Child Health Record booklets
You will be given a Child Health Record booklet when your child is born, which may differ in colour and title between states and territories. For example, in New South Wales, parents are given a copy of ‘My Personal Health Record book’, which has a blue cover and is often referred to as ‘the Blue Book’.
A lot of information about your child will be gathered during their early checkups and this information needs to be kept together so that all the professionals who will attend to your child can see the record of their health and progress.
You need to take the record book with you whenever you visit your maternal and child health nurse or take your child to a GP, clinic or hospital. Your baby’s healthcare professional will record details of your child’s weight and other measurements, vaccinations and other important health information in the book.
Health checks from birth to four weeks
During your first week of parenthood, you’ll be given support from maternity services to help you with caring for your baby, breastfeeding, and adjusting to your new life. A doctor will check your baby’s health and carry out a number of routine tests, including a hearing test. Vitamin K and hepatitis B vaccinations are offered and are recommended.
One of the critical tests is the neonatal screening test (also referred to as the heel-prick test), which is performed when babies are about 48 hours old. This provides every newborn baby in Australia the chance to be screened for rare, but serious, medical conditions that include cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria and hypothyroidism. With early detection and prompt treatment, many complications of these disorders can be avoided.
Between one and four weeks after your baby’s birth, your doctor or maternal and child health nurse will assess your their health and check their weight and height. This appointment is often provided as a home visit, since it can be difficult to leave the home at this early stage. During this visit, you’ll be able to discuss any worries or concerns you have about your baby’s health and development, how you are feeling, and how you are going with feeding, settling and caring for your baby.
Between six and eight weeks
Your baby will have more tests and a full examination by a doctor or paediatrician at around six weeks of age. These tests monitor how your baby is growing, check for particular conditions such as heart murmurs and hip problems, and assess developmental milestones. Your baby will also receive immunisations during this visit.
At four months of age
At four months, more immunisations are scheduled and carried out, and these are for serious illnesses such as polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and hepatitis B. This appointment also provides an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns or ask for more information or advice if you need it.
Remember that there is no need to wait for a scheduled appointment to ask for assistance. You can contact your maternal and child health nurse at any time or visit a child health clinic to get more advice or information or have your baby weighed or checked.