Parents should prepare for the 4–6 week check by preparing questions for the nurse and discussing how well their child is developing.

Preparing for the first check: 4–6 weeks

Help whānau prepare for these appointments by talking about the things that their nurse will be discussing.

Remind them to take baby’s 'My health book' to their appointment, or have it ready for when the nurse visits at home.

At the first visit, the nurse will:

  • ask about breastfeeding and offer help if needed
  • check baby is healthy and well and measure their length, weight and head size
  • check baby’s development and make sure they can see and hear well
  • ask about immunisation and check if an appointment for the 6-week immunisations has been made
  • talk about how the family is coping as new parents and how mum is feeling post-birth
  • talk about having sex and contraception
  • ask about smoking, drinking and drugs, money worries, family violence and so on.

It might help to look over the 4–6 weeks checklist in their child’s 'My health book'. If whānau have questions, encourage them to write them down before the visit.

Observations parents can make

They may want to do some of their own observations of baby and use the checklist to guide them. For example:

Can your baby see well? Do they:

  • close their eyes against a bright light
  • stare at people’s faces when they are up close
  • turn towards light
  • smile at you without being touched or spoken to?

Can your baby hear well? When there is a sudden loud noise, do they:

  • jump or blink
  • stir in their sleep
  • stop sucking for a moment
  • look up from sucking
  • cry?

Remind parents to talk with their nurse or doctor if they think baby isn’t seeing or hearing well.

Involving the parents in their baby’s development right from the start can build their confidence. It can also help to ensure their expectations of baby’s development is appropriate for baby’s age.

Helpful resources for whānau