0 - 6 months
Feeding your baby
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organisation for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. This means you do not need to give your baby any food or drink other than breastmilk during this time.
Breastfeeding has lots of benefits, building a strong emotional bond between mother and baby, protecting babies against infections and diseases, and providing health benefits for mothers.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed your baby, it’s important to respond to your baby’s cues as well as your own desire to feed your baby. There are services and support available locally, including infant feeding cafés and breastfeeding support groups. Your local children’s centre will have more information.
You can also check which public venues in Havering, including coffee shops, libraries and leisure centres, have signed up to our ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ scheme.
At 6 months it is advised that you start introducing your baby to solid foods. Before this, your baby's digestive system is still developing, and weaning too early can increase the risk of infections and allergies.
- Start4Life provides useful information about starting solids.
- First Steps Nutrition provides a comprehensive guide to eating well in the first 7 months of life.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, it is advised that you also give your baby daily vitamin D drops. Get the latest up to date advice.
The Healthy Start scheme offers free vitamins to eligible families. For more information and to find out if you are eligible, visit the Healthy Start website.
Healthy Start Scheme
Immunisations and screening tests
Within 72 hours of birth, you will be offered a newborn physical examination for your baby. This includes babies who are born at home.
At 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks your baby will be offered free vaccinations to protect against illnesses.
Your health visitor will carry out a new baby review within 10-14 days of birth and talk to you about feeding your baby, becoming a parent and how you can help your baby to grow up healthily.
Your GP will carry out a full health review when your baby is 6-8 weeks old. This is a good opportunity to talk about any concerns you have and ask for any information you need.
The NHS Birth to Five development timeline outlines the milestones in your child’s development.
Action for Children has produced a useful guide explaining ‘What to expect, when?’ in relation to your baby’s learning and development.
Even at this young age, babies can be active! The Start4Life website explains how, even before your baby begins to crawl, you can encourage physical activity through reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing and moving their head, body and limbs.
From 3 months you can encourage tummy time by laying your baby on his/her tummy, little and often to start with, to help with development of the muscles needed for sitting and crawling.
Havering’s Children’s Centres offer a variety of services and support to parents and children including infant feeding support, parenting courses and play sessions. These can be good opportunities to socialise with other parents, expand your knowledge and receive advice and support.