Skip to content

Your new baby


Last Updated


Having a new baby can be equally exhausting and amazing. It can also provide parents with a range of considerations they had not thought of when they were expecting their baby.  It is very important to us that we are able to support families during this time in their lives in a meaningful way, even more so given the challenges at this time.

Registering your child’s birth

The current situation for registering your baby is changeable due to Covid-19. For further clarification on registering your baby please check the Devon registration service website or you can contact them on or 0345 155 1002

Caring for your baby

In the early days parents often worry about the basic care of their baby such as changing a nappy, bathing their baby.

The NHS website has some really useful videos on subjects such as this that will guide you all the way all with great videos at the bottom of the web pages Caring for a newborn baby – NHS

If your baby is unwell

Advice for parents/carers of babies less than three months old during coronavirus

It can be confusing to know what to do when your baby is unwell during the coronavirus pandemic. Remember that the NHS is still providing safe care.

GP practices and hospitals have made changes to help reduce the risk of infection. Only one parent/carer will be able to attend A&E with their child. Please use the hand sanitisers provided, wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.

Remember: if your baby is unwell, seek advice and medical attention.

Many parents in Devon have downloaded and use the Handi App to guide them when their child is ill. We recommend it to all parents – find it on the App store or Google Play.

Find out more about the Handi App in this video

Building close and loving relationships from birth

Supporting relationships with your baby

Some ideas to consider before your baby arrives

  • How do you feel about holding your baby so that their skin is right next to yours with no clothing between?
  • How does Dad feel about holding your baby so that their skin is right next to yours with no clothing between?
  • Have you thought about how to manage visitors in the early days?
  • Have you discussed your upbringings – what was good? What was bad? Was your and your partner’s upbringing similar or different? How do you want to bring your baby up – what are the absolute ‘I wills’, the ‘I mights’ and the ‘we are not doing thats’?

Supporting relationships with your partner

Changing relationships

There’s no doubt that babies have a big impact on relationships. Talking about some key points before baby arrives can be really useful.

  • Have you considered how you both respond when you are tired?
  • Have you considered how you respond when you are stressed?
  • Have you spoken about sex once you have recovered postnatally?
  • Have you talked about how you might remain connected after your baby arrives?

Connecting with your baby through play

Watch this video for tips on using play to help your baby develop and learn

Safe sleeping

Key reminders

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in their crib in your bedroom
  • You should always place your baby on their back to sleep and not on their front or side
  • Sleeping your baby on their back every night is one of the most protective actions you can take to ensure your baby is sleeping as safely as possible

There is substantial evidence from around the world to show that sleeping your baby on their back at the beginning of every sleep or nap (day and night) significantly reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

This video from the Lullaby Trust also shows how you can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) giving you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time.




Some parents find the challenge of tiredness huge and for some falling asleep with their baby is a real possibility. The Lullaby trust also provides key information which covers the topic of co sleeping and if there is a possibility this might happen (through choice or by chance) how to undertake this as safely as possible.

Co-sleeping Key messages

Do not co-sleep with your baby if:

  • You or your partner smoke (even if not in bedroom)
  • You or your partner have had alcohol or are on any medication
  • You are extremely tired
  • Your baby was born prematurely (37 weeks or below)
  • Your baby was born weighing less than 2.5kg or 5 1/2lbs

There is an increased risk if you are on a sofa or armchair, as this increases the risk of SIDS by 50 times.

Co-sleeping guidance

Babies should sleep in a clear sleep space, which is easy to create in a cot or Moses basket.

When choosing to co-sleep

  • Keep pillows, sheets, blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat
  • Follow all of the Lullaby Trust safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping baby on their back
  • Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
  • Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall

This video from the Lullaby Trust gives advice on how to make co-sleeping safer

Responding to your baby's crying

Having a baby provides us with a huge learning curve in the understanding of what our baby is telling us. In understanding that how we respond to them might impact on their brain development, both now and in the future, we learn about responsive parenting. Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative provides us with research-based information that considers how to build close and loving relationships with your baby in a responsive manner. Babies have a strong need to be close to their parents, as this helps them to feel secure and loved. As parents often we have a strong need to be near our baby also.

Here we share some myths that are commonly repeated in our society

Myth Truth
Babies become spoilt and demanding if they are given too much attention When babies’ needs for love and comfort are met, they will be calmer and grow up to be more confident
It’s important to get babies into a routine as this makes your life easier Young babies are not capable of learning a routine. Responding to their cues for feeding and comfort makes babies feel secure, so they cry less, which makes your life easier too
You should leave babies to settle alone so that they learn to be independent When babies are routinely left alone they think they have been abandoned, and so become more clingy and insecure when their parents return

What to do if my baby is crying and I am unsure what to do?

Babies do sometimes cry. Here is a quick checklist to help you in those early days.

