Maternal & child health

The arrival of a new baby makes a big difference to family life. Our Maternal and Child Health service can assist with these changes. It is free and available to all families with children from birth to six years of age.

Maternal and Child Health nurses are registered nurses with additional qualifications in midwifery and maternal and child health. The nurses have the knowledge and experience to deal with all aspects of child and family health and wellbeing.

The service provides information, support, advice and referral on:

  • child health and development
  • breastfeeding
  • nutrition
  • play and learning
  • maternal/paternal health and wellbeing
  • accident and injury prevention (including safe sleeping)
  • home safety
  • immunisation
  • local support services and resources

Our nurses contact new parents after their child’s birth, approximately within one week of being home, to organise the first home visit*.

Families who move to Moonee Valley with young children are also invited to contact us on 9243 8888 to find out their closest Maternal and Child Health Centre.

*If parents have not been contacted within this time and/or have pressing questions please contact our Maternal and Child Health Support Officer on 9243 8888. Extra visits are available where particular needs are identified for an infant and family.

Key ages and stages visits

Nurses involve parents in assessing the development and wellbeing of their child using the Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) screening tool. At these visits nurses discuss the health and development of the child, physical and emotional effects on the family, parent health and wellbeing and any concerns families may have.

There are 10 key ages and stages consultations that coincide with the child’s milestones from birth to 3.5 years:

Additional services

We also offer additional support for parents, including:

  • new parent groups and transition into playgroups
  • breastfeeding support clinics
  • sleep and settling telephone support
  • information sessions on a range of topics

Where families require additional support, a home visiting program by a Maternal and Child Health Nurse is available. The nurse provides families with extra support and guidance in their own home environment. To refer, contact a nurse in one of our centres.

New parents groups and playgroups

Our nurses deliver a 7 week program for new parents offering parenting information on health, wellbeing and family matters and the opportunity to make friendships with local families. Partners are also invited to attend. Your Maternal and Child Health Nurse will organise your invitation.

Near the end of the program, parents are supported to transition into community playgroups. The playgroups provide parents and caregivers with the opportunity to meet new people, gain support and exchange parenting ideas. Find out more about playgroups.

New parent group resources

Here are links to the resources for each week of the program:

Week  Links
Week 1: Adaptation to parenthood
Week 2: Sleep settling
Week 3: Physical health and recovery after birth
Week 4: Childhood illness
Week 5: Play and development
Week 6: Infant massage
Week 7: Introduction to solids

Like us on Facebook for useful information throughout the week!

Abecedarian 3a

We are giving families and children the best start in life through the revolutionary 3a (Abecedarian Approach Australia) program. Read more about the Abecedarian program.

Day by Day: Learning Together app

Day by Day: Learning Together is an app for parents of children from birth to 3 years. It provides evidence-based activities that will support their child’s learning and development, and is a fun and interactive tool for parents to use with their children everyday.

Day by Day is based on the Abecedarian Approach which is an evidence-based program. Longitudinal research has shown that engaging, playful, and content-rich adult-child interactions from birth result in long-lasting improvement in the school and life achievement of children.

To download the app, visit Google Play (for Android users) or the App Store (for iOS users).

Behaviour Tips

18 months

At 18 months children are learning by exploring the world around them. Toddlers come in all shapes and sizes, but toddler development at around 18 months typically has a few things in common. Here’s what your toddler might be doing and how you can help.

Topic  Links

Fussy eating 

It is common in this age group to become fussy with food.

Tooth brushing

Tooth brushing is an important night time routine which can be difficult with increasing independence.

Living with toddlers

Toddlers are learning about their world and parents can help their learning by understanding their needs.

Parents can teach children about how the social world operates through teaching acceptable behaviours.

Preverbal children demonstrate their emotions physically, here are some tip sheets about tantrums, hitting and biting.

2 years

Toddlers come in all shapes and sizes, but toddler development at 2-3 years typically has a few things in common. Here’s what your toddler might be doing, how you can help.

Topic Links

Behaviour

Working on the positives can build good behaviour. 

Toilet training

Independence means learning lots of good things too, like toilet training!

