Best Start - healthy pregnancy and early years


Pregnancy is an ideal time to make lifestyle changes. This will give you the best chance of having a problem free pregnancy and having a healthy baby.

 You can take a look at the advice and information on what to do next:

  • as soon as you find out you're pregnant it's important to contact a health professional, the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are the most important time in your baby’s development.
  • early contact with a health professional is important, as it will help you to make informed choices about your pregnancy.
  • if you live in Barnsley, call the Community Hub on (01226 435369) to book your first appointment.

There's lots of things you can do to help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy and beyond. The Barnsley Maternity Service web pages  contain lots of useful advice and information to support you during this time including advice on stopping smoking, keeping active and having a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding help and support

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of your baby's life, although any amount has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

There's lots of support available in Barnsley to help mums start and continue breastfeeding for as long as they want to. You can visit our breastfeeding web page to find out more.


Your baby gets all the fluid, nutrients and energy they need from breast milk or formula. This is why it's best to hold off starting to use solids until they are around six months old. If your baby was born prematurely, ask your Health Visitor or GP for advice on when the best time is to start.

There are lots of hints and tips at Start4Life.

School Readiness

Rather than simply being about being able to read, write and do basic maths before starting school.  School readiness is about the development of the whole child – their social and emotional skills, physical skills, communication skills and cognitive skills.

Good habits start at a young age and children can start getting prepared for school by being excited, keen, curious and confident about learning, be independent by using self-help skills, ask questions, take risks and find solutions and feeling that their efforts will be recognised and celebrated.

To help them with this, families should:

  • have fun playing with them.
  • talk and share with them regularly and frequently.
  • recognise and talk through their child’s feelings and different emotions.
  • read with and to the child.
  • celebrate the child’s achievement in language development by singing songs, nursery and finger rhymes and making time to talk.

Support for Barnsley families is available through the Early Help Team who provide a wide range of services. You can take a look at more information about the Early Help Team and family hubs and how they can help.