A reminder to all parents expecting a baby in 2012 that the Australian Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline (free phone 1800 882 436) is available if you need someone to talk to or ask advice.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be a wonderful experience but it is highly probable that there will be some moment where you will feel a little overwhelmed or out of your depth.
The helpline is a free 24-hour, seven-day-a-week support service providing general information about pregnancy, birthing, post-natal care and parenting in the first 12 months.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said since it commenced July 2010, the helpline has advised about 40,000 callers, who were mostly parents with crying babies, or parents concerned about their child's health and feeding.
In 2011, the line received calls from 11,824 people in NSW, 8659 in Victoria, 5917 in Queensland, 5629 in South Australia, 5371 in West Australia, 1541 in ACT, 724 in Tasmania and 288 in the Northern Territory.
You can gather as much information as you can take in, in nine months, but there is always the chance that your baby does something not found in a text book, so having a phone line to reassure parents is invaluable.
For more essential 'help' numbers for Australian families: Click here
If necessary, the helpline can make referrals to maternal and child health services, hospitals, and even drug and alcohol services.
"The helpline can offer assistance, from the early signs of pregnancy to advice about early labour and screening tests, to helpful hints for parents in the first few weeks, to safe sleep patterns, to growth and learning in babies," Plibersek said. She said the helpline (1800 882 436) and website are an initiative of the Federal Government to increase access to quality health information for all Australians.
Although this helpline is extremely beneficial to parents, if you are in any doubt of the health of your baby, or in a case of emergency you should call 000 immediately.
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