  • Is your baby needing comfort, feeling lonely, or wanting to be close to you?
  • Is your baby over stimulated and need a little quiet time with Mum or Dad?
  • Is your baby hungry or thirsty for breastmilk or first formula milk?
  • Is your baby uncomfortable with wind or need a nappy change?
  • Is your baby too hot or too cold?
  • Do you think your baby is unwell?

Coping with crying

Babies cry for a variety of reasons. Many parents worry that they might not understand what their baby wants. Parents sometimes describe a crying baby as being completely and utterly overwhelming.

Soothing your baby

There are many things you can do to sooth your baby.

  • Hold your baby in skin to skin contact. The feel of you close by and the sound of your heart beating impacts on their hormones and may calm them. This goes for you Dads as well
  • Breastfed babies often feed for comfort as well as nutrition. They obtain hormones within the milk that calms them – breastfeeding is always an option for calming your baby if unsettled
  • If you are formula feeding your baby is your baby hungry? Remember babies grow at different rates at different times and are all unique – rely on their feeding cues rather than the instructions on the formula tin for frequency of feed and amounts (always follow the preparation guidance)
  • Talk, sing or hum to your baby – baby’s love the sound of their parent’s voice, as it is familiar from even before they were born
  • Go for a walk with your baby – a change of scene can sometimes make a difference and fresh air is great for everyone
  • Do you need to remove/add some clothing?
  • Change their nappy

Sometimes it takes a combination of these to sooth your baby and sometimes only one.

If the crying won't stop

The crying won’t stop, what can I do now?

It’s recognised that not every baby is easy to calm, and for some parents it can feel as if they are doing something wrong. Some parents feel overwhelmed with their baby crying.

The ICON website gives you lots of ideas about how to cope with crying.

If you are a parent with a young baby that won’t stop crying please watch this video. It is from the perspective of the dad and shows how to use the ICON resources.

If you are struggling with cyring and feel overwhelmed:

  • Stop
  • Don’t get angry with your baby or yourself
  • Place your baby in a safe place nearby where they can still hear you and take a couple of minutes to calm yourself down
  • Once calm return to your baby and go through the above steps again, rocking your baby and re-engaging
  • Remember this phase won’t last for ever and your baby needs you – you are their world
  • Never Ever Shake your baby!
  • Do not leave your baby to cry for long periods on their own, without you nearby and responding to them by voice, as this increases the stress hormone cortisol to the brain
  • Call a relative or friend – to give you support through this time
  • Call the Public Health Nursing service – we can support you with strategies to manage this.

Feeding support

There are lots of options to support parents with feeding their baby in the early days. There are national helplines that are staffed by voluntary mother to mother peer supporters or breastfeeding counsellors.

National Infant Feeding helplines

ABM Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 330 5453   9.30am – 10.30pm

La Leche League helpline: 0345 120 2918   8am – 11.00pm

National Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0212  9.30am – 9.30pm

National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Infant feeding line: 0300 330 0700  8am – midnight

Local support available

There are also Devon peer support groups all over our county.

And if you still need support please do ring one of our public health nursing hubs as we have a specialist service supporting infant feeding that might be able to support.

Further information and support

Contacting your Health Visitor

  • email your local Public Health Nursing Hub where a Health Visitor will respond to your query
  • Text us for health-based advice via our Chat health number; 07520 631721 and receive a response back via text. (This number cannot be used to book or rearrange appointment time)s.
  • phone your local Public Health Nursing Hub to discuss any queries with a Health Visitor.

Virtual Family Focus sessions

Devon Public Health Nursing are offering digital group sessions for parents to attend, covering a range of experiences that parents might face during the early days. These friendly virtual parent sessions are undertaken via Microsoft Teams and facilitated usually by one of our Community Health Workers.  We call this Virtual Family Focus.

To book your place email your Public Health Nursing hub stating your name, your child’s name, your email address, and your telephone number and which session/s you would like to attend. We will then send you an invite link.

Children’s Centres

Children’s centres offer families targeted support for a variety of situations. Children’s centres in Devon provide Early Help services to the whole family, from pregnancy through to age 19, when families most need support using the ‘team around the family’ approach.

Action for Children run the Children’s Centres in the Devon County Council area

There’s also a fantastic online option where you can talk to a family practitioner about a range of questions that you may have.

Solihull Approach Parenting Course

You can also access a online course that supports you in understanding your baby at a variety of different points in their life

Solihull approach parenting courses graphic

What will I need to complete the online course?

All you need to get started is your access code, an up-to-date internet browser on a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone (the local libraries or your school may be able to provide access to this), and an email address. Go to the website and apply the code Tamar when prompted. You will be asked for your email address and a password of your choice. This is so that you can return to the site, sign in and your account will remember that you have access to the course(s) and will resume from where you last left the course.

Other sources of information and advice that you may find useful

A signpost with 2 signs on against a blue sky

Give us feedback

If you would like to provide us with any feedback on any part of our service at this time, we would be delighted to receive it.

Please use the QR code or follow the link to complete our simple feedback form.

QR code