This free telephone service offers counselling for women and their healthcare providers concerned about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding – for example, exposures to prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, drugs, infections and radiation. Phone MotherSafe on 02 9382 6539 or 1800 647 848, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
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.
Early childhood health centres
These centres have child and family health nurses who can check your baby’s health. If you have any concerns about your baby, your small child, yourself or your family, these nurses can help. To find your nearest centre, contact Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.
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.
This organisation provides information and support to families, health professionals and the community. Karitane offers telephone support, a volunteer home visiting program, a residential facility and several education programs. Phone Karitane on 1300 227 464 (1300 CARING), Monday-Saturday, 8 am-4.30 pm.
Parent Line NSW
This is a confidential telephone advice and information service for parents and carers of children aged 0-18 years in New South Wales. Trained professional counsellors with experience in helping families will listen, give you support and assistance, and give you information about relevant issues and services. Phone Parent Line NSW on 1300 130 052, Monday-Friday, 9 am-9 pm and Saturday-Sunday, 4 pm-9 pm.
This organisation helps families with young children in New South Wales, offering day stay and residential programs. You can also get advice from qualified professionals by phoning Tresillian’s 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 Playgroup NSW on 1800 171 882 (free call in NSW) or (02) 9684 9500, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 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 NSW 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.
General parenting services and information
Infoxchange Service Seeker
This is a directory of community services in Australia. Search for ‘parenting’ to find parenting support and other services in your area.
This website is funded by Families NSW and has information about parenting education programs and events in New South Wales. It has an events calendar, a noticeboard and resources for parents and for professionals working with parents and carers of children aged 0-18 years.
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 – New South Wales 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
- NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463, 7 days a week, 24 hours
- NSW Rape Crisis on 1800 424 017, 7 days a week, 24 hours
- NSW Health Sexual Assault Services
- National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732 (1800RESPECT), 7 days a week, 24 hours.