27 Sep The Baby Clinic
The baby clinic should be a friendly, non-threatening environment for parents to receive advice and reassurance – a meeting place, support system and an information centre.
Guidance and advice offered should be based on current information relating to all aspects of child and maternal health. Feedback from conferences and workshops attended by staff should be evident and the clinic notice board filled with interesting information and research articles.
Types of baby clinics
There are two types of baby clinics available – municipal clinics and private well baby clinics. The municipal clinics are free to attend but they have no appointment system, rather a first come first serve basis. It is often not a dedicated well baby clinic either, but a primary health care clinic. This means that there are sick people at the clinic being seen at the same time as well babies being seen for their routine checks. These clinics and their immunisations and services are free. At a private well baby clinic only well babies are seen, so the environment is a much healthier one to take your baby into. Many of the clinics run on an appointment basis so there are not long waits. Many of them accommodate the working mom and run clinics after hours. These clinics charge a consultation fee as well as charging and having available extra private immunisations which are very important for your baby.
To be accurate, babies should be weighed with nothing on. It is much more accurate to do it this way. Scales vary from the modern electronic scale to the sliding weight scale. You should always receive feedback from the sister regarding your baby’s growth and weight. This should be plotted on the graph of head and length measurements. These are usually checked 3 monthly.
- Breastfeeding. Regular weighing provides important feedback when you are breastfeeding. If you are experiencing any problems, it is advisable to feed your baby at the clinic so that the sister can provide hands on assistance. A simple change in feeding position and correct latching can make all the difference. If you experience mastitis, sore nipples, engorgement, rapid milk flow, difficulty winding etc, these areas can be dealt with at the baby clinic.
- Bottlefeeding. Guidance is available as to the correct formula, amounts to feed, preparation of bottles, sterilisation etc during your individual consultation
- Solid Food. You will be helped with when to introduce solids, which starter foods are suitable and how to cook and prepare your baby’s food.
It is important to understand that when you phone your clinic sister for advice when you are concerned about your sick baby and she asks you to come in for a consultation – she is not being difficult, but rather being thorough as it is dangerous to diagnose over the phone. It is much safer for your baby to be seen by the clinic sister and assessed properly. It might be more convenient for you as the mother to telephone for advice rather than to get in the car and drive to the clinic but it is better to be safe than sorry and get your baby properly diagnosed and treated.
There is no need to feel bewildered and alone with your baby as the clinic provides expert advice and plenty of support. This enables you to enjoy raising your child to the full.