Unless you live with a chronic health condition or have experienced a serious acute illness, you may not be aware of the range of supportive services your medical centre can offer. You may think of your medical centre as simply the place you go to see your GP, but when you have a baby there is a range of supportive services you can access at the medical centre you are registered with. Read on to find out about some of the services on offer that you may find beneficial when you become a parent.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your new baby, you may think you're unlikely to come up against any challenges, as feeding is a natural act. However, there can be several barriers to establishing a consistent feeding routine and relationship with your baby. For example, breastfed babies may not latch well to the nipple, which can cause discomfort for you and prevent your baby from getting sufficient milk. A bottle-fed baby may not like the type of teat on the bottles you have chosen or they may experience digestive discomfort from certain types of formula. Additionally, babies can struggle to feed if they have a tongue-tie, which is a relatively common cause of failure to thrive in newborn babies.
If you're experiencing any type of struggle with feeding your baby, or if you have any concerns about whether your baby is feeding enough, contact the feeding support clinic at your medical centre. This clinic can show you different breastfeeding positions, help you find the right formula for your baby and assess your child for any physical causes of poor feeding. These clinics tend to be run by child and family health nurses, so they are very experienced in helping new parents establish a healthy feeding routine.
It's normal for babies to lose a little weight in the first week or so after they are born. However, they should then begin to consistently gain weight. If you have any concerns about your baby's weight, or if you'd just like the reassurance of knowing they are growing as they should be, consider taking them to the baby weight clinic at your medical centre. These clinics tend to run weekly and will record your baby's weight on a growth chart. If your baby is not growing at what is considered to be a normal rate, your nurse can refer you to appropriate resources.
GP-Led Baby Clinic
Some medical centres offer GP-led baby clinics each week, which can allow you quicker access to a GP should you have any concerns about your baby's health. GPs dedicate their time during these clinics to appointments for babies and are happy to check your baby over regardless of how minor you think the concern is. A baby's immune system is still developing, so don't be afraid to have your baby reviewed even if they seem to only have a cold.
If you're expecting or have recently had a baby, contact your medical centre to find out about the services on offer for new parents.