Daniel’s just had his 2 year check with the health visitors. I wanted to go as we’d missed the boat with his one year check – by the time I’d got around to booking it, they had no appointments left until he was past 13 months and then apparently it was too late. When I got the letter for it, a month or so before his second birthday, I rang up straight away to book it. It was still hard to get an appointment, but we fixed one for a couple of weeks past his birthday. I had to leave a message, and I missed a couple of calls back before we finally caught up with each other!
When I dug out his red book, I realised I hadn’t seen a health visitor or had him weighed and measured since he was 7 months old – oops! Not really a problem, he’s my third child so I kind of know what I’m doing (yeah, right), or at least I have the confidence that he’s growing, eating and is healthy.
Before you go to the 2 year check
Before your appointment you get a form to fill in with your child’s basic details, and then there’s a questionnaire about skills they are doing. You have to say whether they’re doing it – a yes; sometimes or not at all. It’s split into language, mobility, understanding and fine motor skills. It’s all tick box. There’s also space to write any concerns you have. Fill it in and take it with you to your appointment along with your red book.
At the 2 year review
The health visitor or nursery nurse will have a room and there’ll be toys your child can play with. They’re looking for the child to provide examples of what you’ve filled in on the form – can they build a tower with blocks; can they thread beads on a string, can they fetch a book when asked etc. She asked me how he was sleeping – I said it’s hit and miss and described our current situation. He sometimes sleeps through, sometimes wakes and comes in bed, most of the time I feed or lie with him. The reason being is that he can get out of his bed and open his door and short of locking him in or putting a stair gate at his door there’s not a lot I can do. I feel if I put a gate there he’d work out how to climb over it pretty quick. She was very nice and said she’d send me some info but if I didn’t have a problem then there isn’t one. She made no comment about me breastfeeding still. She said he should be having a pint of milk a day, I said he gets it in cereal, yoghurt, cheese and boob milk. He does have a milk drink sometimes, but he’d rather have squash or water.
She also asked about me, which I wasn’t prepared for, but I’m so glad it’s included. She was checking how I felt, and I was able to tell her about how I’ve suffered with depression and continue to benefit from anti-depressants. She said she would get one of the health visitors to call me, although at the moment I feel well, but I’m happy to be contacted and I welcome any support.
Daniel was a bit shy at first but he played with the toys when I encouraged him. He was quiet, but I’m confident about his speech, he certainly never shuts up at home! She mentioned multivitamin supplements, something I’ve never been comfortable giving, I believe as long as he has a good diet and breastmilk (or formula) then he doesn’t need them. She said it’s the vitamin D that they need in particular, and I can ask my pharmacist to make up some vitamin D drops for him, which I will do, especially over winter. I’m deficient too, I really need to get some supplements myself.
Daniel was weighed and measured, he’s done so well since he was born a tiny 5lb 7oz baby after being growth restricted in the womb. He’s gone up 2 centiles to the 75th for his weight and is on the 50th for height. He liked pushing the button on the scales – after they’re one they don’t need to strip off anymore and he was happy to stand on the scales and stand up to be measured.
I had the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns, but I was happy overall. I mainly went to get him weighed and measured, but I was really pleased with how thorough they were. They checked his immunisations were up to date too. They explained that this would be the last developmental check unless I had concerns, and recommended he had an eye test at the opticians around age 4 before starting school, as they no longer perform eye tests in school.
Overall, a positive experience, and one I would recommend you go to, whether or not you have concerns. It will give you the chance to review your child’s development and give you space to talk to a healthcare professional, including about yourself.
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