As a sometimes anxious parent, I am regularly scouring the internet for the answers to my children's various ailments. After looking at the information from several sources, I've come to the following conclusions about the best online resources for baby health:
1. In my opinion the best online resource for medical issues for babies is the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Kid's Health Info Fact Sheets. It is comprehensive, well researched and provides unbiased, practical advice. Sometimes it is easier to use if you have a diagnosis first, either from your health care professional or by using one of the sites below that are easier to randomly search. Then come back to the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne website for confirmation of the specific diagnosis, whether you need to be worried and treatment options.
Royal Children's Hospital Logo
2. For broader information about baby wellbeing that is not necessarily medical in nature, the Raising Children Network is an Australian government website with a mix of reference material and personal accounts, some of which feature Australian celebrities. In addition to the fact that the content is local, I like that this site acknowledges the role of dads in raising babies, which seems to be overlooked on some other sites. Mums who give birth in public hospitals will get an introductory DVD about this website, which is how I came across it initially.
Raising Children Network Logo
3. Healthy Hints has an ever expanding library of articles in the categories of Pregnancy and Birth, Children's Health and Healthy Parenting. I like these articles because as a contributor to the site I know they are edited before publication. They usually provide a perspective that is not available on the single sponsor websites below and often offer natural, inexpensive alternatives to brand name treatments or products.
4. The single sponsor sites. Two of the biggest ones are BabyCenter which is spelt with an "er" not an "re" because it originates from the United States. The site has a range of articles sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, but I haven't found the product push too overwhelming. The articles are mostly helpful, but sometimes more opinion than fact. A fantastic resource on this site is the visual guide to baby poo which has ten photos of different kinds of baby poo and what they are likely to mean for your baby's digestive health. You might find the thought of this off-putting, but when your baby's poo suddenly changes colour or consistency without warning, this visual guide is invaluable. Similarly the Huggies baby and toddler care website has a range of articles, but there is a strong push in the articles towards Huggies products, which I found a turn off.
Stay away from the forums unless you are really desperate for information that you cannot find anywhere else, because I have found them largely to be a case of the blind leading the blind.
Snapshot of the BabyCenter's guide to baby poo
Always remember that the internet is only one source of information. Your local doctor, maternal child and healthcare nurse, family and friends will also be great resources to give you health advice when you need it. I'm sure there are more websites out there, so if you have one that you have found really useful, please add it to the comments below.