First-time mums to get free pack of baby goods and more child nurse visits

Victoria could get more early parenting centres with residential stays to provide vital baby sleep and settling support for parents.

First-time parents in Victoria would receive a bundle of essentials for their new baby under Labor plans to boost support for the youngest members of the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews said around 35,000 new parents every year would receive a free package of goods worth about $150, if his government is re-elected on Saturday.

He also pledged a $232 million investment to provide better support for mums and dads and vowed to encourage more employers to offer paternity leave.

“Being a first-time parent is a magical experience, but it can be a very stressful experience,” Mr Andrews said.

“This package is essentially about taking care of the people who are taking care of our littlest Victorians.”

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The NSW Government announced its own baby bundle in June. Source: News Corp.

What's in the free baby pack?

The baby bundle will include a nappy bag, safe sleeping bag, muslin wrap and four picture books, among other items and advice for new parents.

It’s similar to new hampers filled with baby products to be given to NSW parents from January next year.

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The new packs were announced as part of the NSW Government budget in June. While some families in NSW and Victoria would benefit from these bundles of baby goods, critics have said money could be better spent on services to prevent peri- and postnatal depression and sudden infant death syndrome.

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But money is ALSO being spent on support

Apart from baby bundles, the Victorian Labor government’s multi-million dollar investment in families would provide more maternal and childhood nurses, help build seven new early parenting centres, refurbish two more and find more home support for families.

Early parenting centres offer support including residential stays for parents who need extra help, particularly with sleep, settling and behaviour issues.

The Parenthood welcomed the announcement particularly the extra funding for parenting groups, nurse visits and practical sleep support.

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“Lots of parents experience huge amounts of upheaval when a new baby arrives,” The Parenthood’s executive director Alys Gagnon said.

“Maternal and Child Health nurses, along with new parents’ groups play a big role in providing the ‘village’ that many families rely on while they care for their infant. Funding to extend those groups, and to support extra MaCH nurse home visits for vulnerable families will be very welcome.”

DSLR picture of a modern dad feeding his Baby boy with baby bottle inside sunroom.

Dads are included in the support package, if Labor is elected in Victorian on Saturday. Source: iStock.

More support for dads

It also strongly supports the government’s plan to offer a payroll exemption to business’ that provide parental leave for dads and partners.

“Early bonding with a baby is critical to the wellbeing of a child and as a community we should be supporting dads and partners to spend as much time with their new baby as possible,” Ms Gagnon said.

Victorian Labor has already pledged to introduce free installation of car seats and funding for kindergartens in a bid to win over parent voters.

Repeat: I am not a short-order cook. "It's a child's job to learn to eat what the parents eat," says Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian and the author of Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family. Instead of the all-or-nothing scenario, offer a variety of foods at mealtime: the main course, plus rice or pasta, a fruit or vegetable, and milk. This way, your child can eat just the pasta and the peas and get protein from the milk. "What a child eats over the course of a day or a week is more important than a balanced meal at one sitting," says Stephen Daniels, the chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.