Newborn Health

The First Few Days

  • Your midwife will check your baby’s breathing and temperature at birth.

    • This may be repeated every few hours for the first few days if you or your baby had any risk factors during labour or birth.
  • You midwife will give you a Personal Health Record Book to help you keep up with your new baby's health.
  • It is important to keep up with this book and have it available for all appointments.
  • This book is coloured differently in each state. For example in Victoria, this book is green, in NSW, it is blue and QLD it is red.

newborn-doc-1 newborn-doc-2 newborn-doc-3

  • Your midwife will also ask for consent to give Vitamin K injection in your baby’s thigh (this helps your baby to clot blood as this doesn't happen naturally when they are first born).

    • You can ask for this medication to be given to them in their mouth but this will required 2 other times over the first month and if the baby spits it up, it cannot be repeated.
  • If you consent, your baby will also be given the Hepatitis B vaccine in their other thigh.

    • More information can be found on your child's vaccination schedule and why immunisation is so important in Shifra’s Immunisation section.
  • A heel prick test to screen for about 25 genetic disorders that relate to how your baby absorbs and processes fats and proteins will be undertaken between 48-72 hours after birth. You will only be contacted with the results if they are abnormal and this is very rare.

Newborn screening Newborn Screening Brochure After Your Baby is Born My Personal Health Record (English)

Feeding your baby

  • Breastfeeding gives your baby all the nutrients he or she needs. It can also help you both to bond (get closer to each other emotionally).
  • Learning to breastfeed is difficult for many mothers and can be a frustrating and emotional experience at the beginning. This usually gets better after the first few days.
  • Your midwife, maternal child health nurse and lactation consultant (breastfeeding specialist) can help you and your baby get more experience. You should be given information as to how to access these services on the postnatal ward, after you have your baby.
  • Here are some demonstrations on the best positions for initiating breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is recommended for up to two years and you can start offering solid food slowly, from 6 months.
  • If you are unable to breastfeed or choose not to, formula will give your baby the nutrients he or she needs to grow.
  • Speak with your midwife or maternal child health nurse to choose what formula is best for you and your baby.
  • Water is in both breastmilk and formula so you baby does not need to be offered water (including coconut or sugar cane water) until 6 months of age.

Raising Children Network- How to breastfeed: getting a good attachment

Raising Children Network- Bottle and formula preparation


Newborn Nutrition

Breastfeeding Your Baby (English)


  • Babies sleep a lot in the first few weeks but this isn’t always at times that are convenient for parents.
  • It’s important to try and take lots of little naps when your baby is napping. Learning to read your baby’s tired signs is important and this can be difficult in the first few weeks.
  • It’s OK to not always know if your baby is crying because she is hungry, tired or needs a nappy change.

Raising Children Network- Newborns sleep

Raising Children Network- Baby Cues video guide


  • A baby is considered premature if they are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • The earlier that a baby is born the higher risk the baby is and the longer they will need to spend in the neonatal intensive care unit.
  • The staff at your hospital are there to support you during this stressful time.
  • You can ask for a social worker to visit you if you need help understanding all that is happening during this time.
  • You have a right to be with your baby and to ask questions whenever you have them.
  • An interpreter can be provided if you don’t understand what is happening.

Premature Labour, Birth and Babies

Development, Growth and Learning

Age Milestones
Birth - 4 months * Your baby will be learning, developing and growing quickly after they’re born.
* Here are some milestone that most baby’s meet in their first year.
* Some babies will reach these milestone sooner than others so don’t worry too much if your baby is a little behind.
* If you have concerns though you discuss them further with your maternal child health nurse or GP.
4 - 8 months * Lifting head 90 degrees during tummy time
* Good head control
* Smiling and laughing
* Reaching for objects
* Tracks moving objects with eyes
* Shows awareness and interest in surroundings
* Tries to pick up objects using both hands
* Making noises in order to have their needs met
* Recognition of familiar faces, increased interaction with others
8 - 12 months * Able to keep head level when pulled up
* Sitting alone without support
* Recognition of partially hidden objects
* Attempts to get object that is out of reach
* Looking for fallen objects
* Moves by rolling or attempts to crawl
* Makes sounds, imitates sounds
* Claps hands
* Shows likes and dislikes
* Enjoys and demands attention and affection
* Increases interaction with family
12 months + * May stand or walk
* Able to point with index finger
* Expresses needs and wants in ways other than crying
* Says three recognisable words
* Understands several words and some commands
* Helps to dress themselves by holding out arms or legs
* Enjoys being around parents and showing affection
* Begins to understand 'no'

Babies (0-12 Months)

Newborns development

Physical and Cognitive Developmental Milestones


  • Getting your children vaccinated is important to protecting them from illnesses that can be life-threatening.
  • Vaccinations children, the elderly and those with low immunity such as pregnant women and people undergoing chemotherapy from getting sick.
  • When the whole community is immunised diseases can be stopped forever.

Right To Care

Childhood immunisation