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.
Sarah MumofThree World says
That’s really good news about the twins 🙂 I can’t believe you’ve had such useless health visitors! They were all very good and helpful when I had my lot.
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Kim Carberry says
That is fantastic news about your girls….I have found my health visitors absolutely useless. Even when I pointed out a problem with my youngests eyes she dismissed it as me worrying. She had problems with it. I pointed out the excessive sweating and the heath visitor said my house was to hot, she had too many clothes and gave me a good telling off. The sweating was the only symptom to her heart defect which could have killed her without surgery. I have little patience for health visitors.
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sebby had his last week and he is not even two yet, but you’re right, the HV’s like to find something wrong. I was sent a questionnaire to fill in before hand and something’s he could do and something’s he cannot yet. Like the twins he doesn’t talk much and she was suggesting speech therapy but as a mum and childminder I know that they all develop at different rates and refused as he is picking up words every few days. Nurseries and childminders also have to do two year checks on the children they look after and when I did Eliza’s my health visitor told me it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on in front of my then NVQ childcare tutor! She went ballistic at her – it was brilliant to see and I think she even wrote an official complaint. Anyway, I digress, glad to hear the twins are doing well and I’m sure the speech will catch up soon xx
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Sara carvosso says
i think a big problem is that the actual health visitors get stuck with all the child protection cases and all the the assistants are people that do not have the same training. We recently had our 2 year check at 30 months with an assistant which went ok only because the lady was a fellow school mum.
My worst experience was when the hv came round when my youngest was 10 days, I knew something was wrong, as a nurse and a mum I knew something was wrong with the way he was breathing. She palmed it off as normal baby breathing. So I didn’t think much more maybe I was being paranoid. We see the midwife the next day who notices something was wrong and sends us to our local hospital where he was kept in for 5 days. Luck of the draw really isn’it.
I am glad that they are doing so well. We had a great Health Visitor over here but then he went and left us as they were short staffed.
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Gosh I can’t believe that the HV would say that about the mercury especially to a vulnerable mum. Ours have always been quite good although my son was premature and I didn’t get enough support with breastfeeding as I would have liked. I was also told that Oliver was delayed in certain areas at his 2 year check but haven’t heard anything since. I’m glad your girls nursery out your mind to rest.
Popping over from #PoCoLo
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Michelle (@AFamilyChatter) says
That’s great your twins are doing so well! I haven’t really had much dealings with HV’s even though my little boy is 3 and little girl has recently turned 1. I mainly weighed them myself and I managed to totally avoid Harrys 2 year check. His communication has always been a little behind, but his nursery have alway kept good tabs on his development since he was 10 months old. 🙂 x
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Helen Actually Mummy says
Ah that’s great news. And I hear you on health visitors. I’m sure some are great, but mostly I found them to be extremely frustrating
Alice Megan says
It really shouldn’t be a lottery whether you get a good health visitor or not! Quite sad really. I’m glad you’ve had a great experience with your nursery though 🙂
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Silly Mummy says
Sounds like the nursery have assessed them in a far more sensible way. I actually also intend to post (I will eventually finish it!) about the 2 yr check, which my eldest recently had. Fortunately, she performed well so I didn’t have to get into any disputes, but I still thought the way they assess & the criteria is ridiculous. It is also focused on highlighting problems but not on recognising areas where kids are performing above average. So it is just designed to make parents worry about kids who are actually fine. It makes sense to try to catch serious problems early, of course, but that could be done in a more sensible way. The current system, I think, exaggerates ‘problems’ and tells parents that children are ‘behind’, when really they are perfectly normal & will be in line with their peers by school age any way. It’s encouraging competitive comparing and testing of children who are far too young to be subjected to such things.
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This is brilliant xx I’m so pleased
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