Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Your baby and the first few weeks

Select language: (Arabic) العربية , বাংলা (Bengali), 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese), 繁體中文 (Traditional Chinese), Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

When you bring your baby home, you may not know what to do next, especially if you are a new parent. It might be difficult, but there is always someone to help. This article has information to help you during those early weeks – covering health checks for your baby, support and services, and government paperwork you need to do.

DISCLAIMER: Please note the Department of Human Services is now called Services Australia. Go to to learn more.

Bringing your newborn home

Bringing your baby home is exciting, but it can also be daunting to leave the support of the hospital or birthing centre behind.

Some women also find that breastfeeding is difficult or that they feel isolated, especially if they don’t have friends and family nearby.

Whatever the problem, there are services to help in those early days and weeks at home.

In the first few days, a midwife might visit you every day at home. There are also telephone services that you can call night and day, such as parent helplines in your state or territory and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

Your local child health clinic is also a great source of information about feeding and health. Clinics provide support and run groups for new mothers, sometimes in languages other than English.

Most women feel teary, overwhelmed and/or anxious 3 to 5 days after the birth. This is called the baby blues and is due to rapidly changing hormone levels after the birth. If these feelings last longer than a few days and they get more intense, talk to your doctor or child health nurse. These feelings might be a sign that you have postnatal depression.

What paperwork will you have to do?

A new baby means lots of paperwork and filling in forms. You will need to register your baby’s birth and name, add your baby to Medicare, and arrange government payments if you are eligible.

The hospital or midwife will give you a Parent Pack, which includes most of the forms you need to fill in. An important form in this pack is the Newborn Child Declaration. You will need this form to register your child with Medicare and to complete your application for Parental Leave Pay or other government payments.

A form to register your baby for My Health Record is also included in the Parent Pack. My Health Record is a digital health record that allows you to share your health information with health service providers if you want to.

Health services and support are available for families who have migrated to Australia or arrived in Australia as refugees. If you need help with Medicare services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.

What is an infant health record?

You will be given a book called an infant health record just after your baby is born.

This book records important information about your baby, including their growth, vaccinations and any health issues. The book might be blue, purple, red, green or yellow, depending on which state or territory you live in.

What health checks will your baby need?

Your baby will need regular health checks in the first few months.

The child health nurse at your local child health centre, or your doctor (GP), can do these check-ups for your baby, usually at 2, 4 and 6 weeks after birth. The nurse will ask you how your child is going and if you have any concerns.

In most states and territories, your baby’s first child health appointment will be at your home. Your hospital or birth centre will organise this visit.

You can also ask either the nurses at the child health centre or your doctor about anything else that may be worrying you. It’s a good idea to write down your questions before the check-ups so you don't forget to ask anything.

Child health nurse services are free for families with children up to the age at which they start school.

Your baby will need a full health check with a GP or paediatrician when they are 6 weeks old. They may also have their first immunisations at this check.

Support and advice

There are many sources of information and support, often available 7 days a week, including:

Last reviewed: May 2021

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Blue Book - Maternal, child and family health

The 'Blue Book' is another name for the Personal Health Record. This booklet, bound in a blue plastic cover, is produced by the NSW Ministry of Health, and is given to all parents in NSW after the birth of a baby.

Read more on NSW Health website

New parents | PANDA

Support that's always there for you and your family

Read more on Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) website

Umbilical cord care in babies: Video with Dr Joe Kosterich | Parenthub

New parents often wonder what to do with the umbilical cord stump of their newborn. Dr Joe talks about the umbilical cord and answers common questions.

Read more on Parenthub website

Your baby and the first few weeks

The first few weeks at home with your newborn can be an exciting but daunting time, particularly if you are new parents. Find out what care and support are available to you after you leave hospital.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Newborns videos | Raising Children Network

A gallery of videos and film clips in which parents, mums and dads share their experiences of caring for newborns and discuss important parenting issues.

Read more on website

Parental Leave Pay - Services Australia

A payment for up to 18 weeks while you care for your new child.

Read more on Medicare website

Sleep Tips for New Mothers

1.Plan for the fact that your sleep pattern is going to change Babies are not born with a day-night wake-sleep cycle.  They develop this over the first 3 months following birth.  So whilst a newborn baby may sleep a lot, they will also wake up a lot for feeds and other attention and will do so at all hours

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

Newborns health & daily care | Raising Children Network

Questions about your newborn’s health? Here's all you need on newborn health with articles, videos and resources on daily care, health concerns and more.

Read more on website

Adding your new baby to Medicare

Learn how to add your newborn to your Medicare card so they can start to receive free or lower cost healthcare and prescriptions.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Dad and Partner Pay - Services Australia

A payment for up to 2 weeks while you care for your new child.

Read more on Medicare website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.