So what is the point of Health Visitors?

(455 Posts)
wonderstuff Mon 18-Oct-10 14:43:55

I've seen 3 so far, they all seem very nice, but really not very useful.

Today lovely lady came by, did PND questionnaire, weighed my baby. Talked about weaning - advised that some babies (especially boys) are ready for weaning at 4 months, to be aware of him taking interest in us eating hmm couldn't give any advise about BLW as no reseach has been done and she doesn't want to get sued - fair enough, but seemed strange that on the weaning age she was willing to contradict research evidence. She also warned of 'missing weaning window at 6 months' I didn't ask what would happen - will I end up bfeeding forever, Little Britain style? Told me breastfeeding was tiring (there was me thinking it was the lack of sleep that was knackering but presumbably if I bottle fed I'd have much more energy?) She stayed for half an hour.

Really what is the point - could money be better spend on Midwifery or Social care?

JustDoMyLippyThenWeWillGo Mon 18-Oct-10 14:45:59

They are, in my experience, completely pointlessgrin.

escorchio Mon 18-Oct-10 14:48:34

In my experience they exist simply to point out any inadequacies you may have that your mother might have forgotten to mention..... grin

MaMoTTaT Mon 18-Oct-10 14:48:49

My HV's (there are 2 at my Drs) have both been absolutely fabulous. One came once a week and just say with me, for 1/2hr for a couple of weeks when I was at my lowest 2yrs ago.

The other one came told me that my previous (in a different town) didn't know what she was talking about and that there was nothing wrong with DS1's speech but she would see me just to keep the paperwork in order, and gave me good advise and support for getting DS3 back to settling himself to sleep at night.

And a whole host of other helpful/supportive stuff.

perfumedlife Mon 18-Oct-10 14:50:02

No idea either. They came to me, drank tea, lectured me and then left, without seeing the baby hmm

retiredgoth2 Mon 18-Oct-10 14:51:08

What indeed.

It is quite difficult to get into. But cushy in the extreme once you are there.

I think their main role is to drink bad coffee and eat cake whilst complaining about their workload....

wonderstuff Mon 18-Oct-10 14:52:14

I did think it seemed like a lovely job..

nymphadora Mon 18-Oct-10 14:53:03

I had a v good one with dd1/2 who was v supportive and quite enthusiastic about some of my views which weren't common in my area at the time (bfeeding beyond 1/reusuable nappies!). I had PND and she visited me at home & listened to me. celebrated when I was pg with dd2 supported me through a difficult pg and visited me on the ward when she was born & I was ill. She then got pg and I got a new one who was rubbish and tried to do new baby checks on dd2 (2) and refused a 2 y assessment despite her difficulties.

Get new one tomorrow for dd3 - am nervous!

nickytwotimes Mon 18-Oct-10 14:54:31

I've been lucky - all mine have been fab, which is more than I can say for the GPs.

My first 2 (when I had ds1) saved my mental health with their support and non-judgey advice.
My current one is great - very knowledgable about bfing and very very pro - BLW.

Indith Mon 18-Oct-10 14:54:45

If you are happy and have no problems then you may well not see the point.

On the other hand,a sympathetic HV may be the one to end up with tears all over her from a new mum and help her with PND when she would never have considered going to the Dr. A HV doing her first visit may see that things are not as they should be at home and can help a child or mother at risk. Things which simply would not be seen otherwise since MW appointments do not tend to happen in the home. There are plenty of other things too.

MistsAndMellow Mon 18-Oct-10 14:55:10

Let the HV fill in the red book even when it is obvious that a bright five year old could plot the lines on the graphs. It keeps them off the streets after all.

lenak Mon 18-Oct-10 14:56:09

I had one lovely sensible one and one complete nightmare.

When I went in for a check after DD had her first jab she proceeded to lecture me on how I shouldn't take her swimming until she'd had the full course - despite the fact that I still had the leaflet in my hand that my lovely practice nurse had given me stating it was absolutely fine to go swimming hmm.

She wasn't best pleased when I called her up on it.

MaMoTTaT Mon 18-Oct-10 14:56:40

I think I may have to have another baby just so I can keep seeing my HV's for a little longer grin

Although I haven't seen any of them since the end of last year when one arranged to come out and see me at the request of the GP after they realised that SS were involved because of what happened with exH (initial assessment of the DS's invovlved writing to GP).

