Having a baby

This is a guide for people in NSW who are having a baby. It contains information from planning a pregnancy up until the first year of a baby’s life. It can help you manage your finances, know what to expect, understand your responsibilities and find support services.

1

Planning to have a baby

Before trying for a baby, talk to your doctor about:

  • any existing health issues you and your partner have
  • you and your partner's family and genetic history
  • healthy eating and changes to your or your partner's lifestyle
  • any vaccinations you need - rubella and chickenpox vaccinations should be given at least 28 days before becoming pregnant
1

Adopt a healthier lifestyle

You can find information and support to adopt a healthier lifestyle at:

  • NSW Health - resources to help you plan a healthy pregnancy 
  • NSW Get Healthy Service - call 1300 806 258 for free telephone health coaching to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle
  • iCanQuit - online resource for smokers and ex-smokers who want to quit smoking permanently, or call the Quitline on 13 78 48
  • Your Room - treatment and support services for alcohol and other drugs
2

Plan your finances

Having a baby will mean extra costs and changes to your income and lifestyle.

Budgeting in advance can help you be better prepared when the time comes for:

  • medical costs like doctor and hospital bills
  • baby care costs like prams, car seats and child care
  • living on a reduced income, if taking time off from your job
3

What Medicare covers

Medicare can cover all or part of the health care costs of having a baby, including:

  • your GP fees
  • ultrasounds and blood tests
  • midwife and obstetric fees
  • public hospital or birth centre fees
  • fertility treatments
4

Choosing a public or private hospital

If you choose to give birth as a public patient, Medicare will cover the cost of:

  • your public hospital or birth centre stay
  • midwife and obstetric fees
  • some medical expenses like ultrasounds

If you have private health insurance, you can choose:

  • a private hospital
  • a private room in a public hospital
  • your obstetrician (in most cases)

If you decide to give birth as a private patient, there are usually out of pocket expenses that insurance won’t cover. Talk to your private health insurer to find out how much you'll need to pay. 

5

Get financial help

There are a number of different income support payments available to help with the cost of having and raising a baby.

If you're eligible, you can make a claim for some of these payments up to 3 months before your baby’s due date.

6

If you're trying to get pregnant

Your ability to get pregnant can be affected by your or your partner's:

  • age
  • lifestyle factors like alcohol, smoking, diet and weight
  • medical history
  • family and genetic history

Not everyone will get pregnant as soon as they start trying. You may want to see your doctor if:

  • you’ve been trying for 12 months or more
  • you’re over 35 and have been trying for 6 months or more
7

If you're using IVF treatment

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, your doctor may suggest using assisted reproductive treatment (ART). The most common type is IVF.

The NSW Government is improving affordable access to IVF services across NSW by:

  • offering a $500 rebate for out-of-pocket expenses related to pre-IVF fertility testing
  • expanding the availability of lower cost IVF treatment at selected IVF clinics
  • establishing a state-wide fertility preservation service for cancer patients at The Royal Hospital for Women
2

When you are pregnant

Learn more from NSW Health about having a baby and what to expect in pregnancy with:

Aboriginal maternal and infant health services provides care by a midwife and Aboriginal health worker while you are pregnant and once your baby has been born.

Expectant dads will also experience a lot of emotions and changes. You can get information on pregnancy and fatherhood at the Raising Children Network.

Read more about what to expect if you’re pregnant with more than one baby at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.

There may be specific groups for young parents, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families and for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Ask what groups are available at the antenatal clinic or maternity unit of your local hospital, your local health district or your doctor.  

You can also get access to more resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.

1

Looking after your health

What you put into your body before, during and after your pregnancy can affect your baby’s health and development.

Eating a healthy diet 

Eating a healthy diet during your pregnancy will help your baby get all the nutrients they need for their healthy development. 

Find out how the NSW Get Healthy in Pregnancy service can help you eat healthy, be physically active and stop smoking and drinking alcohol during your pregnancy.

