New babies and young children: support
Australian Breastfeeding Association – Breastfeeding helpline
If you’re breastfeeding and need help, trained volunteer counsellors can give you reassurance, information and advice about breastfeeding and overcoming common difficulties with breastfeeding. Phone the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 268 (1800 MUM 2 MUM), 7 days a week, 24 hours.
Child health checks
Child health checks are offered through child health clinics and home visits by child and family health nurses. To make an appointment, phone Community Health Intake on (02) 5124 9977, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 am-5 pm, and Wednesday, 8 am-3.30 pm (except public holidays).
This is a free 24-hour telephone health information and advice service for residents of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. Phone 1800 022 222.
Parentline provides telephone counselling by trained volunteers for parents and carers in the Australian Capital Territory. Phone Parentline on (02) 6287 3833, Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm (except public holidays).
Perinatal Wellbeing Centre
Perinatal Wellbeing Centre supports parents and families affected by perinatal depression and anxiety. It offers telephone support and face-to-face support groups in the Australian Capital Territory. Call (02) 6288 1936, Monday-Friday, 9 am-3.30 pm.
Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre
The Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre (the QEII) offers residential treatment and support for families with children up to 3 years of age. The team of expert staff can help with issues including feeding, settling and child behaviour. The QEII is managed by Tresillian. To find out more, call the helpline on 1300 272 736 (1300 2 Parent), 7 days a week, 7 am-11 pm.
Child care and early childhood education
There are 5 options for child care and early education in Australia:
- Home-based care – this is when a friend, relative, babysitter or nanny cares for your child in your own home.
- Centre-based care – this includes long day care, occasional care, preschools and kindergartens.
- Family day care – this is when an approved educator cares for your child in the educator’s home.
- Business-related creches – this is informal care offered in businesses like gyms or shopping centres.
- Outside school hours care – this is centre-based child care for primary school-age children before and/or after school, on student-free days and during the school holidays.
Playgroups are a great way for young children to practise getting along with others and try new ways to play. They’re good for parents too, with plenty of support and social contact in a relaxed, welcoming environment.
For more information or to find a playgroup near you, phone ACT Playgroups on 1800 171 882 (free call in the ACT) or (02) 6251 0261, Monday-Friday, 9.30 am-2.30 pm.
Preschool is generally for children who turn 4 in the year before starting school. Some states and territories offer preschool for 3-year-olds.
Preschool programs help children learn and develop through play. They also help children get ready for the transition to school.
Some preschools are located in public schools – you can find out more about preschools run by the ACT Department of Education. Others are run by local government, community-based organisations or the private sector.
Search the Starting Blocks website to find preschools near you.
Children with developmental delay or disability
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a national scheme to support people with permanent and significant disability.
If your child has a developmental delay or significant and permanent disability, the NDIS helps you and your child get services and support in your community. Start by phoning the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110, Monday-Friday, 8 am-8 pm.
Your mental health, wellbeing and relationships
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed or you’re struggling with your mental health or relationships, getting professional support is a very good idea. You could start by talking to your GP.
Here are more ways to get support for mental health and wellbeing:
- Call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 for mental health support.
- Check Head to Health to find online programs, forums and information on specific mental health topics.
For relationships support, call:
- Relationships Australia – Canberra and region on 1300 364 277, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm
- Family Relationships Online on 1800 050 321, Monday-Friday, 8 am-8 pm and Saturday, 10 am-4 pm.
If there are problems in your relationships like family violence, call:
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service on (02) 6280 0900, 7 days a week, 24 hours
- Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on (02) 6247 2525, 7 days a week, 7 am-11 pm
- National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732 (1800RESPECT), 7 days a week, 24 hours.