Are mothers in the UK being abandoned by the NHS?
C is 7 months old today and I haven’t seen any medical person with her (apart from to get her jabs done by a nurse) since she was 8 weeks old. Whereas by 7 months old L had seen the paediatrician in France 8 times for routine check-ups. I have had no phone calls, letters or enquiries from anyone in the NHS as to how C is doing.
Fortunately C is in perfect health, she feeds well, sleeps well and is generally a very happy and contented baby. I weighed her at a friend’s house today (she has proper baby scales) and C is slap bang in the middle between the 25th and 50th centile, so I’d say there’s nothing to worry about there. As for me, I’m doing really well too, and I’m definitely in a much better place now than I was when L was the same age.
I’m very lucky in that I have a great support network in Hubs, family and friends. I also did the NCT refresher course and met a great bunch of mums who I still meet up with weekly, on top of that in our street alone there are at least 6 babies aged 3-7 months, so I’m far from alone.
However I do wonder what happens to the mothers whose babies are not thriving, who are not sleeping, or where the mothers are suffering through lack of sleep, lack of support or various forms of depression. Do they pass through the net or does the NHS somehow pick up on them? I chatted to my baby mum friends about this and none of them have been contacted by doctors, health visitors or anyone “medical”, and most of them have not seen a health visitor or doctor since their babies were around 8 weeks old. They are all second mums, and their babies, and they themselves, are doing well. But how does the NHS know who is doing well and who is struggling?
When I think back to L’s first year in France it couldn’t be more different, she had a paediatrician who we had a check-up with every month. She would be weighed and measured each month and this information would be entered into her “Carnet de Santé” (equivalent of our red book), she got her jabs there, the arrival of teeth were noted at these appointments as was her food intake, from the early months of just milk, through to what foods she’d been introduced to each month (although I did have to lie about doing baby led weaning!). Whilst that is possibly overkill it did at least give the French health service an overview of mothers and their babies and possibly a heads up if things were going badly.
Whilst I’m on the subject I don’t find the red book overly helpful and I often refer to L’s Carnet de Santé as it is far more complete. In fact I based a lot of my weaning (introduction of solids) for C on the information in L’s Carnet de Santé as I couldn’t find much useful information on it over here.
What do you think? Did you find you got enough support from the NHS? Is the French system too much?
Personally I’m happy with the system in the UK as I have very few questions about C as she’s so easy, and with her being my second I feel a lot more laid back too. But I know that my French family and friends are utterly shocked to hear that no one has examined C since she had a quick check over at 8 weeks old. Oh well, I doubt it’s the last time one of our family’s culture gets shocked by the other cohabiting culture!