Your baby is born

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Your baby is born


Your body after birth

Straight after birth the fundus or top of your uterus can be felt like a ‘cricket ball’ just below your navel. Your midwife will check to see if your uterus is shrinking each day. By six weeks it should be back to its pre-pregnant size.

Some mothers experience ‘after pains’ for the first few days. They may be mild or severe contractions and often get worse during breastfeeding. Breastfeeding makes the uterus shrink back to its normal  size more quickly.

Lochia is the word  used to describe the blood  loss you have vaginally after birth.

To begin with it will be red, just like a heavy period, but within a few days your vaginal loss will be less in amount and much lighter in colour. It may increase during breastfeeding  as your uterus contracts.

Over  the next six weeks the loss becomes lighter and stops. If your loss becomes bright red again and gets heavier after going home you should let your doctor know.

If you have problems in the first few days with:

  • Sensing the urge to void (pass urine);
  • A slow or hesitant flow of urine;
  • Pain on passing urine;
  • A feeling that you are not emptying your bladder properly;
  • Frequent leakage of urine; and
  • Passing urine more frequently than every 2 hours.

Let your midwife, doctor or physiotherapist know.

It is important to have regular bowel motions after birth. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a diet that is high in fibre. The midwives caring for you can offer you medication that can help to soften you bowel motion if needed.

If you have any problems with your bowel or bladder in hospital please talk with your midwife or doctor. A Continence & Womens Health Physiotherapy may be available via outpatients - if you have any questions ask your  midwife to refer you. All women  are seen on a priority basis.

Any sutures in your perineum are dissolvable. Please visit Labour and birth page for information on care of stitches.

Keeping your infant safe

All hospital staff are identified by authorised THS identification tags.

  • Baby should not be taken outside Maternity Unit until you are discharged. When taking your baby out of your room put the infant in the cot and push the cot. Do not carry your infant in your arms outside the room or allow others to either unless you have been discharged.
  • Your baby will wear two identification name bands throughout his/her stay in hospital. If your baby’s name band is loose or has come off, please tell your midwife.
  • The Maternity Unit has a rooming in policy, which means having your baby with you all the time. It is your responsibility not to leave your baby unattended. If you leave your room/ward during visiting hours, ask a family member to watch your baby.

Prevention of falls

Mothers and newborns can be at risk of falls. After you have had your baby, you may be very tired and drowsy because of lack of sleep, blood loss or pain-relief medication and it is important  that you take steps such as the following to reduce this risk of falls:

  • Obtaining help when you first get out of bed after having your baby. Later on, take your time when getting in or out of bed.
  • Ensuring that the area around your bed is free from  obstacles such as extra chairs, presents, surplus blankets, clothes and footwear left lying on the floor.
  • Placing frequently  used items within  easy reach.
  • Asking for assistance if you feel unsteady or when moving your baby into or from the cot.
  • When using the bathroom facilities, use the shower  chair and rails provided.  If you feel unsafe, remain seated and call staff for assistance.
  • Placing baby on his/her back in the cot if you are feeling sleepy.
  • Wear non-slip footwear.
  • Turn the light on when getting out of bed or attending to your baby during the night.

To keep your  baby safe from  falling:

  • Addressing any safety issues when changing nappies or at bath time.
  • Change the nappy in the cot rather than on the bed.
  • Never leave the baby unattended on any raised surface without supervision.
  • Don’t carry your baby in your arms while you are walking around the unit. Use the cot when you are walking around the maternity unit.

Sex and intimacy

After you have given birth to your baby, you may feel a variety of emotions about your body. It has created another living being and you should feel proud of it.

However, so often women feel impatient because it may take time for their body to return to its pre-pregnant  shape.

Your vagina may be tender, especially if you have had stitches. If your baby is feeding frequently, you may feel tired of physical contact.

Share these normal feelings with your partner. Let your partner know that you do care, that you do enjoy cuddling and touching, but that you may not be feeling up to sexual intercourse  for a few weeks. You can be sexually intimate without penetration occurring. Be imaginative but always be sensitive to one another’s feelings. While you are breastfeeding, there is a change of hormones in your body.

This will mean that your vagina may be drier than usual and that you may need a lubricant.  If dryness is a major problem, please talk to your doctor.

Also during sex, your breasts may leak, so don’t be surprised!

Use a lubricant, go gently, relax and don’t forget to use contraception!

