Southampton start for life offer

Start for Life is your guide to the support available to families from conception of your child up to the age of two.

A woman with a child and baby, sitting on a sofa


  1. Prior to your conception, family planning advice is available via Family Assist, which provides help and tips on items such as folic acid and healthy vitamins
  2. As soon as everyone knows you are going to be joining the world, you will then be referred to maternity services. Self-refer to maternity services

A man with a child sitting on his shoulders. A woman is sitting on a sofa behind the man. The child and woman are smiling at each other


  1. When you are 10-12 weeks into your development, someone from Maternity Services will be in touch with your birth parents to arrange a ‘booking appointment’. This helps us understand more about your family
  2. You and your family will be regularly invited to see your midwife throughout the pregnancy to check you are developing well and are healthy. They will also ensure your birth mother is healthy and getting the right support
  3. Before you arrive, your family will be invited to antenatal and general parenting sessions so they can plan and learn essential information about your arrival. This might include things like how to best feed you. We know becoming a parent can feel overwhelming so we will provide help and support
  4. Maternity services will talk about the things your family is entitled to, this may include healthy start vouchers, vitamins, and a maternity certificate if required
  5. Your family will be told about all the help available via the My Maternity app. This includes lots of local support you and your family can access
  6. When the times comes closer to join your family, Maternity Services will help them plan how you will arrive
  7. When you are ready to arrive, you and your family will be supported by health services who will help you to arrive safely

A man and a woman sitting on a sofa, looking at each other and holding hands. A man writing on a clipboard is in the foreground.


  1. When you arrive, everyone involved in your care will be experiencing different feelings. While it is exciting, people may feel different. We will be there to support you and your family – you are not alone
  2. Your family will have choices to make about how you are fed, they may need extra help with this which will be available from your Maternity Services and at breastfeeding groups across the city
  3. Now it is time to register your birth, we will ensure your family know how to do this
  4. Now you have arrived, your care is handed over from Maternity Services to the Health Visiting Service. This will normally take place when you are between 10 and 14 days old
  5. Your family are now adjusting to parenthood. They will be told about Family Hubs and the help they can offer you and your family. Remember Family Hubs can be used to ask advice for many things. If in doubt ask them, they can also point you in the right direction for other help if that is the best thing for you. Family Hubs also offer Bumps and Babies sessions for pregnant families, carers and babies who are not crawling. Find out more about Bumps and Babies.

A man and woman embracing on the floor in front of a sofa. The woman is taking notes


  1. Remember, health visitors are now on-hand to support your family with your care until you are ready to go to school. Lots of other help is still available in addition to health visitors
  2. We will make sure your family have access to lots of information about things that will help ensure you get a good start in life
  3. If you have not already visited, when you are four months old your Family Hub will invite you to come and talk about how you are developing and to give you information about some upcoming key milestones. You will be invited to the Family Hub for a fun and exciting event
  4. The Health Visiting Service remains on-hand for your care, but Family Hubs are always there for you too. Your family may be considering going back to work, so will need to consider who will be looking after you
  5. Around your first birthday, the Health Visiting Team will hold a review with you. We will also offer your family the opportunity to join our reducing parental conflict/parenting courses course as we know adapting to life as a parent and carer can be both fun and challenging
  6. We are excited to see you growing up and developing, because of this we will invite you and your parents to some ‘stay and play’ sessions when you are approximately 18 months old. Trained staff will be at these sessions if you need any extra help
  7. Around your second birthday, the Health Visiting Team will hold a review with you. This is another chance for us to see how you are growing up and developing. At this stage you may be entitled to free two-year childcare support. We will explain more about these to your family, all families are different, and carers all need time for themselves

Family Support information

Information about healthy start vouchers, tax free childcare, benefits advice, sleep, breastfeeding support, responsive feeding, introduction of solid foods, teeth cleaning, and potty training, could come from Health Visiting Services or Family Hubs but is also available online on the Family Assist website and Family Hub website.