3-4 Month Health Visitor Contact

The 3-4 Month Health Visitor Contact aims to contribute to an increase in the number of children entering Reception at a healthy weight, achieved by improved parental knowledge about timely and appropriate introduction of solid foods, portion sizes, and increased uptake of support around diet and nutrition. The project will aim to support the continuation of breastfeeding, exclusively until the child is 6 months old and, from then, during the first year and until the mother chooses to stop.

For the first six months of life, babies only need breastmilk (or an appropriate infant formula). At around six months, babies will begin to show that they are ready for solid foods to be introduced into their diet, alongside breast milk (or formula) from which they will continue to get most of the energy they need for growth and development. This is the point when babies will be able to sit up, hold their heads up, hold food and move it to their mouths and swallow. Introducing solid foods before this period of readiness is thought to increase the risk of chronic adverse health effects, such as gut disorders and, respiratory tract infections.

There is no statutory contact with babies and health professionals between 6 weeks and one year of age, therefore guidance for the introduction of complementary foods may come from sources which are accessed with all good intentions, but may not be following current guidance. The 3-4 month contact aims to challenge this obstacle; health visitors will be able to provide parents with the very latest guidance on when to introduce solid foods, which foods to start with and, appropriate portion sizes.

At the six week check, health visitors will arrange with the parents to visit again at 3-4 months – before complementary feeding starts – to provide the advice and guidance parents have told us they seek, and to give them resources to support the visit.  This may also be an opportunity for parents to seek guidance on other aspects of the baby’s growth and development and for a quick check to make sure he/she is continuing on the right path.

If you have  any questions about the 3-4 Month Health Visitor Contact, please get in touch with Barbara Goldberg, ABSS Diet and Nutrition Workstream Lead, on 01702 356050  / 0796 7176616 barbara.goldberg@pre-school.org.uk.