Contraception

There is a chance that you could become pregnant before your six week check so we recommend that if you are sexually active, and you don’t want to get pregnant, that you use some form of contraception, eg condoms. Some women choose to have the implant called “Implanon”  and this medication can be given to you prior to you leaving hospital. There are other options available that may be more appropriate for you and your lifestyle. Your midwife  and doctor  are available to discuss your contraceptive options.

For more information visit

Family Planning Alliance Australia

Family Planning Tasmania

Looking after yourself

  • Learn to ask for help.
  • Develop  a practical support system.
  • Take time out just for you – do something you really enjoy.
  • Try to allow some time for exercise.

It increases health, makes you less tired, helps to regain your figure, and increases self esteem.

  • Don’t feel guilty ignoring the phone or doorbell,  especially at bath time, during meals, feeding and rest times.
  • Put time aside for meals, especially with your family. Sit down and take your time to eat. Try not to miss meals.
  • Seek out new mothers so you don’t feel lonely or isolated.
  • A GP check is recommended 6 weeks after birth to ensure that mothers are recovering from her pregnancy and delivery, and are coping with baby’s demands.
  • Follow up might include - breast exam; urine; perineum check; blood pressure; pap smears and contraception advice if this has not already been attended at 2 week check or prior to discharge.

Feelings

Baby blues

Some women experience mood swings about 3-4 days after the birth of their baby. One moment they are happy and the next they may be crying. These ‘blues’ are normal and usually go away within 10 days. They are like an emotional release after the pregnancy and birth and are often hormonally induced.

During  your hospital stay we are able to provide counselling services if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

Some signs and what may cause Postnatal Depression?

Postnatal Depression (PND) affects almost 16 per cent of new mothers in Australia, it doesn’t have one definite  cause, but is likely to result from a combination of factors, including:

  • A past history of depression and/or anxiety;
  • A stressful pregnancy;
  • Experiencing severe ‘baby blues’;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Prolonged labour and/or delivery complications;
  • A lack of practical, financial and/or emotional support;
  • Past history of abuse;
  • Unrealistic expectations about motherhood; and
  • Moving house.

Signs resulting  in you getting support immediately may be:

  • Feeling like life isn’t worth living;
  • Having thoughts about hurting yourself; and
  • Worrying about hurting your baby.

Although some women get depressed straight after childbirth, some women may not feel ‘down’ until several weeks or months later. Depression that occurs within 6 months of childbirth may be Postnatal Depression (PND).

Your family or partner may notice that you are depressed before you do. They should encourage you to seek help, if they suspect you are suffering from depression.

If you think you have PND there are several people you can contact:

  • Family GP
  • Child Health Parenting Service
  • Family and friends
  • CHAPS
    North & NW 1300 064 544

    South 1300 808 178
  • Beyond Blue website
  • If you attended appointments with the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service antenatally you can also contact them on the numbers provided.
  • Mental Health Service hotline freecall 1800 332 388.

It is normal for all mothers to experience times of emotional  and physical exhaustion. If your depression or anxiety lasts more than two weeks, seek help.

Stress management for parents

It is normal for parents to have times when they feel angry, frustrated and helpless.

The responsibility of parenting can weigh heavily, especially when you are unable to feel in control of a situation you are responsible for (an example can be when your baby is crying for no apparent reason). If you have tried all the settling techniques and nothing is working and you are feeling fed up…

STOP

  • Put your baby down in a safe place - in the cot with the cot side up.
  • Leave the room – no baby has died from being left to cry for 5 - 10 minutes but some have died from brain damage from being shaken by an angry parent.
  • Consider why am I (or was I) angry? Where does it stem from?
  • Take 10 slow deep breaths – concentrating on making the out breath slow.
  • Take action: Talk to someone if you are still feeling angry.

    Lifeline telephone 131 114

    Tasmanian Parent Line telephone 1300 808 178

    Beyondblue telephone 1300 224 636, www.beyondblue.org.au

    Pregnancy Birth & Baby helpline 1800 882 436
  • Nothing is too awful that it can’t be talked about.
  • Everyone has a right to feel safe – including your baby.
  • ANGER, if not given thoughtful direction, will find its own target.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy may be able to assist you further with some of the common aches and pains of pregnancy  (such as back or pelvic pain and carpal tunnel syndrome). Community  Physiotherapy and THS Physiotherapy offer individual appointments to help you – please discuss your problems with your midwife or doctor.

After your baby is born

A Continence & Women’s Health Physiotherapist may be available on the maternity ward – if you have any questions or concerns  ask your  midwife  to refer you. All women  are seen on a priority basis.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise

Our pelvic floor muscles help with control of our bladder and bowel and are important  for sexual function. All women need to strengthen these muscles after being pregnant. However, over one third of women will do the exercise incorrectly.

