Families who attended a Maternal & Child Health Appointment in 2022 were recently surveyed - check out the Summary of Results here.
Golden Plains Shire Council’s Maternal and Child Health team provides a free and confidential service for families with children from birth to school age. Support and advice is provided on family health and wellbeing, child development and parenting.
Support and assessments – support for families adjusting to parenthood and developing parenting skills.
Growth and development assessments – these are for children at 10 key ages and stages (KAS). Consultations start from birth to 3 ½ years, including an initial home visit and centre consultations at 2, 4 and 8 weeks, and 4, 8, 12, 18 months, and 2 yrs and 3 ½ years of age (refer to your Child Health record book).
Appointments are available outside of the key ages and stages visits if parents have concerns about their child’s health and/or development, parental mental health or family violence.
Health and parenting information
- Maternal and family health
- Child health and development
- Breastfeeding and nutrition
- Immunisation information
- New Parent Group and Young Parents Group
- Referral to specialist children’s, family and health support agencies
- Safety and injury prevention
- Playgroups, childcare and kindergarten information
- Community contacts
After the birth of your child the hospital will advise in writing the details of your child's birth along with your contact details.
Once our team receives this information you will be scheduled for a In-Home Visit (this will occur within the first two (2) weeks of your child's birth). A Maternal & Child Health nurse will contact you to introduce the service and confirm the appointment.
During your home visit, the nurse will give you information about further Maternal and Child Health visits and services, where your nearest centre is, and how to contact the Maternal and Child Health Line, a 24-hour telephone service staffed by qualified maternal and child health nurses.
Nurses involve parents in assessing the development and wellbeing of their child using the Parents Evaluation of Development 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:
To book in or change/cancel your next Key Age and Stage appointment, please call 03 5220 7230.
The Enhanced Maternal & Child Health Service is a more targeted service for families who may need some extra support, such as families with babies who were born prematurely or with a low birth weight, children with a disability or parents experiencing mental health issues.
Referrals for the enhanced service are made by your Maternal and Child Health Nurse.
All first-time parents within the Shire are invited to join a First Time Parents Group (FTPG) after the birth of their first baby. In the Northern part of the Shire, groups are held at Smythesdale and in the Southern end they are held at Bannockburn and generally run for a 6 week period.
Sessions are facilitated by a Children’s Services Development Officer with support and input from MCH nurses and other professionals. Topics generally include: Sleep and settling, Introducing Solids & Maternal Health.
These groups are a great way to meet other first time parents in the area.
The arrival of a baby is a big change in your life.
The Baby Makes 3 sessions focus on building and maintaining healthy relationships and will assist parents to manage the changes they experience during the transition to parenthood. Both parents are invited to attend two sessions (with your baby).
Baby Makes 3 is a unique, evidence-based health promotion and social change initiative that provides support to new parents and shapes attitudes and social norms by challenging outdated gender expectations of becoming a parent. Baby Makes 3 is delivered by a male and female facilitator from different backgrounds. These sessions will be run in the evening to enable both partners to attend. A light supper will be provided. Parents will receive an invite during First Time Parent Group.
The delivery of sessions is subject to facilitator availability.
Golden Plains Shire Council Maternal and Child Health Service is now offering the INFANT program to support families with children from birth until 2 years of age.
What is INFANT?
INFANT (Infant Feeding, Active play and Nutrition) is designed to help parents and families with healthy eating and active play from the start of their baby's life.
INFANT consists of group sessions for parents or caregivers led by a nurse or other practitioner, with content reinforced via a mobile app called My Baby Now. INFANT promotes healthy eating, increased active play, and reduced screen time for babies from birth until 2 years of age.
This content is delivered through the First Time Parent Groups.
INFANT helps children
- Reduce sedentary time (children watched 25 per cent less television)
- Mothers consistently reported high levels of program usefulness and relevance.
- Improved diet (children consumed 25 percent fewer sweet snacks and had improved dietary quality).
INFANT helps parents
- Improve dietary patterns of mothers.
- Improve mothers' knowledge and self-efficacy.
- Improve infant feeding practices.
- Connect with other parents and services locally.
Speak to your Maternal and Child Health Nurse or call MCH Admin on 5220 7230
Through the Victorian Government Maternal and Child Health Sleep and Settling initiative, we are providing support for parents who are interested in finding out more information regarding sleep and settling in relation to their young children.
During these sessions, we will discuss evidence-informed sleep and settling tips and ideas.
These will include.
- Age specific development
- Normal sleep patterns
- Ways to deal with sleep difficulties
- Information about your well being.
There will be time at the end of the session for you to ask questions about your specific situation.
