Health visitor

The idea of the health visitor is that he or she keeps an eye on the development of your baby and provides an easy to access, local first port of call for your questions and concerns.

That is the idea, I believe. But after two years of tightly planned expeditions to their baby clinic in a nearby school, now with two children, I think it is time to face up to the truth. First of all, they are not health visitors at all. If anything, they are Health Visitees. They have come to see me at home twice: once for each child in the first two weeks of its life. Now I visit them. So let’s give up the pretense that this is a service that conveniently comes to your house.

Secondly, the ones I see seem incapable of doing anything other than weigh the baby and put a dot on a line in the growth chart. If I ask them anything else, the most usual response is: “Hmmm yes, I see. Well, if you’re worried you should go and see your GP.” I could phone a friend and get the same advice.

On Thursday I got a Health Visitor who couldn’t even put the dot on the line. I may just stay at home from now on and weigh my baby on the bathroom scales. It is really quite simple. You weigh yourself, then you step on the scales with your baby in your arms, subtract your own weight from the number you see. Then open the red book and put the dot on the line. Hey presto, you are a health visitor!

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