Parenting SA

We all want our babies to grow up strong and healthy. Knowing what babies need can help you give them the best start in life.

The first weeks and months of life are really important for babies. Happy, healthy babies get off to a good start in life.

Babies need:

  • love
  • gentle care
  • a peaceful home
  • happy times with you
  • regular health checks.

What you can do

  • Look into their eyes - tell them you love them
  • Talk with them - tell them what you are doing
  • Play with them gently
  • Read books, sing, tell stories every day
  • Comfort them when they cry.

When babies feel loved, they learn to love you too!

Keeping babies safe

  • Make sure immunisations are up to date - your doctor or nurse will tell you what they need
  • Put babies in a rear-facing capsule in the car
  • Don't smoke in the car with children under 16 years - it is against the law
  • Stay with babies when they have a bath, or are near any water
  • Never leave babies alone with pets
  • Keep small objects and poisons away from babies - they love to put things in their mouth.

Babies need clean, fresh air. Don't let people smoke around them.

Safe sleeping

  • Always sleep babies on their back - never on their tummy or side
  • Use a safe cot - no pillows, doonas, soft toys
  • Sleep baby in a cot in your room for the first 6 to 12 months
  • Don't sleep baby in bed with you - they could suffocate.

A relaxing bedtime routine is good for babies and the whole family. Babies love a bath, feed, cuddle, song or story.

Breastfeeding is best for baby and mum. It's all babies need for the first 6 months. Talk with your child health nurse if you have any questions.

Looking after yourself

When you are healthy and happy, it's easier to look after baby:

  • eat well, exercise and do things you enjoy when you can
  • see your doctor for a check-up
  • if you feel upset, talk with someone you trust
  • join a play group - share ideas with other mums and dads
  • find out about services in your area that can help you.

Looking after a baby can be hard work. If you feel angry or upset, take a break and calm down. Remember - never shake a baby.

Joining a playgroup is good for parents and baby too.

Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS)

CaFHS is a free South Australian health service with specially trained child health nurses. There are clinics across the state and you can make an appointment or just drop in. The nurses can see how baby is growing and answer any questions you have. Many clinics have Aboriginal staff.

Phone 1300 733 606 for an appointment.

The Blue Book

New parents in South Australia are given a blue book (Health and Development Record) with baby's birth details. It is used to record baby's health and development information as they grow. It is important to keep it safe and take it with you to CaFHS or other health appointments.


See parent information and support.

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Last published: 07 Aug 2020 3:40pm

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Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
02 Mar 2021
Printed on:
07 Dec 2023
The Parenting SA website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016