These are known as child health clinics, child welfare centres, and well baby clinics. They are run by the local health authority, or may be part of the local health centre, run by the general practitioner. They may be held in modern, purpose-built accommodation attached to a hospital or health centre, or they may be held in a church hall or any available room. The health visitor will tell the new parents about their local baby clinic and the facilities it offers. It is sensible for all new parents to attend, especially with a first baby, as they will receive expert guidance. These are the services that are usually provided:
• Development is checked at regular intervals, and records of the development are kept.
• Advice is available on general matters, such as feeding, sleep and minor health problems.
• The baby will be weighed at each visit and a record of her weight kept.
• Any problems to do with the child’s health will be referred to a specialist where necessary.
• The mother may obtain contraceptive advice or discuss family problems.
• An immunisation programme against infectious diseases will be offered.
• Milk powder, cod-liver oil, vitamin drops, perhaps Marmite, etc., will be on sale at cheaper prices than in the shops.
• Social facilities such as mother and baby groups, drop in clubs and crèches
are advertised, and there are opportunities to get to know other mothers.
• Information is available about local activities and groups especially for mothers with young children, such as playgroups, the Church Young Wives’ Group, La Leche League, etc.
• Very often there is a notice-board that advertises second-hand baby equipment and clothing, and the services of baby sitters and baby minders.
Parents may take their children to the baby clinic as often as they wish, without an appointment. They will receive a card on which will be recorded the baby’s weight, details of immunisations and general progress. The clinic nurse or health visitor may be telephoned outside clinic hours, if advice is needed.