Managing emotions

A large task of the next few years is to learn to manage emotions it takes practice!

Habits 

Parents often worry about the many habits that children have at this age and when it's a problem.

Sibling rivalry

Often at this age, the family is growing. Here's how to help your child cope with a new family member.

Night issues

As little brains learn more and become more imaginative, some night issues can arise.

Anxiety in children

Sometimes the world is a bit too much to manage, here's some information on recognising anxiety in children and ways to help.

Tantrums, hitting and biting

Preverbal children demonstrate their emotions physically.

Sleep and Settling 

3.5 years

Learning to negotiate and control emotions is a big task of this age. Here are some tool kits to help parents to manage this learning.

Topic Links

Preschool toolkits

Shyness

Feeling confidant socially is a learnt skill that some find easier than others.

School readiness

Getting ready for school and the ability to manage in a big playground by themselves requires some skills of resilience.

Sibling rivalry

Often at this age, the family is growing. Here's how to help your child cope with a new family member.

Behaviour

Working on the positives can build good behaviour.

Toilet training

Independence means learning lots of good things too, like toilet training!

Sleep and Settling 

Information for dads

Significant evidence suggests that when fathers take a positive and active role in the nurturing of their children, this benefits the wellbeing and development of the child, the family unit and the broader community. Here are some resources to support dads with the important role of parenting.

Resource Links 
Congratulations you’re a dad
Blogs and websites
Books
  • Men at Birth edited by David Vernon
  • The Dad Factor by Richard Fletcher
  • What Happens Now by Nick Carr
Apps
Men's health resources
Breastfeeding information for fathers
Family violence support and services
                               

Kinship carers

Kinship care is provided by a family member, close friend or other significant person in a child or young person’s life, when they cannot live with their natural parents. It is the fastest growing form of care for these children and young people. In Victoria, over 60 per cent of children and young people in out-of-home care are placed with a kinship carer.

Kinship Carers Victoria believes that kinship care is the most effective form of out-of-home care, and offers children and young people the best outcomes. It ensures that they stay with people who are familiar to them, reducing the level of trauma they experience. Importantly, it provides great opportunity for ongoing family connections to be maintained.

If you are interested in joining our Kinship Carer’s Network Group who meet monthly at Milleara Integrated Learning and Development Centre please speak to your Maternal and Child Health Nurse. Read more or download a copy of the Kinship Carer's Manual.

Sleep and settling information for families

Birth - 3 weeks

The first three months is often referred to as the fourth trimester as babies adapt to living outside the womb. We recognise that it takes time for parents and babies to adjust to this change.

Topic Links
Understanding sleep, sleep options, sleep environment

Safe sleeping, safe wrapping and tummy time

Safe sleeping for twins

Colic crying and unsettled babies
Newborns interaction with parents

Babies 4 weeks - 3 months

This age is a time of rapid growth for babies. They often need plenty of support from parents during this time of development. Between 1-2 months of age most babies might cry and fuss more – this is a normal part of development and will pass in time. Every baby is different, but crying and fussing usually peaks around 6-8 weeks and starts to settle at around 12-16 weeks.

Topic Links
Sleep settling, about normal sleep and some settling strategies

Settling, tired signs, soothing and settling to sleep

How much sleep is enough sleep for babies?
Sleep, settling and temperament
Sleeping in the early weeks of life: feed, play, sleep routines

Babies 3-6 months

From 3-6 months of age, babies begin to convey their needs more clearly. Their feed, play and sleep patterns become more settled and tired signs more obvious. Sleep times continue to vary, but patterns of sleep do emerge. Generally, infants are capable of longer sleeps and usually have 2-3 sleeps a day. Predictable routines associated with sleep create security for children and are an important part of the settling process.

Topic Links
Understanding sleep

When to stop wrapping your baby

What to do when my baby is rolling
Feed: play: sleep routines, sleep needs and tired signs
Independent sleep
Solving sleep problems

Babies around eight months

From around eight months some parents are happy to wake with their child at night, others may be interested in learning strategies to support their children to sleep for longer periods of time. This is a personal and individual choice for each family.

