Baby on the way? Next steps
Having a baby is one of the most incredible parts of a person’s life. You might be feeling a mixture of emotions, ranging from excited and happy, to nervous and overwhelmed.
That’s why Bright Start Islington is with you every step of the way, from pregnancy to your child's fifth birthday. From feeding to sleep, colic to crying, to minor illnesses, we can support you in the early new-born days right through to weaning, walking and beyond.
Maternity and Midwifery Care
Once you know that you are pregnant, you can self-refer for maternity care. You can do this without seeing your GP. You can find out about local options on the North Central London website and complete the form for your chosen hospital. You should also see your GP if you have any medical conditions, are taking any regular medications, or are unsure about continuing with your pregnancy. If you choose to have your baby with Whittington or UCL Hospitals you may be able to see your midwife in one of our children’s centres. You can find details of London-wide maternity services on the My Health London website.
Health Visiting Service
Health visitors are trained midwives and nurses who do extra qualifications in public health and child development and support you and your family until your child is 5 years old. Your health visitor will contact you from 28 weeks gestation to discuss your health and wellbeing in pregnancy. Find more information on how your health visitor can support you in your pregnancy.
Infant Feeding Support
You might be thinking about how you might like to feed your baby. Why not attend our online antenatal sessions. Whittington Hospital's Infant Feeding Team have also produced a virtual version of their antenatal breastfeeding workshop – or talk to your midwife about live sessions you may be able to access.
There are lots of fantastic videos at www.globalhealthmedia.org/topic/breastfeeding and breastfeeding.support/a-good-start-to-breastfeeding/ is a great resource.
It’s good to keep this quick reference guide to baby feeding cues close to hand.
Up to date information on COVID-19 and how it relates to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding can be found at www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/coronavirus/
If you are thinking of formula feeding your baby. Have a look at Start4Life ‘Guide to Bottle-feeding’ on www.babyfriendly.org.uk
Infants and sleep
Sleep is a topic at the forefront of every parent’s mind. Babies’ sleep patterns are different from ours and understanding why this happens can really help to make that easier to deal with - www.basisonline.org.uk/how-babies-sleep/ is a great place to start, and there’s important information on the safest ways for your baby to sleep elsewhere on the site.
Infants and Crying
Lots of babies go through periods of crying, it’s how they communicate with us, and whilst research has shown us that this is normal baby behaviour, we know it can be stressful and sometimes upsetting. Organisations like ICON – Babies Cry, You Can Cope (iconcope.org) can help give more information on crying, what your baby might be trying to tell you, and how you can cope.
Infants and Relationship Building
We know that building a strong relationship between parents and a new baby gives them the best possible start in life, and helps them to grow up happy and confident. This video is a good start to understanding how, and Unicef resources support parents from pregnancy and through the early years. You may have already seen the Off to the Best Start leaflet but if not, do check it out.
Islington residents all have free access to in-person and online courses based on the Solihull Approach to parenting, which promotes emotional health and well-being by supporting relationships. These are trusted courses from pre-birth to adolescence, developed with NHS practitioners and parents and there are separate courses for the different stages of pregnancy and parenting. You can sign up or you can find details of the more in-depth face to face courses.
Emotional and Mental Health support
Having a baby is life changing, and it's more important than ever to think about your mental health both now and when baby arrives - there's a useful tool to help you plan, and plenty of other info and ideas elsewhere on the same site too.