The First 12 Months
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Newborns spend their first week of life adapting to their new environment and then as they become more aware of the world around them, their behaviour changes.
Although most babies follow a similar sequence of development, there is a broad ‘expected’ age range for achieving milestones.
Below are websites which will help you understand your baby's behaviours and needs, and what you might expect to see in your baby during the first 12 months.
If you are ever concerned about your baby’s health or wellbeing, please speak with your CaFHS nurse who can provide you with support and advice.
- Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH)
- Raising Children Network: Health and daily care - first weeks of life
- First 1000 Days: resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents
- Newborns: connecting & communicating
- Newborns: development
Pregnancy Birth & Baby
Raising Children Network
- Babies: development
- Anger Management
- Baby massage
- CPR for babies
- How to stop choking in babies - Aboriginal parents
- Tummy time for babies
- Play & learning - resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island parents
- About babies
- Growing and learning in the family
- Keeping children safe - multicultural parents
- Milestones: Children 0 to 4 years
- Growing and learning in the family
- Developmental delay
Pregnancy Birth & Baby
Circle of Security
Hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) or clicky hips, is a condition that affects the hip joints in babies and young children.
Please make an appointment with a CaFHS nurse or your GP if:
- they aren’t feeding well
- they are regularly sleeping a lot more than 16 hours a day
- they aren’t moving their arms or legs
- they aren’t following your face with their eyes or responding when they see you
- they aren’t making gurgling sounds
- they don’t startle or seem not be hearing things
- you are worried about your baby’s crying or sleeping
Source: Pregnancy Birth & Baby
Monitoring your baby's weight and height helps to check that they are growing well. If you have scales at home, you can weigh your baby and plot their growth on the charts in their ‘Blue Book’. Concerning patterns of growth may include:
- weight below the lowest percentile line on the graph
- weight above the highest percentile line on the chart
- weight increasing or decreasing across 2 or more percentile lines.
It’s important to look at how your child’s growth plots over time on the growth charts, rather than where they sit on the graph at any one point in time.
Download growth charts below:
- Girls head circumference-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
- Girls length-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
- Girls weight-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
- Boys head circumference-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
- Boys length-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
- Boys weight-for-age percentiles chart – Birth to 24 months
Growth charts for children over 2 years of age can be found under Development on our Child Health and Wellbeing: 1–5 years page.
If you are worried or would like to discuss any issues with your baby’s development, speak to your doctor or make an appointment with a CaFHS nurse on 1300 733 606.
At around 6 months of age, your baby will be ready to try solid foods. Up until this time, breastmilk or infant formula is usually all your baby needs. From six months, solid foods are needed to provide your baby with extra energy and nutrients to grow healthy and strong.
Find more information on introducing solids on our Feeding page.
Looking after your child's first (baby) teeth helps give their adult teeth a good start.
Care for your baby's teeth by:
- cleaning their teeth when they first appear with a small soft toothbrush or clean cloth.
- brushing twice a day after breakfast and before bed
- avoiding toothpaste until 18 months
- using only breastmilk, water or formula in their bottle
- not putting your baby to bed with a bottle
- Clean your baby's dummy under running water (not in your mouth).
Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your children, and others in our community against certain diseases.
Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines. In Australia vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration will register them for use. If you are worried about immunisation, talk to your GP or CaFHS nurse about your concerns. You can find out more on the Australian Government Health website.
Immunisation is a simple, safe and highly effective way of protecting children and adults from harmful diseases before they come into contact with them. It is estimated that vaccinations currently save up to 2.5 million lives worldwide each year.
Immunisation starts at birth and then immunisations are due at 6 weeks of age and at 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age with a booster due at 4 years of age.
It is important for children to complete the full recommended course or schedule of vaccinations at the recommended times. Sometimes it is possible to ‘catch-up’ the doses if the vaccinations are not given on time. Not getting the full course of vaccinations can leave a child unprotected and at risk of disease.
All vaccines under the Childhood Immunisation Program are available through your doctor, some community and Aboriginal health services or some local council immunisation clinics. See the Immunisation services page for more information.
Where to go for help
If you have any health and development concerns about your child, we encourage you to make an appointment with a CaFHS nurse on 1300 733 606 or contact your local GP for further support and information.
The Commonwealth funded Raising Children website is a great online resource for all child, family and parenting related information.