Where I live, the health visitors are a combination of ill-informed, useless and non-existant. That’s not to say they all are, but I’m pretty convinced that the ones that work around here were put here purely to scaremonger vulnerable mums with their nonsense gossip and then disappear off the face of the earth when you actually need them to do something.
For example, when my twins were newborns, I took them to be weighed by a health visitor. When I got there, the health visitor told me that I was “giving my children mercury poisoning, by using Johnsons Baby Powder on their bottoms”. I kid you not. That is the kind of utter twaddle they come out with these days. Having been in a vulnerable position, where I was suffering from birth trauma, whilst trying to tandem breastfeed twins, I actually listened to them. I went home and I wrote to Johnsons and then I found my brains in a cup of tea and thought about it.
OF COURSE Johnson’s baby products do NOT contain mercury or give babies mercury poisoning. And sure enough Johnson’s wrote back confirming in an official statement, that the rumours were absolutely false. I was so angered by these two women, from a respected profession, who were scaremongering women with these stupid stories, that I vowed never to see a health visitor again. This was only one of the many ridiculous things I’d previously had health visitors say to me and at the time I heard from many many MANY mum’s on Twitter and mums who read my blog, who all had health visitor horror stories.
From then on, I weighed my babies myself, using kitchen scales and charted their growth and watched them flourish with a huge sense of maternal pride. The health visitors knew nothing about breastfeeding twins anyway, so I didn’t need them for advice there either – I got all my breastfeeding support from YouTube! The power of the internet is blooming amazing sometimes! Unfortunately, I later found out that the twins two year development check had to be carried out by a health visitor.
Once the twins reached two years and four months old, I contacted the health visitor, because I still hadn’t been sent an appointment. I then chased them for weeks and weeks until I eventually got given an appointment. However when I got halfway through the appointment and the “health visitor” realised my twins were premature and low birth weight, she exclaimed, “Oh I’m not qualified to do their two year development check if they were premature, as I’m not trained in assessing developmental delay. You will need a health visitor”…
Umm… excuse me… what on earth are you? I was led to believe this lady WAS a health visitor!
And that was that… I then phoned to chase for a REAL health visitor for MONTHS. Nothing ever came of it. No appointment emerged for my twins, who I knew had a developmental delay of approximately 3-4 months.
Recently, however, my twins started nursery. Their nursery very kindly offered to do the two year development check for me… I should point out my twins are now 3 years old. I took them up on their offer, because:
a) I really do not want to spend another year chasing health visitors
b) Nursery staff, who spend ten hours a week with my children are going to be able to do a much more accurate report on my twins development, than any health visitor could in a half hour appointment!
A week later, the reports were done and we were quite frankly, thrilled with the results.
Our twin girls are not as far behind as we had worried they were, in fact, in most areas, they are on target for their current age. They are both still a little bit delayed in some areas, namely socialisation with other children (apparently a common problem with twins) and with their speech. But these delays are not to a worrying degree and nursery have witnessed first-hand a massive improvement in their speech development in the few short months they have been attending.
After a lady I used to know (see my “dear bully” post) told me at just two years old, that my twins needed speech therapy, I was starting to think that at three years old, they might. Nursery, however, remain optimistic, that they will get there in their own time, with encouragement, without needing professional help. If in six months time, the nursery change their mind and think we do need speech therapy, then of course we will happily do that, but I trust the staff at the nursery and their judgement. All the comments on their two year development check form seem fair and accurate to our girls. I also know that my clever little girls, despite their traumatic death-defying entrance into the world, have reached all their milestones so far… so what if they reached them a few months after the NHS milestones, they got there and I’m so very proud of them.