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Your baby's first years

Once your baby's born, their rapid development will continue to amaze and surprise you each and every day.

Nutrition and physical activity

Weaning starts at about six months. Babies should not be given sugary or salty foods; honey should not be given before the age of 1 year.

Oral health

Babies should be registered with the dentist as soon as first teeth appear and regular visits should be encouraged. It is important to start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they appear.

Healthy Start vouchers

Healthy Start is a government offer where you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. See Apply for Healthy Start.

Safety (unintentional injury)

Suffocation, choking and falls in and around the home are a leading cause of preventable death in the under fives.

Ready to learn - speech and language development

Babies' speaking and listening skills are blossoming long before they utter their first word.  From the moment babies are born, they are ready and wanting to communicate. Humans are pre-wired to be interested in faces and voices. Babies recognise their mother's voice from the womb and will even recognise her face by the end of their first day.

New born babies can copy the facial expressions of another person, like poking their tongue out or opening their mouth. This turn-taking is where conversations begin. Encouraging early communication is the most important thing parents can do to give their child's language the best possible beginning. You don't need to be an expert to help your child develop good communication skills. All you need is a listening ear and the willingness to chat to your child whenever you can. When you talk, listen and respond to them you are helping them develop.

The 2 to 2.5 year review provides an opportunity to discuss and promote the child's health and development at home, in clinic or childcare setting. If your child does not develop as expected they could be offered more support

Free childcare

Some two year olds in England are entitled to free, part-time early learning, care and development. All three and four year olds in England are entitled to free, part-time early learning, care and development.

Contact us
Public Health
03000 264 109
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Adult and Health Services
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