Newborn Babies

Spend time with your new baby to get to know them, and as you develop a bond they get to know you too. This lets your baby feel safe and free to learn and explore, and helps them to form relationships throughout their life. Check this section for advice about caring for your newborn baby. You could also check our section on breastfeeding

New born baby skin to skin with mother


Crying is your baby's way of communicating. Babies often need a lot of calming, soothing and holding when they are upset.

Your baby's eyes should be checked soon after birth. If you have concerns about your baby's vision or hearing at any time, take your baby for an assessment.

Immunisation on time is the most effective way to protect hapū māmā, pēpi and tamariki from preventable disease.

The heel prick test is a blood test - it involves collecting a sample of blood from your baby's heel 48 hours after their birth. 

Immunisation protects against rotavirus - a common tummy bug that pēpi (babies) and tamariki (children) catch easily. Rotavirus causes vomiting and diarrhoea (runny, watery poo).

Every year, too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep. Find out about the best ways to reduce the risk. Make every sleep a safe sleep for your baby.

Mild jaundice is common in pēpi (babies), but baby jaundice is not always normal. If your baby has yellow skin or eyes and pale poo or dark (yellow or brown) wee, your baby needs a special blood test. See a health professional or midwife as soon as possible.

Biliary atresia is a rare but serious liver disorder that affects newborn pēpi (babies).

Tongue tie is a condition that involves a small piece of tissue connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This is called the frenulum. When a baby's frenulum is short or tight it can stop their tongue from moving properly. This is called a tongue tie. Tongue tie may cause a problem with breastfeeding for some pēpi (babies).

Whooping cough can make pēpi (babies) very sick and some pēpi can die. Having whooping cough immunisation in pregnancy protects pēpi in their first weeks of life. Start immunising pēpi the day they turn 6 weeks old to keep protecting them.

Babies have low levels of vitamin K in their bodies at birth. Without vitamin K, babies are at risk of getting a rare bleeding disorder. A single vitamin K injection at birth is the most effective way of preventing this.

To give others easy access to KidsHealth's content on newborn pēpi (babies), you can share a QR code poster. Anyone can scan one of the QR codes with their phone and go straight to the section on newborn pēpi.