Baby and toddler health

The first few years of your child's life are vital and the decisions that you make now will have long lasting effects on their health and wellbeing.

There's lots of services on offer to help you give your little one the best possible start in life.

Newborn screening

When a baby is born there are a range of routine health checks and tests that will take place in the first six weeks. These include:

  • a physical examination
  • a hearing test
  • a blood test (taken from the baby's heel).

Find out more about the checks on the NHS newborn screening (opens in a new window) page.


When you choose to breastfeed, you make an investment in your baby's future. Breastfeeding also protects you and your baby's health.

We support a variety of initiatives to help you get the advice and support that you need.

The Breastfeeding Peer Support Service offers support and advice to mothers to help establish a breast feeding routine. This involves visits to mothers during pregnancy and after birth until breastfeeding is established.

To find out more about the peer support service, or for more local help and support, visit Breastfeeding Family Online (opens in a new window).

Our children's service and health visitors have achieved UNICEF Level 3 Baby Friendly Accreditation. This involves implementing Baby Friendly standards, and requires being externally assessed by UNICEF which involves interviewing mothers about the care they have received and reviewing policies, guidance and internal audits.

We also run a programme that enables businesses to sign up to be breastfeeding friendly. Find out more about the awards on our breastfeeding welcome here award page.

Healthy child programme

We make sure services are available to offer every family a programme of screening tests, developmental reviews, information and support for parenting and help making healthy choices.

This is part of the nationwide Healthy Child Programme (opens in a new window). Health visitors lead on delivering this in partnership along with other services.

Health visitors

Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives who have completed specialist training in public health for children, young people and families.

Health visitors, along with school nurses, are responsible for helping to improve the health of parents, children and young people.

They lead on the Healthy Child Programme (opens in a new window), a government programme developed to improve the health and well-being of children under the age of five.

Find out more about the work that Derbyshire health visitors (opens in a new window) do, or visit the Derbyshire Health Visiting Service Facebook page (opens in a new window).

Childhood vaccinations

These are the vaccinations that are routinely offered free to all children in the UK. These are given by your GP and include polio, diphtheria, rotavirus and the MMR jab.

Children who are at increased risk of certain diseases may also be offered additional vaccinations.

Parents with worries or queries about any aspect of their child's immunisations should discuss them with their doctor, health visitor or practice nurse.

You can see the full list of childhood immunisations and when they are given at NHS Choices website (opens in a new window).

Read more about the importance of childhood vaccinations at the website (opens in a new window).

First 1001 days

A baby's brain development is shaped by its earliest experiences and these can have a lifelong impact on that child's mental and emotional health. That's why the time between conception and two years of age is vital to a child's health and wellbeing. This is classed as the 1001 critical days.

If a baby's development falls behind the norm during this time it's more likely to fall even further behind in subsequent years.

Every child deserves a chance to lead a healthy and fulfilling life and, with the right kind of help, there is every opportunity for all children to achieve their full potential.

You can find out more information in the related documents section of this page.

Parenting support

Parenting can be tough and there are a number of reasons why you might extra help sometimes.

Getting the right information and advice at the right time can really help. Find out what support we can offer on our family support pages.

You can also find local help and support on a range of issues at your nearest children's centre.Our centres provide advice on things like early education, childcare, health services and information on a wide variety of other services.

Related documents

The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)