Early years are a crucial period of development for children. The NHS Birth to Five Guide covers a wide range of topics, providing lots of important information and tools to help parents through the different stages of child development

It is important that children adopt positive eating and activity behaviours, because we know that behaviours set in childhood are carried into adulthood.

So, by ensuring babies, toddlers and young children eat a healthy balanced diet and are encouraged to take part in active play from birth, this helps establish a healthy lifestyle from an early age.

Feeding your baby

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby and has many health benefits for mother and child.

A range of infant feeding groups operate across the city, allowing mums to seek professional advice and support from other mums around both breast and bottle feeding.

The breastfeeding network Portsmouth offers support groups and events – follow the link for their support group times and locations.

If you’re out and about for the day and your baby gets hungry just pop into any of the below locations:

Cafes and restaurants

Capers Cafe, 59 Marmion Road, Southsea

Casa de Castro, 96a Albert Road, Southsea

Chi Coffee, 146 London Road, Portsmouth

Churchill's@25, 25 Marmion Road, Southsea

Crumbs a Sandwich and Coffee Shop, 81 Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth

City Museum Tea Room, Museum Road, Southsea

De Garden, 116 London Road, Portsmouth

Georgian Tearooms, Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth

Giraffe, Gunwharf

Harbour Lights, Beefeater, 1 Southampton Road, Cosham

Harvester, Great Salterns, Eastern Road, Portsmouth

Heidi's Swiss Patisserie, 32 Palmerston Road, Southsea

Las Iguanas, Gunwharf

Lilly and Lime, Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan Building, Gunwharf

Magick Bean Coffee Shop, 40 Albert Road, Southsea

Make & The Craft Kitchen, 1 Cornwall Road, Fratton

Park Cafe, 117 Eastney Road, Southsea

Pure Ground, 182 Milton Road, Southsea

Rita's Tearooms, Fratton Community Centre, Trafalgar Place, Fratton

Roberto's Coffee and More, 101 London Road, Portsmouth

Southsea Coffee Co, 63 Osborne Road, Southsea

The Blue Reef Cafe, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea

The Tenth Hole Tearooms, Eastern Parade, Portsmouth

The Chocolate Lounge, 323 Copnor Road, Portsmouth

Watkins and Faux, The Pavilion Cafe at Southsea Tennis Club

Wimpy Clarence Pier, Southsea

Children's CentresVisit our Children's Centres page
Family Attractions

Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Fort Purbrook

Krazy Kaves

Mountbatten Centre

Peter Ashley Activity Centre

Pirate's Pete's

Portsmouth Gymnastics and Tennis centre

Pyramids Centre

GP Surgeries

Salisbury Road Surgery

Drayton Surgery, Drayton

LibrariesFor locations, please visit our contacts page and scroll to libraries
Museums and Galleries

Aspex Gallery

The Blue Reef Aquarium

Charles Dickens museum

City museum

Cumberland museum

D Day museum

Mary Rose museum

The National museum of the Royal Navy

Southsea Castle museum

The Royal Marines museum

NurseriesMonkey Puzzle Day Nursery

The Portsmouth Supports Breastfeeding action group is a local partnership group that has developed a number of initiatives to support breastfeeding families across the city. Establishment of the peer supporter programme which links up experienced mums to provide direct support for new breastfeeding mums who need that little bit of extra support. The group:

  • leads on the Unicef baby friendly accreditation within both midwifery (stage 2) and community (stage 1)
  • piloted a breastfeeding welcome scheme with local cafes displaying stickers in Southsea

Download Unicef’s Start4Life leaflet below.

It is important families make an informed choice on the most suitable method of feeding their newborn and establish good eating habits for their children as they grow and develop. Follow the links for more information on:

Parents can get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins – for more information visit Healthy Start to see a map showing where in the city Healthy Start vitamins are available.

Feeding your toddler or young child

Once your baby has been introduced to solid foods, you should be encouraging and offering your child a wide range of foods to develop their taste buds. This will help reduce risk of fussy eating and help them start on the path of a healthy balanced diet.

However be careful not to provide too much sugary, fatty or salty foods. Not only does this develop a liking for them (even from a young age), but too much of these foods can seriously harm babies and young children. This is because their bodies aren’t developed and cannot cope with processing these foods.

The aim is to get toddlers into good habits and regular family meal patterns  from an early age, thus establishing good healthy eating behaviours which they can continue into childhood and beyond. Fussy eating is common amongst young children and nothing to worry about unless your child is not putting on weight or growing.

If you are worried about your child’s health because of their diet, please speak to your health visitor or GP.

Pre-school challenge

Encouraging children and their parents to adopt a healthy diet and be active from an early age is vital for creating the foundations of a healthy, active lifestyle for the next generation.

The Healthy Pompey pre-school challenge sets the foundations for a healthy active lifestyle focusing on four key areas:

  • Eat well – which covers healthy eating
  • Move more – which promotes being active
  • Growing grub – which teaches children about where food comes from
  • Oral health – to ensure youngsters maintain healthy teeth

The challenge pack contains information, ideas and resources for pre-school staff to include key messages in their work and additional information for parents to continue the positive messages at home.

Over half of Portsmouth’s pre-schools have already signed up and over 25 had achieved accreditation giving their children the opportunity to learn about healthy eating and being active.

A food and health worker is on hand to provide specialist support to pre-school staff during the challenge and deliver healthy eating and being active training to staff and parents as required.

If you want to get involved, or need more information, phone Public Health Portsmouth on 023 9284 1714.