Advice for parents of newborn babies in Kingston
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Information about local and national services that can support you during the early days and months after your child is born.
Register the birth
You must register the birth of your child or children within 42 days. You must register the birth at the registry office of the district where your baby is born. If your baby was born in Kingston, you can book a registration appointment on our births page.
Register your newborn at the GP
It’s important that you register your baby as a new family member with your GP (doctor's surgery). You don’t need proof of address to do this. We recommend you take your baby’s red book with you as this contains a lot of the information you will need to register.
If your baby is not yet registered with a GP but needs to see one, you can receive emergency treatment from any GP surgery. If you yourself are not already registered, you can use the NHS Find a GP tool to get started. Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery for free.
If your baby is unwell
It can be difficult to tell when a baby or toddler is seriously ill, but the main thing is to trust your instincts. You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like. The NHS has information on various common health conditions, as well as signs of serious illness to help you decide if you need to act urgently. You can also visit the Healthier Together website to find out more about what’s normal and what’s not.
Breastfeeding your baby
In the beginning, it can seem like your baby is constantly feeding. Gradually, you and your baby will get into a rhythm and the amount of milk you produce will settle. Feed your baby as often as they or you want. This is known as responsive feeding, it involves a parent responding to their baby’s cues, as well as their own desire to feed their baby. Feeds are not only for nutrition but also for love, comfort, and reassurance between baby and parent. It is not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby.
Find out more about:
- Breastfeeding: the first few days
- Soothing sore or cracked nipples
- Bottle feeding
- How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk
The NHS Start for Life website covers a range of breastfeeding tips and commonly asked questions. In Kingston, the Infant Feeding team can offer feeding support and can help you find your nearest breastfeeding support group.
A health visitor will usually visit you at home for the first time around 10-14 days after your baby is born. Until then you'll be cared for by local midwives. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They are there to help you, your family and your new baby stay healthy.
Your health visitor can visit you at home, or at your child's health clinic, GP surgery, health centre or Children’s Centre. You will be offered regular health and development reviews for your baby until they are 2 years old. These are to support you and your baby and make sure their development is on track.
Your health visitor can also support you with your mental health. They can offer you advice, suggest where you can find help, and connect you with groups where you can meet other new parents.
Find out more about the Health Visiting service here in Kingston.
The Healthy Start Scheme provides financial help for eligible families to buy healthy food, milk and vitamins in local shops. You can read more about who is eligible and how to apply to the scheme on the Healthy Start website.
Vaccination is the most effective way to protect your baby from infectious diseases like measles and meningitis. Vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every single year. Your baby is eligible for vaccines in their first 4 months. Find out more about NHS vaccinations and when to have them.
You'll usually be contacted by your GP surgery when your child is due for a routine vaccination. This could be a letter, text, phone call or email. If you know your child is due for a vaccination, it's best to speak to your GP surgery to book the appointment. You do not need to wait to hear from them.
It’s best to have vaccines on time, but you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them - speak to your GP surgery.
Helping your baby sleep safely
Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. The NHS provides expert advice on how to sleep your baby more safely to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. You can find top tips and simple steps for safer sleep on their website.
SIDS is rare, so do not let worrying about it stop you from enjoying your baby's first few months.
It is important to make sure that your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot, so try to keep the room temperature between 16-20°C.
Putting your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the same room as you, for the first 6 months is another way of reducing your baby's risk even further. Not smoking during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and not letting anyone else smoke in the same room as your baby will also help protect them.
Your Personal Child Health Record (red book)
Shortly before or after your baby is born, you'll be given a personal child health record (PCHR). This usually has a red cover and is known as the "red book". It's a good idea to take your baby's red book with you every time you visit the baby clinic or GP. They will use it to record your child's weight and height, vaccinations and other important information.
You also have the option to sign up for a digital version of the Redbook called eRedbook. Visit the eRedbook website or talk to your Midwife or Health Visitor to get started.
You can find your nearest Children’s Centre, opening times and contact information on the Achieving for Children website. It's a place where you can go with your child to enjoy local play facilities and connect with other parents.
There are many other services available to you in Kingston to support you as your baby grows older.
You can find some of these on the Achieving for Children Local Offer website.
Looking after yourself
It’s really important that you keep well after having a baby, and that you know where to go if you need support. You can find a lot of information and support both on the NHS website and locally - we’ve put together some links to get you started.
Healthy Lifestyles services
If you live, work or study in Kingston, you have access to our local Healthy Lifestyles offers. This includes online services, face-to-face classes and professional one-to-one sessions. The team is on hand to support you to:
get more active
reach a healthy weight
strengthen your bones and improve your balance
understand and manage alcohol intake
prevent or manage a diabetic condition
find resources that can help maintain your mental wellbeing
To sign up for any of the above, please complete the Healthy Lifestyles form - it takes 5 minutes. If you have any questions about our services, or would like support filling in the sign up form, give the team a call on 020 8547 6815.
Discover local groups and services with Connected Kingston
Connected Kingston is a website for people living in Kingston to help them discover local groups, activities, and services. Support is available from Kingston Libraries, including their toy library and rhyme time sessions, and also charities such as Growbaby Kingston (free clothes and equipment for those who need it).
Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
Your relationship with your partner can change during and after pregnancy. Domestic abuse or domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial. It can also often be a combination of these. Domestic Abuse can escalate during pregnancy or after giving birth. Free, confidential, non-judgmental and independent support is available in Kingston to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse.
Keep up to date with what’s happening in Kingston
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