Being underweight, overweight or gaining weight too quickly during pregnancy can increase the risk of health problems for you and your baby. 

The pregnancy weight gain calculator can help you  work out what your healthy weight gain range is during pregnancy.

Foods to avoid

There are some foods you should avoid eating when pregnant, as they can make you ill and potentially harm your baby, including:

  • soft and semi-soft cheeses
  • raw shellfish and seafood
  • raw or undercooked eggs
  • raw or undercooked meat
  • pre-prepared salads
  • unwashed fruit and vegetables

It’s also important to be careful with food preparation and food storage when pregnant, to lower the risk of food poisoning. 

    Important vitamins during pregnancy

    There are some nutrients that you need more of during pregnancy. In addition to the importance of a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking:

    • folate to help protect against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida
    • iodine for the healthy development of the baby’s brain and nervous system
    • iron to prevent you getting anaemia (low red blood cells)

    Vaccinations

    Keeping you and your family's vaccinations up to date can help protect you and your unborn baby against illnesses that are easily spread, including:

    • the flu
    • whooping cough

    Talk to your doctor about which vaccinations are safe to get during pregnancy.

    Taking medications during your pregnancy

    Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about:

    • any medications you were taking when you fell pregnant
    • if it’s safe to stop taking medications you normally take
    • any medications you plan to take while pregnant

    Dental health

    For some, pregnancy can lead to dental problems like gum disease and a higher chance of tooth decay.

    Poor dental health may affect the health of your baby and can increase the risk of premature birth.

    Having good oral hygiene reduces the chance of dental problems during pregnancy. This includes:

    • brushing your teeth twice a day
    • flossing daily
    • having a regular dental check-up

    It’s important to tell your dentist if you’re pregnant, as it can affect the dental procedures you can have done during this time.  

    Public dental services offer general and emergency dental services free of charge to NSW residents with a Medicare card who are:

    • under 18, or
    • over 18 and hold either a health care card, pensioner concession card or Commonwealth seniors health card

    Reducing the risk of stillbirth

    There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of stillbirth, including:

    • eating a healthy diet
    • avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs
    • going to all your antenatal appointments
    • monitoring any changes to your baby’s movements
    • sleeping on your side from 28 weeks of pregnancy

    Mental Wellbeing

    Along with the physical changes at each stage of pregnancy, there are also common emotional changes. 

    It is normal to experience some anxiety and for your emotions to go up and down when expecting a baby. 

    For some people, these feelings can start to affect their daily life. This is known as antenatal anxiety or antenatal depression.  

    You can get information and support at:

    2

    Working when you’re pregnant

    You don’t have to legally tell your work you’re pregnant by a certain time, but think about letting them know if you:

    • have morning sickness and are unwell
    • need adjustments at work to continue doing your job
    • need time off for medical appointments

    Your rights at work

    It is against the law for workplaces to discriminate against you if you’re pregnant, which means they can’t:

    • reduce your hours
    • fire you
    • overlook you for a promotion
    • ask if you’re pregnant or planning on getting pregnant during a job interview

    Your safety at work

    Your workplace is responsible for protecting you from any risks at work while pregnant, including:

    • heavy lifting
    • working with chemicals
    • excessive travel

    A risk assessment may need to be done at different stages of your pregnancy, or if your work duties change.

    If it’s not safe for you to do your normal job while pregnant, your workplace has to offer you a safe job at the same pay rate and number of working hours as your normal job. 

    If there’s no safe job available, you may be able to take no safe job leave.

    Types of leave

    You’re entitled to your normal leave entitlements during pregnancy. You may also be able to get other types of leave before and after your baby is born.

    No safe job leave

    You may be able to take no safe job leave if:

    • it’s not safe for you to do your normal job while pregnant, and 
    • there’s no alternative safe job available at your workplace

    You can take paid no safe job leave if you’re entitled to unpaid parental leave.

    If you won't get paid leave, you can choose to take unpaid no safe job leave.

