Maternity care and the public health nurse
If you have had your baby in hospital, your first point of contact will be the public health nurse, who will visit you shortly after you come home. They will have been informed of the birth of your baby and will either call to your home or phone you to make an appointment. (If you have had a home birth or domino delivery, your midwife will have already visited you).
Public health nurses can help you with the following :
- Advice and support: Public health nurses have extensive experience of babies and children and will be able to answer any queries you might have.
- Breastfeeding: Your public health nurse may run a breastfeeding support group at your health centre, generally once a week. This will give you the opportunity to discuss any problems or queries you might have and to meet other breastfeeding mothers.
- Feeding: When you begin to feed your baby solid food, your public health nurse will be able to advise you on developing a good balanced diet for your baby.
- Developmental Checks: Examinations of your baby's development are provided free of charge at your local health centre. The public health nurse will check your baby's development against a series of "norms" for that age group. For example, at 9 months, the checks look at your baby's eyesight and hearing, motor development, vocalisation and general growth.
The checks are generally carried out at 9 months, 18 months and 2 years, and you will receive a reminder call from your public health nurse. If you do not, call your local health centre to make an appointment. The checks are not mandatory. The public health nurse is also a good first point of contact should you have any concerns about your baby's development.
Where to apply
You will be automatically contacted by your public health nurse following the birth of your baby. Contact information for the service is through your local health centre.