Emotional Wellbeing

Your baby is now a toddler and will be a lot more mobile. Parenting can start to become demanding in a different way. You now need to think about safety and appropriate boundaries as well as caring for your baby.

Some parents miss their tiny baby and others are pleased that their baby has a little more independence. Remember as this independence grows your baby will still need you.

There will be lots of changes as your child moves away from babyhood to being a toddler. Your child will want to to explore their surroundings as this is their safe space to learn new skills.

There are new things to learn like beginning to walk and developing speech and language. They are also learning how to deal with lots of different emotions. Children take their lead from parents and carers as their main role models.

Children will continue to return to you for reassurance that things are ok. This is all part of your child’s rapid brain development. Whether things go well or not they need you to help them feel safe and secure. Use a soothing and calm tone of voice and give gentle reassurance that all is ok if they seem worried. Show your pride and excitement when they try new things and manage new skills.

Things to do to support your toddlers emotional wellbeing:

TALK · Read to me regularly, and use as many rhymes, poems or songs as you can. Simple rhymes hold my attention. · Provide me with a running commentary on your own life. Tell me about colours, count the steps you climb or the socks and towels as you do the washing.

PLAY · Being outside is great and I love to watch the world go by, especially when you talk to me about what I can see · Pass me objects I’m interested in (if they are safe).

RELAX · After games I need to wind-down and enjoy a few moments of calm with you. · Try to have some time when you are just focused on the experience of being with me not on things you need to get done, or on people or events that have made you upset or angry. · Relax into being a parent – it’s hard being a parent and the experience can be unfamiliar, scary or leave you feeling guilty or stressed, but all parents feel the same way.

CUDDLE · Cuddle me as often as you like – toddlers can’t have too much contact and I love our time together.

RESPOND · Work out what my crying means and meet my needs – warmth and comfort, food, a clean nappy, sleep. · As I get older I like to play games like peek-a-boo and to drop toys out of my vision. I love it when you pick them up and we can play it all over again.

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed baby, some of the benefits of breastfeeding include:

  • breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby.
  • breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases.
  • breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it.
  • breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby.
  • breastfeeding also provides health benefits for you.

Watch the video below to find out more about breastmilk and how it is tailored to baby.

Formula milk does not provide the same protection from illness and does not give you any health benefits.

Breastfeeding takes time and practise and it can take weeks for you to become confident with breastfeeding but there is lots of support available to help you get off to a great start.

Vitamins for babies

It’s recommended that breastfed babies are given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D from birth, whether or not you’re taking a supplement containing vitamin D yourself.

Babies having 500mls (about a pint) or more of formula a day should not be given vitamin supplements as formula is already fortified with vitamins. This does not mean that breastmilk is not the healthiest way to feed baby as it contains other ingredients that formula milk cannot replicate.

All children aged 6 months to 5 years should be given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. For more information on vitamins and where to get them see Healthy Start.

Breastfeeding support

Free Breastfeeding Hub App (use current image on site)

This free app is a hub for all your breastfeeding needs. Your virtual breastfeeding supporter provides information and support with breastfeeding and helps you find and rate breastfeeding friendly places in your local area.

Download free: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.breastfeedinghubmk&hl=en_GB&gl=US

National Breastfeeding Helpline

Independent, confidential, mother-centred, non-judgmental breastfeeding support and information

Open 9.30am – 9.30pm every single day of the year

0300 100 0212

Other information and support



Baby Buddy App- Free App with over 200 videos to support parents including feeding https://web.bestbeginnings.org.uk/web/daily-info

For information on bottle feeding https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/making-up-infant-formula/#close

Add Human milk video

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Starting solids is an important time for influencing a child’s taste preferences and developing healthy behaviours. Starting solids (also known as weaning) should start at around 6 months as baby’s milk provides all the nutrition baby needs in the first 6 months.

Flying Start provide information sessions on when, what and how to introduce solid foods. The session is 1.5 hours and is for parents/carers of babies 3-6 months who have not yet started solids.


