Parent Information

What is MECSH? 

The Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting program. It is pronounced just like the word “mesh” and is a home visiting program for expectant mothers. There is a lot to think about when you are having a baby and raising children. MECSH is tailored to provide professional support to help families through the transition to parenthood, with continuing support until the child celebrates their second birthday.

How does the MECSH program work? 

A child and family health nurse visitor will come to your home and provide support to meet your family’s parenting needs and share information about child development. The nurse visitor will help to link you to health services and family support services as well as activities (eg parenting groups) within your local area.

How many home visits will I receive? 

During pregnancy, you will receive at least 3 visits. After the baby is born, the nurse visitor will come to your home weekly until your child is 6 weeks old. The visits are then fortnightly until your baby is 3 months old. After this time, the visits are spaced further apart, however, when your baby has celebrated their first birthday you would have received around 16 visits since birth. The nurse continues to keep in contact with you until your child is aged two, visiting every two months.

What happens during a home visit? 

At each visit you will have the opportunity to talk with the nurse about how things are going and when the baby arrives how your baby is doing. The nurse will provide you with information about how your baby is developing and to help you as a parent. The nurse visitor may also refer you to other health care or service providers. Each visit will usually take an hour.

What are the benefits for me? 

The MECSH programme is voluntary.  If you choose to participate you will be provided with support through your pregnancy and the early years of your baby’s life. In the comfort of your own home, the nurse visitor can let you know how your baby is growing and developing.  You will be provided with information on how to care for your baby and learn about how to provide appropriate stimulation for your baby to help their communication development.

The nurse visitor will support you to identify, and plan for your baby’s needs, your needs and your family’s needs.

The nurse visitor will also help to connect you to other groups and peer support services in your local area. For example, breastfeeding groups and play groups.

Your nurse visitor can help answer questions that you may have such as:

  • I am finding it hard to breastfeed, do you have any suggestions?

  • My baby seems quite unsettled at times, what tips can you give me?

  • I am not getting enough sleep and constantly feel irritable, what should I do?

  • My baby doesn’t want to try new foods, does that matter?

  • My toddler is becoming very frustrated when I do not understand her? Do you have any tips?

  • My toddler uses his dummy all the time, I am worried that he won’t ever give it up?

  • My toddler has been walking for quite some time but she is still very unsteady on her feet. This worries me.

  • My toddler has started to bite me when he is frustrated. What can I do?

  • My toddler becomes very distressed when I leave them. This is very upsetting for me and I would like to know how to manage it better.

You may be given a photo journal to celebrate your child’s milestones.




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