In addition to the sessions, if needed, we can also provide individual outreach for interested parents. Speak to our Sleep and Settling facilitators at the end of the session for more information, or talk to your MCH nurse.
Each session will be facilitated by a Children's Services Educator.
Families and caregivers can also access sleep and settling support through the 24/7 MCH helpline - 13 22 29.
For more information please contact us on [email protected] or call 5220 7230.
Sleep and Settling fact sheets.
Typical Sleep Behaviour
- Newborns 0 to 3 months
- Babies 3 to 6 months
- Babies 6 to 12 months
- Toddler 1 to 2 Years
- Toddler 2 to 3 Years
- Pre-schoolers 3 to 5 Years
Preventing Sleep Concerns
Solutions to Sleep Concern
- Babies 6 to 12 Months
- Toddler 1 to 3 Years
- Pre-schoolers 3 to 5 Years
- Self-care & support for parents and caregivers of young children
- Typical Sleep Behaviour information in Community Languages
Download the free Maternal and Child Health app for trusted information matched to the age of your child, at your fingertips. The app can also track your child's growth and remind you about upcoming MCH appointments or immunisations.
Victorian families can obtain extra support by calling the Maternal and Child Health Line on 13 22 29. This is a 24-hour telephone service staffed by qualified Maternal and Child Health nurses.
The telephone line provides over-the-phone information, advice and referral to all families with young children.
To book, re-schedule or cancel an appointment please call the Early Years team on 03 5220 7230.
Services are provided at the following centres:
- BANNOCKBURN: Bannockburn Family Services Centre, 2a Pope Street
- INVERLEIGH: Inverleigh Kindergarten, 23 Dundas Street
- MEREDITH: Meredith Community Hub, 4 Russell Street
- ROKEWOOD: Rokewood Kindergarten, 38 Aitchison Street
- SMYTHESDALE: The Well, 19 Heales Street
- TEESDALE: Teesdale Kindergarten, 1107 Bannockburn-Shelford Road
When your baby was born, you should have received a copy of My Health, Learning and Development – green book. This book belongs to you and your baby and is full of information about early child development, services and support.
Always take it with you when you visit your nurse, doctor’s surgery or dentist, and get health professionals to complete entries after each visit. It should also be used to record immunisations.
Each time you see your Maternal and Child Health nurse, jot down any issues or concerns and fill out the sections on your child’s growth and development. If you keep it up to date, it will become an important family record from birth to adolescence.
If you don’t have a ‘green book’, let your nurse know.
Why go to see the MCH nurse?
Maternal and child health nurses will work with your family to help you care for your child until they are ready to start school.
You will visit your nurse at 10 key ages and stages in your child’s development.
Maternal and child health nurses can:
- give information, support and advice on a variety of topics (including parenting, development and learning, child health, family health and wellbeing, safety, immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition and family planning)
- monitor your child’s growth and development in a series of one-on-one consultations at specific times in your child’s early years
- help with sleeping, feeding and behaviour problems
- organise parents’ groups where you can get information and have the chance to meet other parents in the local area
- tell you about other local support services
- organise additional activities based on your family’s needs (for example, arranging home visits when you are unable to visit a centre)
- help to contact specialist services if necessary (such as early parenting centres)
- offer additional support and services to families experiencing difficulties.
What should I take when I go to see the nurse?
Please bring your 'green book', a blanket, clean nappy and wipes (if required) and a change of clothes.
What training does an MCH nurse have?
Maternal and Child Health Nurses are registered nurses and midwives with additional qualifications in family and child health.
What do I do if I am really worried about something?
Parents and carers in need of urgent medical advice should seek medical attention and in the case of an emergency call 000 and ask for an ambulance.
When your local Maternal and Child Health nurse is unavailable, you can call the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Line on 13 22 29. This is a 24-hour telephone service staffed by qualified Maternal and Child Health nurses. They will provide over-the-phone information, advice and referral to all families with young children. If you are happy for them to, they will also notify Council’s Maternal and Child Health team to let them know about the call, so that we can also contact you and provide further support.
Telephone: 13 22 29
Is there a way for me to track my child’s development and appointments?
My Health, Learning and Development book, known as the ‘green book’ is a fantastic way to track your child’s development and you should always take it with you when you visit your nurse, doctor’s surgery or dentist and so that you can take notes to refer back to later. Your child’s immunisations will also be recorded in this book.
Another great option is the Maternal and Child Health App for your mobile phone. This free App is a resource your family can use every day for trusted information on child and maternal health. Features include, information on popular child health and development topics, click to call emergency contacts and prompts for upcoming MCH appointments.