About Plunket visits

Plunket visits are free, and come under the Well Child/ Tamariki Ora programme – a series of health assessments and support services provided to families in New Zealand by the Ministry of Health. 

What you can expect 

There are eight core Plunket visits, completed by a registered Plunket nurse 

We also offer additional visits from the wider Plunket team on things like sleep and settling, breastfeeding, becoming smoke-free, and starting solids.  

Plunket visits are usually under an hour, and include:  

  • getting to know you and checking in with how you’re doing – you matter, too! These visits aren’t just for your tamariki, we care about the whole whānau
  • asking what you’d like to get out of the visit. We’re here to support you in ways that work for you and your whānauWe know that each whānau situation is different, and as your baby grows and changes, so will your needs from us – and that’s great!  
  • different growth and developmental checks. These can include checking your child’s visionhearing, language and speech developmentand taking measurements (e.g. height and weight) so we can support you in tracking their growth and development.  
  • discussing if there’s any extra support you’d like from us. You might like to make some healthy lifestyle changes or need a hand accessing other support services – and we’re here to help. Plunket works alongside lots of different community support services that we can link you in with, as well as our own community services. 

These are your visits  

Please know that these are your visits – and we want them to be led by whattop of mind for you.   

If you’re interested in, or worried about something – talk to us about it. Our questions can wait.  

There’s no such thing as a silly question 

We don’t expect you to somehow magically ‘know’ how to bath a baby, change a nappy, or what different rashes mean – especially if you’re a first-time parent 

And to be honest, even if you’ve become a parent for the second or third time – every child is different, and there’s always something to learn.  

Never be embarrassed or nervous about asking a question. It’s what we’re here for.  

And if we can’t answer a question, or have all the support your situation might need, we can link you in with other services out there. Feel free to ask us absolutely anything.  

Location of visits  

Depending on your location or the age of your little one, these visits will either take place at your home, a Plunket building or mobile clinic, or a community location like a marae or church. There's also an option for virtual visits if they suit you better. 

Book a visit  

If you haven’t heard from us in a while and are wondering when your next appointment is, please get in touch with your Plunket nurse or local Plunket centre.  

If you have concerns between your visits, get in touch with Plunketline on 0800 933 922, or call your Plunket nurse as they may be able to book you in for an additional visit with themselves or a health worker. 

If you still haven’t heard back, we’re really sorry! Please get in touch with the Plunket team and we’ll chase things up for you.  

Plunket visit schedule and topics

Your first Plunket visit happens when your baby is around 4-6 weeks.

Four to six weeks  

This is your first Plunket visit, so we’ll spend quite a bit of time asking questions and getting to know you and your child 

Some topics we cover at this age:  

  • breast or formula feeding – making sure you’re happy with how this is going, and if you need any extra support or advice
  • how you’re feeling – parenthood can come with a big mix of emotions, sometimes including a low mood or anxious thoughts. Our nurses are here to support you – please talk to us if you or your partner haven’t been feeling like yourselves  

Eight to 10 weeks  

Having a newborn is huge adventure, and you’ll likely have a lot of questions along the way. 

Some topics we cover at this age: 

  • sleep (or the lack of it!) – and some guidance on how you can make sleeping safe for little ones  
  • family violence – this is something we ask everyone. Family violence is sadly a very real problem in New Zealand, and we’re here to help you feel safe at home

Three to four months  

Your little one is starting to show more emotion and may have started smiling or laughing, which is often a really special milestone for parents and caregivers.  

Some topics we cover at this age: 

  • hearing and vision – we’ll test and have a chat about your child’s hearing and vision, making sure everything’s developing as we’d expect  
  • immunisation  your little one is due for their second set of immunisations around the same time as this visit, so we’ll check in with whether you’re up-to-date with these or if you have any questions or concerns. 

Five to seven months 

Teething. Some children don’t have any issue with it – and some really struggle. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

Some topics we cover at this age: 

  • teeth – your child’s first tooth generally starts coming through at around six months old (sometimes earlier, sometimes later). We can chat about everything from pain relief for littlies, to how to care for these brand-new teeth.  
  • starting solids – children’s tummies are generally also ready to start trying solid foods at around six months old. We can talk about how you might like to go about this, or even recommend a follow-up visit with a kaiāwhina/health worker or PlunketLine nurse to check-in with how you’re both getting on.  

Nine to 12 months  

Happy first birthday!  

Some topics we cover at this age:  

  • returning to work – for many parents, their baby turning one often means heading back to work. This can be a big change, and we’re here to offer support with everything from starting childcare, to managing breastfeeding, attachment and anxiety, and the mixed emotions you might be feeling.  
  • walking – as with most baby milestones, there’s a huge range of what’s “normal” when it comes to little ones taking their first steps. At this visit we’ll have a chat about ways you can keep your baby safe when they’re on the move at home, or out and about.  

15-18 months  

Your baby is officially a toddler! But don’t believe the rumours – turning two isn’t terrible.  

Some topics we cover at this age:  

  • behaviour – little people go through a huge amount of emotional, cognitive (how they think and figure things out) and social growth during the toddler yearsThis can be overwhelming (both for them and you!) and sometimes results in challenging behaviours like biting, tantrums or running away. We can support you with some parenting techniques for how to manage this stage, and what your child might be trying to tell you with their behaviour.  
  • physical assessment of weight and height – at each visit we check the height and weight of your little person, so we can monitor any trends in their growth. It helps us pick up on any potential issues.  

Two to three years 

This might be your last visit with your Plunket nurse. Often the B4 School Check (see below) is done by a different team within Plunket, or another provider depending on where you are in the country.  

Some topics we cover at this age:  

  • healthy lifestyles – plenty of water, nutritious food, fresh air and sunshine, good quality sleep, moving around and playing, a smokefree environment and limited screen-time can make all the difference in the world to the health and wellbeing of a child – and their families! If you’d like to make some healthy lifestyle changes for your kids, we’d be happy to support you in this.  
  • communication and language – we’ll see how your little one’s language is developing and whether they can understand and follow two-part instructions like, “Can you please pass me the red circle?”  

B4 School Check  

Much like your first visit, the last Plunket visit is a big one. This is to help make sure your little one is all prepped and ready to start school. 

The check involves: 

  • a vision and hearing check  
  • the nurse assessment – like your previous Plunket visits  
  • a questionnaire – this is sent back by the early childhood centre your little one attends.  

Find out more about the B4 School Check.

Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922