    Special maternity leave

    Special maternity leave can be used if you’re eligible for unpaid parental leave and you have a pregnancy related illness. 

    You may need to show a medical certificate as proof.

    The unpaid leave ends when either the illness or pregnancy ends, whichever comes first.

    Taking special maternity leave doesn’t affect your unpaid parental leave.

    Unpaid parental leave

    If you’ve worked at your job for at least 12 months before the birth or expected date of birth, you may be able to take unpaid parental leave. You will need to:

    • let your work know in writing at least 10 weeks before your last day
    • specify your expected leave and return dates

    Your leave can start up to 6 weeks before your expected due date, or earlier if your work agrees.

    If you take leave once your baby is born, you may be able to get Parental Leave Pay from the government. Learn more about this and other types of income payment support in Section 7: Help with costs.

    3

    Getting medical care

    Prenatal screening tests will show if your baby is at risk of a health condition.

    If a screening test shows your baby is at a higher than normal risk, you will be offered further testing to properly diagnose the condition. 

    It’s your decision whether you take any prenatal screening tests or not. 

    Antenatal care is the check ups and tests you need during your pregnancy. It is important to attend antenatal appointments even if you’re feeling well so that:

    • your health care team can monitor the health of you and your baby
    • potential risks can be identified, prevented or reduced
    • you can ask any questions you have about your pregnancy or the birth

    The NSW Health Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service provides culturally safe antenatal and postnatal care by a midwife and Aboriginal health worker. 

    Health professionals involved in your pregnancy

      You may see a lot of different health care professionals during your pregnancy.

      You will have a choice of GP, midwife, obstetrician, or combination of these. It will depend on:

      • where you decide to give birth
      • if you're having a caesarean
      • if you've had any complications during your pregnancy

      Pregnancy support counselling

      Pregnancy support counselling is available if you want to talk about any concerns you have about your pregnancy.

      This can be provided by eligible GPs and other health professionals on referral from a GP.

      If you’re currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the last 12 months, you can claim Medicare rebates for up to 3 counselling services.

      Making a birth plan

      A birth plan is a written list of what you’d like to happen when you give birth. It’s a way to let your midwife or doctor know ahead of time what kind of care you’d like.

      When making your birth plan, think about:

      • where you want to have your baby
      • who you want with you during labour
      • if you want pain relief
      • what birthing position you want to try
      • if you have any cultural or religious needs around giving birth

      Antenatal classes

      Antenatal classes help you and your partner know what to expect during labour and after your baby is born, including:

      • the signs of labour and when to go to hospital
      • different birthing positions
      • breathing skills to use during labour
      • breastfeeding
      • newborn baby behaviour

      It’s also a chance to meet other expectant parents and share your experiences.

      Hospitals, birth centres and some community centres offer antenatal classes. There are also online antenatal classes for those unable to go to face to face classes.

      Ask your midwife or doctor about finding an antenatal class.

      The cost of antenatal classes

      The cost of antenatal classes will depend on where you live and who is running the class. Some classes are free.

      If you have private health insurance, you may be able to get a rebate on antenatal classes.

      4

      Getting prepared at home

        When preparing for your baby, there are things you can do to make your home safe, including:

        • ensuring any new baby items such as cots and prams meet Australian standards
        • correctly using new items and being aware of their potential hazards
        • putting child locks or safety gates on doors and cupboards
        • being aware of bath and pool safety

          Buy and install a child safety seat in your car

          By law, any child under 7 years who travels in a car must use a correctly fitted and properly fastened child restraint that meets Australian and New Zealand safety standards.

          Babies under 6 months must use a rearward-facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.