If you experience difficulties performing the exercise, poor control over your bladder or bowel, or symptoms of prolapse you are invited to seek referral to the Continence & Women’s Health Physiotherapist for assessment and treatment.

Referrals are accepted from your doctor, midwife or allied health profession and you will receive a letter to let you know you are on the wait list and will be phoned with an appointment.

Postnatal VTE prevention

After giving birth to reduce the risk of a VTE all women are encouraged to:-

  • Resume walking after your baby is born if safe to do so.
  • Avoid becoming dehydrated, especially during the warmer months.
  • Wear elastic compression stockings if you have been advised to do so, especially if you have had a caesarean birth.

Women who have been assessed as having a high risk of developing a VTE will be prescribed medicine called anti-coagulation (injections) to prevent blood clots forming during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. These medications plus the above steps should prevent the development  of a VTE. These medications  are safe to use if you are breastfeeding.

Neonatal paediatric intensive care unit (NPICU)Neonatal paediatric intensive care unit (NPICU)

Sometimes  all does not go as planned in a pregnancy, labour or birth. Some babies are born  in need of special care and observation, and may need to go to the NPICU or SCN.

Sometimes they may even need intensive care treatment,  though this is most unusual unless your baby is premature or has a medical condition.

The RHH NPICU unit in Hobart is the Tasmanian referral centre for premature babies under 30 weeks in singleton pregnancies and under 32 weeks for twin or higher multiple pregnancies and sick babies, from the LGH and by negotiation with the NW under 32- 34weeks, as Launceston may also be the referral centre  in some cases. The RHH NPICU is situated on the same floor as the Maternity Unit, 3rd foor, D Block. The Unit has highly trained medical and nursing staff, and offers the latest in technological care for sick and premature  babies.

If it is anticipated that your baby may need to go to NPICU or SCN after birth, we will arrange for you to have a tour of the unit in your area. In the North & NW of the state women will be transferred to the RHH if it is thought they may be in labour or require delivery and are under 30 weeks pregnant. Sometimes babies who are born prematurely at the LGH may also need to be transferred so they can receive specialised care and treatment.

Visiting hours are unrestricted  for parents. The only children allowed into the unit are siblings.

Parents are actively encouraged to participate in the care of their baby while in NPICU and SCN, including cuddling, bathing and feeding. You may also receive support while your baby is NPICU  and SCN from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech pathologist.  This is to assist with  your  baby’s development.

If baby is in NPICU or SCN for a long time, it is likely mum will be discharged before baby, this can be very difficult. Chat to staff for support as our midwives and social workers may be able to assist with accommodation choices and provide ongoing assistance.

Care of your baby

During  your hospital stay the midwives  will assist you  in many  aspects of baby care.

Please feel free to ask your  midwives questions  as they are trained  to give the appropriate information.

Sleep

It is important to understand that baby is born with a sleep/wake pattern already in place; we call it the baby’s ‘natural biorhythms’. Therefore if you have a baby that is active in the uterus when you are in bed at night then chances are you will have an awake and alert baby at night when they are born. It can take up to 6 weeks or longer for this natural sleep pattern to turn around.

Best of all try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Be patient as there will be a time when  your family routine will be normal again.

First bath

Usually babies first bath is delayed until they are a day old so they don’t get too cold.

Ask your midwife questions, there are many things to learn about your baby at this time.

Baby’s fingernails are sometimes long and can cause scratches to their face. Be careful as the nails are adhered  to the ends of fingers until baby is about three months old, so cutting them  with  scissors or clippers before this time may cut baby’s skin. Gently peel the nails back after a bath.

  • Baby skin is new and very sensitive. Try to restrict the amount of products used on baby.
  • The more natural the better it is for baby’s skin ie there is nothing wrong  with using water to clean the nappy area.

Cord care

The cord and clamp will be still attached when you go home. The cord takes from 5-10 days to fall off. It is important  to keep the cord  area clean and as dry as possible.

  • Clean the cord with cotton buds or cotton wool and tap water.
  • Keep it as dry as possible.
  • Keep the nappy away from the cord.
  • It is not normal if the tummy  area around the cord looks red or inflamed, if this happens it is very important to have it checked by your visiting midwife,  doctor, or Child Health and Parenting nurse.

