Working with parents, additional support might be offered in the form of the following:

Complex health needs or disability

Having a child with a disability and/or special educational needs may at times be overwhelming, however, there is a lot of support available for your child and for you. Click here to find out more.

Early Learning

For further information about free childcare and early education click here or contact the Family Information Service, 020 7527 5959

Healthy eating and healthy weight

Healthy eating and healthy weight is really important to you and your child’s development. You can find more information through Islington’s Families for life and the NHS’s Change for life websites.
For information on starting solid food from six months, please see our free workshops run by Bright Start professionals.

Home safety

Those most at risk from a home accident are the 0-4 years age group.
For more information on how to keep your home environment safe:

Journey to Parenthood. Antental Parenting Programme

Journey to Parenthood is a 6-week parenting course for parents-to-be. The course is designed to support expectant parents by offering information and guidance on pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Sessions include typical topics of interest such as:
  • How to plan and prepare for labour & what to expect during the birth.
  • Managing pain relief and learning relaxation skills.
  • How to feed and care for your baby.
  • Begin to build a relationship with your developing baby.

What makes Journey to Parenthood unique is the focus on helping parents to understand their baby and supporting wellbeing and relationships.
Parents are encouraged to explore the development of their unborn baby and to consider how getting to know their baby before birth helps to build a happy and healthy baby. Consideration is given to the changes and adjustments when becoming a parent, with guidance provided on the support available to families throughout their Journey to Parenthood.

The Journey to Parenthood course takes place in children’s centres around Islington which provides an ideal opportunity to meet other parents and build friendships. It is recommended for parents to start the course when mum is between 26-34 weeks pregnant.

If you would like to book a place on the programme, please contact the Journey to Parenthood Team by calling 07887627231 or emailing:

Alternatively, you can speak with your midwife or other professional involved in your care who can make a referral for you.
Online Solihull Parenting Programme
For those who would prefer to access antenatal education online, the Solihull in Our Place website offers a fantastic course. How to access the course:

Starting Solid Food

When babies are around 6 months old, they develop the skills to start taking solid food as well as milk feeds. Encouraging babies to feed themselves from the beginning helps them learn new skills.
We run drop-in services alongside Child Health Clinics and Introduction to Solids workshops across the whole of Islington. For details of venues and times click here or contact via the email addresses below.
Bright Start North:
Tel: 020 7527 8441

Bright Start Central:
Tel: 020 7527 8465

Bright Start South:
Tel: 020 7527 4089
These documents provide guidance on starting and moving on with solid food, as well as a handy recipe book for inspiration!

Useful links:

Managing minor illnesses

It can be really worrying if your child seems unwell.
This leaflet contains information on what to do and who will help you if you are concerned about your baby/child
The following websites can offer you some more information if you are concerned:
Did you know that many common childhood illnesses can be safely treated at home with advice from a pharmacist, your Health Visitor or GP team?
Hospital A&Es are always there to help with serious illness or injury, and life threatening emergencies - but if it’s not an emergency, there are better ways to get help safely.
This year from late summer, you may hear more about a viral infection called bronchiolitis or RSV. This is a very common viral infection in children that circulates most years. Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious, but there is more information in this leaflet.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Health visitors are not therapists but do have skills and experience in supporting people through challenging times in the postnatal period. If you would like more information please contact your health visiting team directly.
Growing Together is a service that helps both adults and children (aged 1-5) in a family with their mental health and wellbeing. This might be problems with emotions, behaviours and or relationships. More information and a referral form on Growing Together can be found here.
iCope - this website provides free and confidential help for common mental health problems. Self-referrals can also be made through the website to access confidential psychological therapy for people over the age of 18.

Oral Health

Tooth decay is one of the most common reasons for children attending hospital. There are some useful resources below, or you can contact your health visitor directly for more information.

Parenting and Transition to Parenthood

We understand the transition to parenthood can be a very exciting but potentially challenging time. To talk to someone directly please contact your local Bright Start health visiting team.
Here are some useful contacts and additional local support services.
Journey to Parenthood is an antenatal course which supports mothers and fathers to adapt to the changes of becoming parents and provides an opportunity to ask questions about what to expect throughout pregnancy and beyond.
The programme helps parents to think about the kind of parent they want to be and supports them to understand the developmental needs of their baby and how to get to know their child before they are born. The course covers: how to plan and prepare for labour, pain relief, relaxation skills, what to expect during the birth and how to feed and care for your baby.
You can book a place on the course as early as 16 weeks pregnant. Women should be 26-34 weeks pregnant at the date of session one.
To book your place on the course please call or text Journey to Parenthood on 07887 627231
Alternatively you can speak to your midwife, family support worker or other professional involved in your care and ask them to refer you.
COVID-19 Journey to Parenthood update: Unfortunately due to current restrictions as a result of COVID-19, there will be no face-face sessions for the Journey to Parenthood course. We want to ensure you are still able to access the information and support you require. Therefore, we will be offering the Journey to Parenthood course via online sessions.
The course runs for 6 weeks and will include online materials for you to work through at home, followed by a group video call once a week. This will ensure you receive key information about pregnancy, labour and your baby, whilst also having the opportunity to discuss and share with other expectant parents.

If you are interested in accessing the Journey to Parenthood course, please book your place in the usual way, as outlined above.

New Parents’ Groups are a chance for families with babies under the age of four months to meet other new parents and take part in topic-based discussions.
Growing Together is a service that helps both adults and children (aged 1-5) in a family with their mental health and wellbeing. This might be problems with emotions, behaviours and or relationships. More information and a referral form on Growing Together can be found here.

Sleep Management

Sleep is vital for growth, maintaining a healthy weight, fighting sickness, and reducing injury risk. Good sleep habits can be introduced from 3-6 months old.
The three leaflets below provide important information on encouraging good bedtime habits:

Smoke-free homes

Smoking in the family is linked to many childhood illnesses as well as Sudden Infant Death syndrome SIDS.
Contact Breathe for more information and help on giving up smoking.

Toilet training

Children are normally ready to potty train between 18 months and 3 years but every child is different. Contact your health visitor for more advice.
The following website can offer you some more information.


If you are not sure which vaccinations your child needs and when they should have them, you will find a handy timeline on the NHS website from birth to parenthood.

Islington Family Information Service

Last updated20 Nov 2023
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