          Before the birth

          Before you go into labour, it can be helpful to:

          • think about how you'll feed your baby 
          • decide how you’ll get to the hospital or birth centre
          • make child care arrangements if you have other children
          • install a child safety seat ahead of time if you plan to drive home from the hospital
          • pack a bag for the hospital with things you'll need for yourself and the baby
          5

          If you’re pregnant and experiencing family or domestic violence

          Family or domestic violence can start or increase during pregnancy, including:

          • verbal abuse
          • physical abuse
          • sexual abuse
          • financial abuse
          • controlling behaviour

          Call the Domestic Violence helpline on 1800 656 463 for free telephone crisis counselling and referral services. You can also visit Domestic Violence NSW for more information.

          1800RESPECT offers confidential telephone and online information, counselling and support services. Visit 1800RESPECT or call on 1800 737 732. They have also created the Daisy app to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area.

          Find out more about the emergency accommodation options available if you need to leave your home.

          Get access to more resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.

          6

          If you didn’t plan to get pregnant

          Not everybody plans to get pregnant.

          If you’re pregnant and not sure what to do, it’s important to know your options and where to get help.

          You can call the NSW Pregnancy Options Helpline on 1800 131 231 and speak to a health professional. They offer free, unbiased and confidential information on your pregnancy options. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

          If you're considering adoption or foster care for your child, you can find out more at the Department of Communities and Justice, or call on 02 9716 3003.

          3

          Giving birth

          There are 3 stages of labour:

          1

          Pain relief during labour

          Everyone handles pain differently. Until you’re in labour, you won’t know how you’ll cope or what will work best. 

          Your ability to cope with pain will be affected by:

          • feelings of anxiety
          • how long your labour lasts
          • if your labour is during the day or at night

          There are natural ways to help cope with pain, such as:

          • relaxation and breathing awareness
          • staying active
          • changing positions
          • heat and water
          • massage
          • making groaning noises

          You may need medical pain relief. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options, including:

          • paracetamol
          • nitrous oxide (gas)
          • morphine
          • epidural
          2

          When labour doesn't go to plan

          Not all births go as planned. Complications during labour can include:

          • slow progress of labour
          • premature labour
          • if the baby’s in an unusual position
          • concern about the baby’s condition

          If your baby is premature

          Premature babies may not be fully developed and can need help with breathing, feeding and keeping warm.

          If your baby is likely to be delivered early, you may be admitted or transferred to a hospital that has special facilities for premature babies known as a neonatal unit.

          Common reasons that babies are born prematurely include when you:

          • are having more than one baby
          • have a medical condition such as pre-eclampsia or diabetes
          • have a history of premature birth

          If your baby is overdue

          Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks. Most women will go into labour within a week before or after this date. 

          If your labour doesn't start naturally, your midwife or doctor may suggest inducing labour. 

          If you don’t want your pregnancy induced and you go beyond 42 weeks, you and your baby will need to be closely monitored.

          You can learn more about pregnancy beyond 41 weeks at NSW Health.

          3

          If your baby was stillborn or has died

          You will need to register the birth of a baby if the loss was after 20 weeks of pregnancy or weighing more than 400 grams at birth.

          The death of a baby is a difficult time for parents and those close to them. There are organisations that offer support to families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a newborn:

          4

          After your baby is born

          Becoming a parent and learning how to care for a newborn baby can be a big adjustment.

          It is normal to have a lot of questions and not know what to expect.

          You can find information on caring for a newborn baby at the Raising Children Network.

          Parents with a physical or mental disability, or a learning difficulty can find out about the support services available at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.

          1

          Safe sleeping practices

          Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is a term used to describe when a baby dies unexpectedly and for no obvious reason. 

          There are safe sleeping practices that can reduce the risk of SUDI, including:

          • placing your baby on their back to sleep
          • avoiding the use of soft toys, pillows and cot bumpers
          • using a mattress that fits well in the cot so there are no gaps
          • not using too many blankets to avoid overheating
          2

          Feeding your baby

          When feeding your baby, you have the choice of:

          • breastfeeding
          • bottle feeding 
          • a combination of both

          Breastfeeding

          Breastfeeding has many benefits, as it:

          • promotes bonding between you and your baby
          • has all the nutrients your baby needs for their growth and development
          • is easy for your baby to digest
          • helps protect your baby from infections and disease

          Common issues you may experience when trying to breastfeed include:

          • breast refusal or biting
          • sore nipples
          • blocked milk ducts and mastitis
          • over or under supply of milk

          You can find information and support on breastfeeding at:

          If breastfeeding doesn’t work out

          Not everyone is able to breastfeed. Deciding not to breastfeed can be a difficult decision.

