What we're doing about baby care

A baby’s early care can affect wellbeing throughout life. Find out what we’re doing to ensure health testing, vaccination and care for newborns, and support for new parents.

We fund the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website to support new parents, including information on what to expect from your baby in the first few days

Newborn health screening

Healthcare providers offer bloodspot screening to all babies born in Australia. This blood test detects certain rare genetic conditions and metabolic disorders. It aims to identify those at risk of developing a serious condition, allowing early treatment. 

You will also be offered a hearing test for your baby in the first few weeks of their life. About 1 to 2 newborns in their first 1,000 days have significant hearing loss. Finding this out early allows babies to get early treatment. This helps minimise effects on speech or language development. 

Our national framework outlines Australia's approach to screening all babies for hearing impairment. 

Vaccination for infants

A series of free vaccines is available to children aged 0 to 4, under the National Immunisation Program. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect babies and children against serious childhood diseases. 

Physical activity guidelines for infants

Being active is important for babies and young children to grow healthy. It sets good habits for life. Babies should have a mix of physical activity, inactivity and sleep in each 24-hour period. Physical activity for young children mainly happens through unstructured, active play.  

Learn about physical activity guidelines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers

Mental wellbeing for new parents

Being a new parent brings many changes and challenges to life. Physical, financial and social changes – along with reduced sleep – can challenge our mental health. 

We fund programs to ensure new parents can get mental health support, including, on the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website. This has information and sources of support for common mental health issues new parents can face. These include: 

The first 5 years of a child’s life is so important for a healthy future. We set up the Maternal Health and First 2000 Days/Women’s Health initiative to support research on how to give Australian children the best start in life. 

Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Culturally safe health care is critical to making sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families thrive.  

We fund family health initiatives to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families stay healthy at every stage of life, including during pregnancy, birth and the early years. This includes investment in Birthing on Country services.  

Get Up & Grow resources help parents and educators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make sure they eat healthy foods and are physically active, so they grow up healthy and strong. 

The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) supports women who are pregnant with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander baby. Nurses provide mums with support and guidance at home from early pregnancy until their baby is 2 years old. 

Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.