What to do after having a baby

The SmartStart guide

SmartStart.govt.nz is a one-stop guide to pregnancy and caring for a baby for the first six months. Information for new parents includes:
  • how to register your baby's birth
  • applying for WINZ support and Working for Families tax credits
  • breastfeeding and safe sleeping arrangements for baby
  • baby sleep advice
  • coping with a crying baby
  • parenting classes and support
  • childhood immunisation
  • postnatal depression
  • help for children with special needs
  • returning to work and childcare subsidies

 Visit SmartStart now and see all the really helpful resources there.


Well Child

WellChild appThe Well Child app helps parents manage the health and wellbeing of their tamariki (children).

Once The Well Child app is downloaded, parents can upload a photo of their child and enter the details of anyone involved in supporting the family and child, including who their GP, midwife or Well Child provider is, and information about family health history, allergies, blood type and any details that might be needed in a hurry.

The app can also record a child's vital details such as height, weight and head circumference. This is displayed on graphs and parents can track growth and changes.  It is especially useful if there is more than one child in the family.

The app then uses the child’s date of birth, and the device calendar to automatically set reminders for important dates like Well Child check-ups and vaccinations. The Well Child version 2.0 also sends parents and caregivers’ timely, targeted, and personalised health and wellness information according to the age of their child.

The Well Child app does not replace the Well Child Tamariki Ora, My Health Book (commonly referred to as the Plunket book) but sits alongside it.

The app includes basic information from the book including first aid guidance and health advice. It has the added benefit of easy access to information on the go, or at home.

Other useful resources, such as sleep safe and parenting advice are also readily available on the app. Whānau who have been using the original version of The Well Child App (1.0) will need to download The Well Child App 2.0 to benefit from the upgraded features.  

The Well Child app was developed by the Maternal and Child Health Integration project.

The app is free to download for either IOS or Android devices from either Apple IOS or the Google play store.

Safe sleep

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is a leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand babies.

Protect your baby by giving them a safe place to sleep. You can do this by following the P.E.P.E guidelines recommended by the Hapai SUDI Prevention Co-ordination Service and endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

PEPE stands for: Place, Eliminate, Position and Encourage

Place: Place baby in their own baby bed in the same room as their parent or caregiver. If you want to be in the same bed as your baby, your baby should still be in their own bed (eg a wahakura or pepi pod). This bed must be firm and strong enough to prevent it collapsing if you or someone else rolls onto it while asleep.

Eliminate: Eliminate smoking in pregnancy and protect baby with a smokefree whanau (family), whare (house) and waka (vehicle)

Position: Position baby flat on their back to sleep, with their face clear of bedding

Encourage: Encourage and support mothers to breastfeed

Watch the video below about safe sleep.


Baby's first health check

At your baby’s birth and during the first couple of days your LMC (or specialist doctor) will:

  • check that your baby is healthy and well

  • measure your baby’s weight and head size

  • check your baby body: heart, lungs, pulses, nerve responses, sex, hips, eyes and ears

  • give your baby Vitamin K to prevent bleeding problems, if you agree to this being given

  • check your baby’s development

  • help you to start breastfeeding your baby

  • support you and your whānau looking after your new baby

  • explain the screening tests for rare problems in your baby and, after your baby is 48 hours old (2 days old), take a spot of blood from baby’s heel to send for testing.

Newborn hearing screening

Your Lead Maternity Carer, GP or hospital specialist will refer your newborn baby for a hearing test.

This may occur before you go home with your baby, and should be completed by the time your baby is one month old.

The test is simple, safe, quick and won't cause your baby any discomfort.

Read about the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme here.

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