and have techniques and resources that can help you.

It's also important to see your GP. If you don't feel up to making an appointment, ask someone to do it for you.

Useful websites and information:

Being a parent is one of the most important jobs there is. It has amazing rewards, but it can also be very challenging. If you would like some support with any aspect of parenting, please contact your Health and Children's Centre team.

You can also find parenting advice and support to help with your child's development on The Parent Hub.

Useful websites and information:

The first day at school can be challenging for both children and parents, but with a little preparation, it will be easier for you to cope.

Some of the key skills to help your child develop before they start school are:

  • going to the toilet
  • washing their hands
  • dressing and undressing
  • using a tissue
  • tidying up
  • feeding themselves
  • knowing how to share

If you feel you would like support, your Health and Children's Centre team can help you with techniques to encourage these skills and behaviours.

You may find these websites helpful:

One of the biggest challenges for new parents is getting used to the changes that a baby will bring to their night-time routine.

UNICEF's information about caring for your baby at night is designed to offer helpful, practical advice on coping at night and covers getting some rest, night feeding, safe sleeping environments and helping baby to settle.

If you are struggling with sleep issues for your baby or child, please feel free to contact your Health and Children’s Centre team. 

Useful websites for information about children's sleep:

If you have a question about your child's health or development, speak to your health visitor, nursery worker, GP or a professional who works with them.

For further information, support, and guidance for parents and carers go to the Suffolk Local Offer website.

You may also find this information useful:

Over one million children in the UK have some kind of speech language and communication needs. This is known as SLCN for short.

Every child is different. Their needs depend on different factors, including:

  • which areas of speech, language and communication they struggle with
  • how severely these areas are affected
  • what skills and strengths they have
  • how they need to use their skills
  • their level of confidence and self-esteem

If you are worried about your child's speech and language, you can contact your Health and Children's Centre team.

You may find the following links useful:

When it comes to teething, all babies are different. Your baby will probably get their first tooth sometime during their first year.

Your Health and Children's Centre team member will give you a dental pack during your child's routine one-year development review.

If you have any concerns regarding your baby's teething and dental health, please contact your Health and Children's Centre team for advice, or attend one of the drop-in Child Health Clinics.

You can find a dentist locally on the NHS website, or contact NHS England on 0300 311 223.

Useful advice on looking after your child's teeth:

Toilet training is an important milestone and a new skill for your child to learn. Every child is different, so it's best not to compare your child with others.

Your Health and Children's Centre team can advise you on how to gauge if your child is ready for toilet training and give you some tips on how best to start this.

Useful websites about toilet training help and advice:

Other information 

If you think a child or young person is at risk of abuse, harm or neglect please call 0808 800 4005.
This is a 24-hour service staffed by a team of professional people who will listen to your concerns and take appropriate actions.  For more information, including live web chat, please contact Customer First.

If you need to register with a GP, dentist, find a pharmacy, or access 111 services, please use NHS Service Search.

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