This video is less than 30 minutes and provides you with a brief overview of the useful information on when, what and how to start introducing your baby to solid foods.

Click here to register for the link to watch the video

We would really appreciate if you could complete this Starting solids ONLINE Evaluation Form and return to flyingstartparenting@luton.gov.uk once you have watched the video. Your feedback is important to us and helps enable us to be able to create other similar free resources.

Vitamins for babies

It’s recommended that breastfed babies are given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D from birth, whether or not you’re taking a supplement containing vitamin D yourself.

Babies having 500mls (about a pint) or more of formula a day should not be given vitamin supplements as formula is already fortified with vitamins. This does not mean that breastmilk is not the healthiest way to feed baby as it contains other ingredients that formula milk cannot replicate.

All children aged 6 months to 5 years should be given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. For more information on vitamins and where to get them see Healthy Start Vitamins

What is Healthy Start?

You could qualify for Healthy start if:

  • you are pregnant or have a child under 4 and are on benefits OR
  • you are pregnant and under 18 (even if you are not claiming benefits)

With Healthy Start, you can get free vouchers every week which you can spend on milk, fruit, vegetables, pulses and infant formula milk. You can also get free Healthy Start vitamins.

Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £4.25 voucher per week. Children under one year old can get two £4.25 vouchers (£8.50) per week.

The vouchers can be spent on:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • plain, fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose
  • fresh, frozen or tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk.

Ask your health visitor or midwife for details or visit Healthy start NHS

Healthy Start vitamins are recommended for pregnant women and new mums and children from 6 month to 5 years. Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts so that it can work properly. Even though you can get lots of vitamins from a healthy balanced diet, you still might not get everything you need at certain times in your life – such as when you’re pregnant, a new mum or a small child. It is recommended that at these times you should take a supplement containing specific vitamins to make sure you get everything you need.

Women’s vitamin tablets contain:

  • Folic acid: reduces the chance of your baby having spina bifida, a birth defect where the spine doesn’t form properly
  • Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body
  • Vitamin D: helps your body to absorb calcium and so supports your baby’s bones to develop properly. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia, which causes bone pain and tenderness.

Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops contain:

  • Vitamin A: for growth, vision in dim light and healthy skin
  • Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body
  • Vitamin D: for strong bones and teeth. In children a lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets.

Healthy Start vitamins can help prevent vitamin deficiencies and maintain healthy growth and development for your child. Vitamin D is difficult to get from the diet alone and the best source is from sunlight, therefore during the winter months it is difficult to get adequate amount of vitamins D. Certain groups are at a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, babies born with darker skin types and anyone who has little or no exposure to sunlight (for example wear concealing clothing, sun creams or stay indoors etc.)

Healthy Start vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and halal diets, and free from milk, egg, gluten, soya and peanut residues.M

There are a range of other vitamins available, however many of these contain a range of nutrients that are not suitable, therefore Healthy Start Vitamins are the only vitamin supplements we recommend for your child.

You may also be eligible for free vitamins through the Healthy Start scheme

Where are Healthy Start vitamins available?

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Baby teeth really do matter

Although children will lose their baby teeth as they get older it is still really important to look after them to prevent tooth decay and to get children used to looking after their teeth from an early age. Decayed baby teeth can cause a lot of pain, lead to infection and cause problems with eating, sleeping and going to school. This can also affect their speech and language development and their confidence. If problems become more serious it can mean a child has to go into hospital to have teeth extracted – a distressing experience for any family.


Follow our 12 top tips for looking after baby’s teeth

  1. Brush your baby’s teeth as soon as a tooth appears

    Baby’s teeth should be brushed as soon as the very first one starts to break through the gums, using a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles. Toothbrushes should be replaced every 2-3 months or sooner once the bristles become splayed.