She came out to check I was coping ok

MistsAndMellow Mon 18-Oct-10 15:01:53

Is it still true that HV don't have any requirement to update their professional knowledge? I was shock at that a couple of years ago in the context of weaning at 4 months and breastfeeding myths.

Funnily enough I was approached by a professional the other week who wanted to observe DS (autistic) with a view to training other HVs to recognise red flags and I almost bit her hand off in thanks given how generally crap they usually are at recognising them.

BuntyPenfold Mon 18-Oct-10 15:13:55

Mine was awful and rubbished everything I was trying to do, including breastfeeding.
She said I should rest more, well, I had a 4-year old and no family nearby, but I should have thought of resting more. Silly me.
She rubbished my quite correct claims that my DD could not see very well; told me I was wrong, she was the qualified one not me etc.
Well, she was wrong and my DD's eyesight worsened all the time it was not treated. Her fault.
I suppose some people are luckier in who they get.

ArmyBarmyMummy Mon 18-Oct-10 15:29:00

My HV is lovely, unfortunately MIL is retired HV who is not helpful by being very free with contadictary advice!

I kinda understand and bite my tongue as I'm a 'retired' pharmacist (no longer paying megga bucks to stay on register) but still can't resist ploughing in with both size 9 feet when I feel someone doesn't understand a pharmaceutical issue. I do (or at least try to) make sure people seek current recommendations tho'.

So that said... If u don't like ur HV/GP/midwife/whoever seek advice from another HP (health professional) u trust, remembering YOU are the expert on YOUR baby.

Vallhalloween Mon 18-Oct-10 15:32:06

The point of HV's? Pass. No idea.

I dispensed with their visits very early on in DD1's life before I committed homicide.

YANBU.

withorwithoutyou Mon 18-Oct-10 15:32:14

I always thought they were basically there to come and give you and your home a once-over in case you needed to be brought to the attention of social services.

LittlebearH Mon 18-Oct-10 15:38:36

Mine kept telling me to FF as my baby must be hungry as not sleeping through.

Also that if she didnt gain more weight she would refer her to my GP.

At 8 months she is weaned, eats loads, no longer BF and still does not sleep through, yet happily on 25th percentile.

I think they are obsessed about that graph.

All they did was feed my anxiety problem.

warthog Mon 18-Oct-10 15:41:06

i don't know. didn't even have one for dd2.

i hope i don't get one for dc3.

KristinaM Mon 18-Oct-10 15:48:05

I have no idea either

And I have five children

The only time I asked for advice about a bf problem they were useless and actually made things worse

They are both very pleasant though, just not sure the NHS can afford pleasant uninformed busybodies on the payroll

tiktok Mon 18-Oct-10 15:48:08

My experience is very mixed. Some of them are particularly shaky on bf and weaning knowledge.

wonderstuff - you are dead right in that everything she has told you about feeding is poor. There is no evidence that boys are generally readier for weaning than girls (or if there is evidence, I'd like to see it). It is utterly shocking she cannot even discuss BLW...for fear of being sued, WTF??? The 'window for weaning' is totally discredited. And has been for many years.

If you felt able, you could write a puzzled letter to your PCT.

EauRouge Mon 18-Oct-10 15:48:41

I had a lovely HV when I had DD, she had loads of common sense and great advice but she left and has now been replaced with a rubbish HV with a weird cow's milk obsession. I probably shan't bother taking DC2 to the weekly clinic unless I am worried about something.

PutTheKettleOn Mon 18-Oct-10 15:56:09

grin at escorchio.

I've seen some rubbish ones in my time but all the ones I've seen with DD2 have been fab - very supportive of BF, entertained DD1 while I was dealing with the baby.

I think it's very hit and miss but the good ones are worth their weight in gold.

Lulumaam Mon 18-Oct-10 15:59:54

like so many professions , thre are good and bad

i reckon like pretty much the entire NHS, there are lack of good ones, everyone is overstretched and there are not enough to go around

i had a terrible, awful one with DC1, who missed my PND, did not do the Edinburgh test as i was feeling low and wanted to wait til i felt better hmm cue 4 years of the worst, most horrific black depression i've experienced. cheers for that

countered by the totally amazing lovely gorgeous one i had with DC2 who supported me so well during the pregnancy and after, and i cried a bit after our pre school jab appt as i would not be seeing her again. she came to see me every week and stayed to talk and chat and have a brew and keep my chin up

wonderful, saintly woman.

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