Nappy area

With baby boys the foreskin is attached to the head of the penis up until about three years of age. Therefore it is important not to attempt to retract  the foreskin as it may cause damage. Nature  has designed it like that to protect  the sensitive penis from  faeces and urine. Normal cleaning as your  baby is bathed and normal nappy care is enough to clean the penis. Infant male circumcision is not performed at any THS hospital in any circumstance including religious and cultural reasons.

With baby girls the labia are often swollen and red and sometimes there is sticky mucus which appears around the vaginal area and on occasions some light bleeding. This is caused by the mother’s hormones and will disappear soon. If you are concerned  ask your  midwife.

A light orange/pinkish stain is sometimes noted in the nappy and mistaken for blood. This is caused by a reaction between chemicals in the babies urine called urates and chemicals in the nappy fibres. If you are at all concerned please seek advice.

Unwell baby

Sometimes without  prior warning a full term baby becomes sick or requires special monitoring and may need to spend time in Neonatal Paediatric Intensive Care Unit or Special Care Nursery. If this period extends beyond the normal length of stay for the mother  then she is often discharged before the baby. This can be difficult and hard for the parents to deal with. It is important  to discuss your feelings with  the staff caring for you and your baby.

Please see information on NPICU and SCN above.

Accepting help

If friends and relatives offer help, they will often take it as a compliment  if you accept. Suggested helpful things for them  to do may include household chores, especially the odd bit of laundry or vacuuming, an occasional meal things are twice  as helpful as minding the baby because they give you more time to rest, to take time out with your partner, and for both of you to spend time with your baby. Learn to accept the offer of help.

Tasmanian Personal Health Record (Blue Book)

After the birth of your baby you will receive a Personal Health Record, a blue book, in which you may record all details about your child’s growth, development and health for the next four years. The book should be taken with you when visiting with a health professional, Child Health & Parenting Services (CHAPS) nurse, doctor, or dentist.

Getting to know your baby

During  your stay in hospital we will help you and your new baby get to know each other. To assist this we encourage “rooming  in” which means having your baby with you all the time. Visit Pregnancy Care in your area for further information on rooming in. A midwife will care for you, and assist and support you with the practical aspects of caring for your baby. This is a learning time so ask lots of questions!

Take notice of your baby after birth and understand their cues. Your baby is capable of eye contact with you (for short moments), they know your voice and this can be reassuring for them. Your baby will respond to light, sound,  facial expressions  and be capable of visual tracking with certain objects. They learn very early to protect their sleep in known environments where they feel safe. A baby communicates  through  their behaviour, watch for these cues.

Baby's communication

Babies communicate in many ways. Crying is just one way of communicating with you.

Other ways include; eye rubbing, jerky movements, yawning, rooting or sucking if hungry, not holding your gaze, grizzling.

Is your  baby?

Hungry…

Your baby has “growth spurts” regularly, so may want to feed more often to satisfy hunger. If you are breastfeeding this frequent feeding will also build up your milk supply.

Crying  is the last sign of hunger, baby will mouth about and try to suck on their hand or something else first.

Lonely…

Your baby needs to have the warmth and reassurance of your presence.

Lots of cuddles is a good thing, you can’t spoil a child with love.

Uncomfortable…

Maybe your baby is too hot or too cold, or has a wet or dirty nappy, or is wrapped too tightly, been in the same position too long.

In pain…

Baby may show this by screaming, drawing their knees up and/or generally fussing.

Tired…

Avoid over stimulation and excitement. Gentle rocking before settling will help.

Recognise the three key tired signs:

  • Grizzly;
  • Jerky movements; and
  • Facial grimacing.

When  your  baby is showing these signs, it may help to swaddle them gently and put them straight to bed. Some babies need help settling, refer to the section on Settling techniques.

Overstimulated...

Babies are learning a lot and very quickly so can get overwhelmed  and need quiet time to calm down. Signs of overstimulation include; not interested in playing, turning head away or not meeting your gaze, yawning.  If you recognize these signs give your baby even a few minutes of time and space, watch for a happy and alert baby before resuming interactions.

For further information on crying babies, see your Tasmanian Personal Health Record book (blue book), your Child Health & Parenting Service or doctor, or contact the Tasmanian Parent Helpline, telephone 1300 808 178.

