9-12 Month Health Visitor Review – What Happens

So very recently we had the 9-12 month review with the health visitor for our son. I thought it worthwhile trying to capture what happened for other parents so you’re in the know.

How Times Change

My wife was quite amused to think of the home visits she got while N was very young from the health visitors. They’d come along with their scales and sit with here while she had a cuppa and chat about the baby that was usually just lying there asleep!

None of that now however! It makes perfect sense of course but it’s quite a bit more effort this time to get your review done. Clearly it’s not that hard as we are used to going out with him, it’s just amusing to look back and think how easy we had it!

9-12 Month Review – Purpose

This is basically just a check up to see how your baby is developing in a number of different areas so that, if needed, you can discuss how you can help your babies development in certain areas.

The areas looked at are language, their physical development, their diet and their behaviour.

The other thing though is that it’s a great opportunity for you to have some time with a specialist to talk about your baby and any concerns you have.

9-12 Month Review – The Questionnaire

The first thing you’ll get in advance of the actual review, along with being notified of your appointment time, is a questionnaire.

9-12 Month Review
Don’t worry about it!

Before I go on, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the questionnaire and what you mark as tasks they’re not doing yet. 9-12 months is quite a large range for babies and a lot of development happens in that time, so if you tick ‘no’ then it could happen just a week later. Plus, the health visitor will help come up with ideas on how you can help your baby in this area.

Also, before looking at the subjects covered, I personally would leave completing the questionnaire until a day or so before your appointment. As babies develop so quickly you could tick ‘no’ to something three weeks beforehand but the day before the appointment they start doing it. However, I would look through the questionnaire as it gives you some ideas of things you could be doing with your child, such as having them stand holding onto the sofa and seeing if they can pick something off the floor.

Finally, our questionnaire says “10 Month Questionnaire” all over it. As such, given that it’s a 9-12 month review, you may find you receive a slightly different questionnaire. However, here are the topics covered in the 10 month review.

Questionnaire Section 1 – Communication

This is all about what sounds your baby is making (such as “da”, “ba” and “ga”), whether they repeat them back to you when you say them, following simple instructions and whether your baby says some simple words.

Questionnaire Section 2 – Gross Motor

This is more physical, asking questions such as can they support their own weight while standing, can they sit up straight by themselves, can they stand and hold on to furniture by themselves, that sort of thing.

Questionnaire Section 3 – Fine Motor

This is more on the detailed side, such as being able to use the pincer movement (i.e. being able to pick something up with just their index finger and thumb), picking up food with whole hand, picking up a toy with one hand, amongst other questions.

Questionnaire Section 4 – Problem Solving

Questions such as can your baby pick up toys and pass them from one hand to another, can they bang things together, if you hide something under some cloth does your baby know to find it under there?

Questionnaire Section 5 – Personal – Social

There are questions about feeding and drinking here, plus does your baby put a toy in your hand and let go of it, does your baby push their arm into clothes when getting dressed.

Questionnaire Section 6 – Overall

These are boxes for you to be able to write in rather than tick boxes and is a good chance for you to expand on your responses to some questions. The questions are quite varied including topics such as are your babies feet flat on the floor when they stand, do you have concerns around the sounds your baby makes, any family history of deafness.

9-12 Month Review – The Appointment

9-12 Month Review
Treat it as an opportunity

Firstly the appointment takes about 40 minutes or so usually, depending on how much you and the health visitor want to cover. Also, consider there could (and probably usually are) delays, so you may well be there for quite a while. I was waiting for about 25 minutes before my appointment. Add the 40 minute appointment on to it and I had a tired and grumpy baby on my hands. You have been warned! Take food, water, toys etc with you.

Once called in your health visitor will generally take your questionnaire and mark it off on their checklist to see the areas that you may wish to work on with your baby, such as their language skills. It’s about coming up with things you can do with your baby to help them in their development.

Generally (I was told) a baby will develop either in language or in their motor (physical) skills faster. Once one is developed their body will then start working on the other, which is good to know if you’re marking ‘no’ to a few answers in one area.

My experience though was very positive. The health visitor was really nice and helpful, and was not in any way accusing us of not doing something. It felt like she was genuinely there to help which I think is great so you know how your baby is doing and how you can help them.

9-12 Month Review – Summary

Firstly I would say don’t worry about this appointment. I was a bit wary of it at first as I didn’t know exactly what would be said or how it would go, and I guess you wonder if they will say something is wrong with your baby. Ultimately you know your baby and you know if everything is going ok and whether you need support.

I would suggest taking this review as an opportunity to catch your breath, to see whether your baby is developing ok and if not in certain areas simply take away some advice from a professional.

Also it is a great time for you to ask any questions you have, perhaps on weaning for example, maybe how many bottles your baby should be having, that sort of thing. It’s a good time to get queries off your chest too.

So overall, don’t be scared of it, treat it like an opportunity to help your baby.

If you have any queries please let me know and I’ll try and help based on my experience…

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