          You can get support from health professionals, mother’s groups and counsellors. 

          Bottle feeding 

          You can bottle feed with:

          • expressed breastmilk, or 
          • baby infant formula

          Baby infant formula is the only safe alternative to breastmilk. Commercial formulas have all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development. 

          When using baby bottles, it’s important to know how to:

          • clean and sterilise bottle feeding equipment
          • safely prepare, store and warm bottles
          3

          Postpartum depression

          Giving birth and looking after a baby can be a tiring and emotional time. Your hormones are changing, and it's common to feel irritable and anxious after giving birth. This is commonly known as the baby blues. 

          If the baby blues lasts longer than 2 weeks, it can be a sign of postpartum depression, which can develop any time during the first year after having a baby. 

          Postpartum depression can affect either parent. Signs include:

          • feeling inadequate as a parent
          • feeling sad and exhausted
          • feeling anxious
          • feeling guilty or ashamed
          • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
          • not wanting to be alone or go out

          It’s important to get a diagnosis and proper treatment if you think you have postpartum depression. You can talk to your doctor, midwife, local mental health service or community health service.

          Postpartum depression can be treated in different ways, including:

          • counselling
          • psychotherapy
          • group treatment
          • support strategies
          • medications

          New parents with postpartum depression can also get help and support at:

          4

          Health checks and vaccinations

          All parents who live in NSW will get the baby bundle. This is a bag filled with baby products and information to support the health, development and wellbeing of your baby.

          You’ll receive the baby bundle when you’re discharged from hospital. If your baby was not born in a hospital, you can request a baby bundle when you register their birth.

          Child health record book

          You’ll be issued with a child health record book at birth, known in NSW as the blue book. This is your baby’s main health record until they start school. 

          In the first year, your baby’s health and development is usually checked at:

          • birth
          • 1 to 4 weeks
          • 6 to 8 weeks
          • 6 months
          • 12 months

          During these check ups your doctor or child health nurse will:

          • check your baby’s hearing and vision
          • check your baby’s heart
          • check your baby’s growth and development
          • give or advise you to get any vaccinations that are due
          • discuss any concerns you have about your child’s health, development and general wellbeing 

          You can also monitor your child’s health and development using the Learn the Signs. Act Early milestone monitoring tool.

            Child and family health centres

            Child and family health centres provide a free service for all new parents in NSW. 

            Child and family health nurses offer:

            • health, development and wellbeing checks for your child
            • home visits as part of the Universal Health Home Visiting program
            • support, education and information on all aspects of parenting

            Building Strong Foundations (BSF)

            Building Strong Foundations (BSF) for Aboriginal children, families and communities services provide a free, culturally safe child and family health service for Aboriginal children.

            The BSF service works with families, parents, carers, and the local community to support the health, growth and development of Aboriginal children from birth to school entry age. 

            The service is provided by teams of Aboriginal health workers and child and family health nurses.

            Vaccinations

            Your baby’s vaccinations will need to be kept up to date to protect your baby from diseases.

            They'll also need to be up to date in order to get certain payments, including:

            • the Family Tax Benefit Part A payment
            • the Child Care Subsidy
            5

            Paperwork and applications

            You'll need to register your baby's birth within 60 days of your baby being born.

            If you had your baby in hospital, they'll give you a form, or you can apply online. 

            It’s free to register the birth of your baby. If you want a birth certificate, you can get one for a cost. 