There is also good information found on The Raising Children Network website

Settling techniques

There are many ways of settling and comforting your baby, and during your stay on the postnatal ward your midwife will help you to learn and practice some of these. They include:

  • Rhythmic patting;
  • Rocking/cradling;
  • Walking: with a pram or cuddling baby;
  • Carry baby in a sling against your body;
  • Baby massage;
  • Swaddling or wrapping in a bunny rug or sheet;
  • Relaxation bath;
  • Sucking;
  • Positioning baby over your knee, or arm or shoulder;
  • Nappy change;
  • Soothing and rhythmic sounds, eg lullaby, music, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, singing or talking to your baby;
  • Baby sling or hammock; and
  • Allowing someone else to hold baby.

Take time out if you are feeling angry, stressed or frustrated with your baby.

A couple of minutes time out and a breath of fresh air can make all the difference.

It is important to understand that you may try all of the above suggestions and still not settle your baby. Try to stay calm and not take it personally. It’s never OK to shake babies, owning our feelings and taking steps to prevent irreversible harm are very important.

If you need support or advice at home, telephone

CHAPS North & NW during business hours on 1300 064 544
South (03) 6233 2700 or
Tasmanian Parent Helpline on 1300 808 178.

You may also find information and videos on The Raising Children Network website to be beneficial.

Safe sleeping

It is important to be familiar with information on how to safely sleep your baby and ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is important  that you understand this information before your baby is born,  so you can be prepared and get your baby’s cot/bassinet ready.

For information  on Australian standards for infant cots visit the Kid Safe Website

When purchasing a cot the code you need to see is AS2172 to meet Australian standards.

It is THS Policy not to have your baby sleep in your bed with you.

For further information on safe sleeping visit the Red Nose website

Immunisations

Plagiocephaly (misshapen head)

It is common for a newborn baby to have an unusual head shape. This can be caused by the position of your baby in the uterus during pregnancy, or can happen during birth. Your baby’s head should go back to normal shape within about 6 weeks after birth. Flattening of the head in one area may happen if a baby lies with its head repeatedly in the same position for a long time. Sometimes  a fat spot develops when a baby has limited neck movement and prefers resting their head in one particular position.

Prevention of misshapen head

Sleep position

Place baby at alternate ends of the cot to sleep, or change the position of the cot in the room.  Babies look at fxed objects like windows,  by changing their cot position you will encourage them to look at different angles.

Tummy time and play time

Place your baby on their tummy or side to play when awake and always supervise. Change the position of toys they like to look at. Tummy  time also helps with baby’s muscle and eye development.

From as early as one  or two weeks of age you can place toys or faces in different positions to encourage your baby to turn their head both ways. Your baby can follow your voice and maintain eye contact, and turn their head themselves each way if you support their head in your hands while they are awake and alert.

Carrying your baby

Carry your baby in different positions varying the way you hold them. Speak to your Midwife if you are unsure about safe ways to carry your baby.

Talk to your Child Health & Parenting Service Nurse or GP if you are worried about your babies head shape.

Screening tests for your baby

Newborn Screening Test (NST)

The Newborn Screening  Test is a routine procedure to screen for several rare disorders. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can prevent or greatly reduce the effects of these disorders. A pamphlet explaining these rare disorders will be given to you before the procedure  is performed on your baby.

It needs to be between 36-56 hours after your baby’s first feed when the test is taken. A few drops of blood are taken from baby’s heel, collected on a special blotting paper, and sent to a laboratory  on the Mainland for testing. The blood can be taken in hospital or at home. You only hear about the results if a potential disorder is detected.

To prevent discomfort for your baby during this procedure  we advise you to feed your baby. We can also offer baby some sucrose according to the hospital ‘pain relief guidelines for babies’.

Hearing Test (National Screening)

Most children hear and listen from birth. They learn to talk by copying the sounds around them and the voices of their families. But that’s not true for all children. In fact, two out of every 1,000 children are born with a hearing loss. Many of these babies are healthy and have no family history of hearing loss. Hearing loss can be easily overlooked  because babies and toddlers cannot tell us they are unable to hear. The first few months and years are the most important time for learning speech and language. Hearing-impaired babies who receive help early have much better chance of learning to talk and understand  what people  are saying than children who are not diagnosed until they are older.

For this reason, the THS offers a trained hearing screener to test your baby’s hearing while your baby is asleep or resting quietly. The screen takes about 10-20  minutes with  results discussed at the end of the test and recorded in your baby’s Personal Health Record book.

If this is not done in hospital the screener will contact you for an outpatient appointment.

For further information  please request the Audiology Service pamphlet ‘Your baby’s hearing check’.