  2. Brush before bedtime and one other time during the day

    Brush twice a day for two minutes. Brushing before bedtime is very important – make sure you don’t eat or drink anything after, unless it is plain water. If your child does not like to brush their teeth, try doing a toothbrushing activity with them, such as drawing some teeth on paper and using an old toothbrush and shaving foam to brush them! .

  3. Spit, don’t rinse after brushing

    After brushing teeth (you and your children) should avoid rinsing out with water or mouthwash – you will wash the fluoride in the toothpaste away! Just spit out the excess foam – job done! Babies/children who cannot spit out after brushing should have just a smear of family toothpaste on their brush. .

  4. Don’t add sugar to any food or drink given to babies

    There is no benefit in giving babies foods containing sugar as it can damage their teeth and get them used to over sweetened foods. .

  5. Remember to ask for sugar-free medicines when possible

    If they are not available, try and give the medicine at mealtimes to reduce an extra sugar attack.

  6. Use a toothpaste with at least 1000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride (Check the label)

    A supermarket own-brand toothpaste is just as effective as a more expensive, branded toothpaste. Just remember to check the amount of fluoride in the toothpaste, this will help strengthen tooth enamel (the strong outer part of the tooth) to help prevent tooth decay. it should not be less than 1000ppm (parts per million) for children under 7 and at least 1350ppm for adults and children over 7. Whitening toothpaste is not suitable for children under 13 years. .

  7. Use just a smear of toothpaste on the brush for under 3s and a pea sized amount for over 3s

    The whole family, including babies, can use the same standard (non-whitening) toothpaste and It may be beneficial to get them used to the minty flavour early on, it is just the amount used that differs for children. .

  8. Supervise your child whilst they are brushing their teeth until they are eight years old,

    Supervise brushing teeth and gums and remember to brush every surface of every tooth.

  9. Avoid giving sugary and acidic foods and drinks between meals and an hour before bedtime

    It is how often we have sugars and acidic food/drink that has the biggest impact on our teeth – not just the amount. This is why snacks and drinks in between meals need to be tooth-friendly.

  10. Honey, smoothies, fruit juice and dried fruit are not tooth-friendly

    Treats for little ones don’t need to be sweets or any kind of food. Children often love stickers, trips to the park, feeding the ducks or a good tickle! Try to think of healthy, tooth friendly treats for them.

  11. Milk and water are the only tooth friendly drinks

    Milk and still, unflavoured water are the only tooth-friendly drinks. All other drinks can contribute to tooth decay and tooth erosion.

  12. From 6 months onwards encourage the use of open top cups and try to avoid using a bottle after the age of one year

    Try to limit or avoid using a dummy as it can affect how a baby’s teeth grow, as well as affecting their speech as they get older. Look for other ways to give comfort.

It is important to take your child to a dentist to have a first check-up by their 1st birthday. Even if the baby doesn’t open her/his mouth the dental team will provide preventative oral health advice and this will help baby get used to the dentist. NHS dental care is free for children as well as pregnant women and mothers for 12 months after giving birth. For a list of Luton dental practises INSERT TOP TIPS LEAFLET

Vitamin D is also important for teeth and bones, and to help calcium uptake in the body. Adults and babies are advised to take a 10mcg vitamin D supplement (babies consuming 500ml formula/day should not require additional supplementation). For more information on vitamins visit vitamins for babies

Parenting and Family Relationships

There are a variety of courses and one-off sessions for parents in Luton to promote positive, nurturing and responsive parenting

Child Safety

Safe at Home Luton is a child accident prevention programme aimed at families from pregnancy through to the child’s 5th birthday.

SEND families

If you think that your child may have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) you should speak to someone about your concerns- find out more on Luton’s Local Offer

Five to Thrive

Just as our child’s body grows better when you give them good food, your child’s brain grows better when you do five simple things that feed the growing brain:

Respond ● Cuddle ● Relax ● Play ● Talk

Talking Takes Off

Talking Takes Off is a programme to support improvements in speech and communication in children from 0-5 years old in Luton.


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