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Start for Life

Family life and bringing up children is rewarding but can also be challenging. Your baby’s early years are important and will influence their development and future achievements.

This Start for Life offer sets out the services and support available to you and your family from pregnancy to your child's second birthday.

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Midwives from our local hospitals will see you throughout your pregnancy and after you give birth. Appointments may be held in GP surgeries, in Child and Family Centres and hospital-based clinics. Midwives may also visit you in your own home, especially after you have had your baby. Your midwife can also help you prepare for your baby's birth and share information about the antenatal education offer where you live.

Further information about your local maternity services and links where you can find more support:

You will have been introduced to a Health Visitor during pregnancy. Health Visitors will work with you during the first years of your child's life. They help you adjust to being new parents and provide information and reassurance to support your baby or young child's health, wellbeing and development.

To contact the Health Visiting team, call 03000 295050 or text 07520 649887 to speak to them.

Learning how to feed your baby safely and healthily in a way that works for your family is essential, and we want to make sure the right help is available. However you choose to feed your baby, support is available.

  • You can speak to your midwife about feeding options and how to access information and support both during pregnancy and in the early days after your baby is born.
  • You can get advice and support from the Health Visiting Service on 03000 295050.
  • Or you can call the national breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Further information:

Children develop in many ways and at different speeds. We can help you to understand your child’s development, how your family can support and encourage your child as they grow, and know when to seek support. Child development and growing up (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme)

Your local Child and Family Centre provides a fun, friendly, safe space where families can learn and develop in a supportive environment.

If you are looking for free or low-cost ideas of things to do locally with your children, then download our 50 Things To Do Before You're 5 app. Talk to your local nursery, preschool or childminder, or ask at your Child and Family Centre if you need help downloading the app.

If you are looking to return to work or training, finding high quality early years and childcare providers you trust is essential.  This can take time to set up and be a significant expense for a young family.  The Families Information Service can help you to find providers in your area and advise you on the support available, including tax free childcare and other government funding linked to early years and childcare places.

Are you feeling low, or do you need help managing your worries? We can support you in your parenting journey to help you feel mentally and emotionally well, so you can build a strong relationship with your baby. We are here to help.

You can visit keep-your-head or How Are You for information on looking after your mental health and local services available. Or you can call the Health Visiting Service on 03000 295050.

The Perinatal Mental Health Team provide services for pregnant and post-natal women with complex or severe mental health issues. You can be referred by your GP, midwife, health visitor or other healthcare professionals.

We want to help you to keep your child healthy and know where to go for help when needed. You will find in this section helpful links to information about childhood illnesses. 

As a parent, you may not like seeing your baby or child having an injection, but vaccinations will help protect them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases. Your GP can book any vaccinations.

Sometimes babies are born too early or too small. They could be born with health conditions or require further monitoring. In these cases, your baby may need treatment in a neonatal unit. Other babies may be born with or develop additional health needs or disabilities. Help is available from several local services:

Find out about neonatal services (NHS).

Babies born premature or sick (Bliss).

Early support in Peterborough is a pathway for children in their pre-school years with complex health, education or care needs.

Peterborough SEND Information Hub (Local Offer).

We will work with you and your family to help you to keep safe.

For information on how to give your baby the safest sleep possible and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (commonly known as cot death), visit the Lullaby Trust.

It can be difficult to deal with babies crying. For support to soothe and cope with crying babies, please visit My baby is crying (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme).

If you are concerned about a child or young person you can make a safeguarding referral
- Making a referral (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Partnership Board).