Jaundice

Jaundice  is a yellow discolouration of the baby’s skin due to a build up of a pigment called bilirubin. This pigment  is a product of the breakdown of excess red blood cells. The breakdown  of cells is a normal occurrence in all newborn  babies. Babies that get jaundiced are not ill, but they sometimes need help to reduce the amount of pigment  as may become  ill if this continues to increase.

If your baby becomes very jaundiced, a test to measure the level of bilirubin will be taken, and your baby may need to be placed under special phototherapy lights. These lights help to break down the bilirubin causing the jaundice to gradually subside.

Your baby will continue to room in with you during phototherapy so you are still able to feed, change and cuddle your baby.

Usually the jaundice subsides quickly over 24-48 hours with this treatment. Please ask your midwife and the doctor any questions you might have, if your baby has jaundice.

Pets and bringing baby home

Research has found that most animal accidents involving young children occur in the home from the family dog or cat. Children from ages 1 to 4 years are most

at risk. If you have a family pet try to get the animal used to being in its own bed space, before you bring your new baby home. Don’t  leave a young child alone with a dog or cat no matter  how  safe you feel the animal is. Some owners have their animals sleeping in/on the bed up until their baby comes home and the animals are suddenly put outside when the baby arrives home. Think about this while you are pregnant, and gradually get your pet into better habits before your new baby is brought home.

Planning your discharge

Your expected length of stay is 1-2 days for a vaginal birth and approximately  2-4 days for a caesarean birth.  Discharge can also occur before these times with a minimum length of stay of four hours for a vaginal birth. If your wish is to discharge against medical advice you will be required to sign a form.  You will need to discuss your discharge with the midwife caring for you.

Transporting baby home

It is a legal requirement  that baby travels in an approved baby car seat which should be properly fitted.

For further  assistance the RACT can also be contacted on 132 722 or visit the RACT website for further information

Extended Midwifery Service (EMS)

Most women go home soon after the birth of their baby, that is between  2-3 days. Midwives  are available to visit you at home to check that you and your baby are well and happy, and to answer any questions you may have, just as if you were in hospital. This excellent service is available to those who live approximately within a 30 minute drive of the hospital. If you have received your care through MGP your midwife will provide this service postnatally.

North: (03) 6777 8994 or 0419 882 039

North West: 0409 973 547

South:

Breastfeeding support clinic

LGH

Run by Lactation Consultants Monday - Friday within the first 2 weeks after discharge for anyone having problems with their feeding. For an appointment call (03) 6777 8934.

North West

Women  can contact the lactation consultant on 0409 973 547 or (03) 6478 5392 anytime during their breastfeeding experience.

RHH

Run by the Lactation Consultants for anyone having problems with their breastfeeding after discharge.  For an appointment call (03) 6166 0000

Statewide

CHAPS on 1300 064 544.

Child Health and Parenting Service (CHAPS)

The Child Health and Parenting Service (CHAPS) is a community-based  health service that is available for children aged 0 - 5 and their families and follows on from hospital care after the birth of your baby.

Child and Family Health Nurses offer families the following services:

  • Home  visit families with new babies within 2 weeks of leaving maternity services;
  • Child Health Assessments;
  • Healthy kids check;
  • Parenting information – infant feeding, sleep and settling and other concerns; and
  • Referral to other early intervention services when necessary.

Other  CHAPS activities and programs available to families

New Parent Groups

This service is available in some areas of first time parent to meet, support and learn from each other.

Parenting centre

Daytime centre-based and outreach services for families needing more intensive support for concerns related to parenting babies and young children e.g. sleep and settling, breastfeeding, postnatal depression, toddler behaviours and relationships.

CU@home

A home visiting program for young frst time parents (15-19 years of age).

The cu@home  program is via referral only and starts at 28 weeks gestation and continues until the infant is 2 years old. This program  is a part of the Child Health and Parenting Service (CHAPS) and is designed to support young parents in their transition to parenting and promote  good health outcomes for their babies. For further information visit the Department of Health Tasmania website

Wetaway program

For children over 5 years who want to overcome bed wetting call 1300 064 544.

Parent Line 1300 808 178

A 24 hour statewide telephone service that provides parents and carers support and information. NB: cost for local call or mobiles charges apply.

To find out the location of your nearest service

telephone:1300 064 544 or visit the Department of Health Tasmania website where you will also find further information on recommended schedule of visits, centre locations and opening hours.

Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line

The Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line is the first point of contact for child wellbeing and safety.  Our goal is to work with the whole community so that everyone takes on shared responsibility for the welfare of every child, ensuring that helo comes earlier, and that information, advice and assistance is provided in the right way at  the right time.

Contact: 1800 000 123