            Your baby’s birth must be registered if you want to get:

            • Parental Leave Pay
            • Dad and Partner Pay, or
            • the Newborn Supplement

            Finalising a pre-birth claim or making a family payment claim

            You’ll need to provide proof of your baby’s birth to finalise any claims made before the birth of your baby or to make a new family payment claim. 

            You can do this by filling out the newborn child declaration that's included in the parent pack you get from your hospital or midwife.

            Completing the newborn child declaration form will also:

            • enrol your baby in Medicare and the Medicare Safety Net
            • register your baby for a My Health Record
            • enrol your baby into the Australian Immunisation Register

            Enrolling your baby in Medicare

            If you’ve completed a pre-claim form, your baby will be enrolled in Medicare as part of that process. 

            If you’re not claiming a family payment and haven’t finalised a pre-birth claim, you'll need to provide proof of birth to enrol your baby in Medicare. 

            You can do this by completing the newborn child declaration form you received in the parent pack from the hospital or midwife. This will also:

            • enrol your baby in the Medicare Safety Net
            • register your baby for a My Health Record
            • enrol your baby into the Australian Immunisation Register

            If you're a visa holder or visa applicant

            You'll need to let the Department of Home Affairs know if you've had a baby and are a visa holder or visa applicant.

            They'll confirm whether your baby needs a visa of if they're an Australian citizen.

            Making a will

            It’s common to think about the future when you have a baby. This can include:

            • making or updating your will
            • electing a legal guardian for your children if anything should happen to you
            6

            Mothers’ groups, dads’ groups and playgroups

            Mothers’ groups, dads’ groups and playgroups are a useful way to build a support network of people who are going through a similar experience.

            This can be face to face or online through groups and forums.

            Child and family health centres can also provide access to parenting groups. Find a child and family health centre near you.  

            Mothers’ groups

            You’re usually assigned a mothers’ group by your hospital, antenatal class or maternal and child health clinic. 

            If you’re not assigned a group, you can find out about local support groups through the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

            Dads’ groups

            It’s important that new dads get support and the chance to meet other new dads too. 

            You can find information on dads’ groups at your hospital, maternal and child health clinic, community centre or online.

            The not-for-profit organisation Dads Group host over 70 dads’ groups Australia-wide. If there isn’t already a group in your local area, they can help you start one.

            Playgroups

            Playgroups give parents the chance to bring children together to connect, learn through play and build social skills.

            Find a playgroup in your local area at Playgroup NSW

            7

            Getting around with a baby

            Children aged 3 years and under can travel on public transport for free. 

            If you’re travelling with your baby in a car, you must by law use a correctly fitted and properly fastened child restraint that meets Australian and New Zealand safety standards. 

            Babies under 6 months need to use a rearward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness.

            8

            If your baby has special needs

            Some babies born with special needs will need additional care.

            It can help to talk to your doctor or midwife about your baby’s condition and your options. They can also put you in touch with a support group in your local area.

            You can find more parenting resources and support services in Section 8: Get Support.

            5

            Finding child care

            Choosing an early childhood education and care service is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child.

            It can help your child:

            • learn social skills and make friends
            • improve their emotional and cognitive development
            • prepare them for school

            Types of child care services include:

            • long day care or early learning centres – for children aged between 6 weeks to 6 years old
            • occasional care – for children up to school age for short periods of time
            • family day care – based in a carer’s home with a limited number of children

            The type of service you choose will depend on availability of child care, your budget and how many days you want to enrol your child.

            Vaccinations

            Children can only be enrolled in child care if they:

            • are up to date with their vaccinations
            • have a medical reason not to be up to date, or
            • are on a catch-up schedule 
            6

            Going back to work

            If you’ve taken time off to care for your baby, going back to work can be an adjustment for the whole family.

            The Raising Children Network has information and ideas on how to prepare your family for your return to work.

            1

            If you’re getting Parental Leave Pay

            You'll need to notify Services Australia if you’re getting Parental Leave Pay and go back to work before the end of your paid parental leave period. 