Topic Links
How baby's development can affect sleep

Sleep and settling strategies for babies around eight months of age

Changing your baby's sleep routine

Dummy independence

From around eight months, most babies can learn to manage their own dummies during the night. This is called dummy independence

Amber beads

If you choose to use amber beads/jewellery - ensure they are removed before your baby is put down to sleep

Head banging/rocking

Toddlers 1-3 years

Toddlers benefit from a predictable and positive bedtime routine. Aim to make the hour before bed a “wind down” screen free time. Enjoy some quiet time together with a cuddle, story book or song. Complete last drink of milk for the day and clean teeth before bed.

 

Topic Links
Development: what to expect
Sleep association

Sleep and settling strategies for toddlers

Transitioning from a cot to a bed
Getting children to learn how to stay in bed
Supporting children to sleep away from home 0-4 years

 

Sleep and settling support options

Moonee Valley City Council Sleep and Settling Telephone Support Service

If your baby is over eight weeks of age and you are seeking more information and advice on settling your baby telephone support is available, please discuss with your Maternal and Child Health Nurse.

Public and Private Early Parenting Centres

Visit The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne or the Better Health website.

Creepy Crawlies and Walkie Talkies

Drop-in information and assessment sessions are available for families with questions and concerns about their children from birth to preschool ages. Sessions are provided by Allied Health Professionals from Cohealth in partnership with our maternal and child health nurses.

Locations

Maternal and Child Health services often share facilities with child care centres, kindergartens or community centres. Families have access to multiple services in one location and foster connections with the local community. Staff work collaboratively and exchange perspectives on children as they interact in a range of environments. Privacy is respected and parents are involved and informed about the conversations.

Our centres welcome all mothers who are feeding to drop in and use the waiting rooms for feeding and baby care.

Location Contact details
Hopetoun 220 Racecourse Road, Flemington
8325 1833 or 8325 1832
Wingate 13A Wingate Street, Ascot Vale
9376 4609
Ascot Vale 147 Maribyrnong Road, Ascot Vale
9370 6852
Moonee Ponds 20 Shuter Street, Moonee Ponds
9243 1899
Aberfeldie 13 Beaver Street, Essendon
9243 1889
Avondale Heights 14-22 Clarendon Street, Avondale Heights
9243 1620 or 9243 1621
Airport West 97 McNamara Rd, Airport West
9338 2049
Milleara Integrated Learning Development Centre 1-5 Keilor Park Drive, Keilor East
9289 1504 or 9289 1505
Montgomery Park 47 Lawson Street, Essendon
9375 1235
Strathmore Children's Centre 40 Loeman Street, Strathmore
9243 1206 or 9243 1207
                                         

For more information

Maternal and Child Health Line

This telephone advice service is available throughout Victoria for the cost of a local call 24 hours a day and is staffed by Maternal and Child Health nurses. Call 13 22 29.

An interpreter service is available. The service is also available to deaf callers who have access to a telephone typewriter (TTY).

Maternal and Child Health app

The Maternal and Child Health app provides reliable information that Victorian families can use every day. See information relevant to your child's age and development, useful contacts, and ask the 'Virtual Maternal and Child Health Nurse' questions - with reliable, evidence-based replies you can trust.

Download the Maternal and Child Health App from the app store.

Maternal and Child Health Facebook page

Our Maternal and Child Health Facebook has been created by our nurses with the aim to provide current, helpful and evidence based information. If you find a post helpful, or it is something that you are interested in, please “Like” or share the post. Please note this page does not provide urgent support or specific case advice.

Other useful support organisations

The Maternal and Child Health team recommends the following websites for more support and information:

Customer satisfaction

We are committed to providing the best possible service to families.

Sometimes despite the very best of efforts there may be an issue about service delivery that needs to be discussed. Parents are encouraged to discuss issues with your Maternal and Child Health nurse or call the Maternal and Child Health Coordinator on 9243 8888.

For further information please refer to the Maternal and Child Health Procedure for Managing Complaints (doc,25KB).

Last updated: Sunday, 21 October 2018, 8:22 AM