            You’re considered to have returned to work if you do either paid work or more than 10 keeping in touch days.

            A keeping in touch day is a day or part day you go into work while on parental leave to stay connected to your workplace or help you transition back to work, including attending:

            • planning days
            • training sessions
            • conferences

            If you return to work early, you can transfer the unused part of your parental leave pay to another person.

            2

            Understanding your rights

            It’s against the law for your workplace to treat you less favourably because of your family responsibilities.

            If you’ve been on unpaid parental leave, you have a right to return to the job you had before going on leave, even if someone is working in that job as a replacement.

            If you reduced your hours or transferred to a safe job before going on parental leave, you have the right to return to the job you had before the reduction of hours or transfer.

            If you’re on a fixed term contract, your work doesn’t have to extend the fixed term because you’ve taken leave. If your fixed term ends while you’re on parental leave, you may not be able to return to that job. 

            If your job no longer exists

            If your job has changed or no longer exists, your work needs to offer you a job that you’re qualified for that’s similar to your old job in pay and status. 

            If this isn’t possible, you may be entitled to a redundancy.

            Flexible work arrangements

            You have the right to request a flexible work arrangement when returning from parental leave. This can include:

            • working part time
            • working from home
            • changing start and finish times

            A request for flexible work arrangements need to be made in writing. 

            Breastfeeding at work

            You have a legal right to breastfeed or express and store breast milk at work.

            It may be discrimination if your work doesn’t provide suitable facilities for you to do this.

            7

            Help with costs

            There's help available to those eligible to help with the cost of raising a child, including:

            • one-off and regular income support payments
            • help to pay the rent
            • lower health care and medicine
            • help with child care fees
            1

            Income support payments

            There are several income support payments available to help with the cost of having and raising a baby, including:

            • Newborn Upfront Payment – a tax-free lump sum payment per child
            • Newborn Supplement – up to 13 weeks per child
            • Parental Leave Pay – up to 18 weeks while you take time off work to care for your newborn child
            • Dad and Partner Pay – up to 2 weeks to care for a newborn baby
            • Family Tax Benefit – a 2-part payment that helps with the cost of raising children
            • Parenting Payment – an ongoing payment for the main carers of young children

            Rent Assistance

            You may be able to get Rent Assistance if you receive certain income support payments. The amount will depend on how much rent you pay. 

            You don’t need to submit a claim, you’ll automatically be assessed when you claim an eligible payment.

            2

            Health care costs

            If you or your family need to see a doctor or have tests regularly, you can end up paying a lot in medical expenses. There are several options for lowering those costs.

            Medicare Safety Nets

            Medicare Safety Nets is a threshold amount for out of pocket medical expenses. Once the threshold is reached, you get higher Medicare benefits back for the cost of certain services. 

            You can register as a family for Medicare Safety Nets to combine your costs, which means you’re more likely to reach the threshold sooner. 

            If you’re already registered, you’ll need to update your details to include your baby.

            You’ll already be registered if you filled out a newborn child declaration form after giving birth.

            Health care card

            You may be able to get a health care card if you get certain income support payments.

            A health care card lets you get cheaper health services and medicines.

            3

            Child care costs

            You may be able to get financial help with the cost of approved child care, including the child care subsidy and the additional child care subsidy.

            If you’re eligible, your child will need to meet immunisation requirements.

            8

            Get support

            There are many resources and support services available to help expectant and new parents cope with the practical and emotional challenges of having and raising a baby. 

            1

            Parenting support

            You can find advice, information and support about pregnancy and caring for a baby at:

            2

            Emotional support

            You can find information and support for the emotional challenges of having and raising a child at:

            Health and wellbeing support

            Support if you’ve lost a baby

            You can find information, advice and support for families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child at:

            3

            Support if you’re experiencing family or domestic violence

            You can find information, counselling, referrals and support services if you're experiencing family or domestic violence at:

            4

            Legal support

            You can find legal information, advocacy services and referrals at:

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