In Germany, a lot of things in the new life are pre-arranged, specifically when it comes to tests and check-ups. To help new parents, every child is given a Little Yellow Book, in which the findings of all the pre-planned tests and checked can be recorded. This is organised nation-wide.
Of course, children have to be registered with the proper authorities. In Germany, the municipal youth department is responsible for the wellbeing of children, and they are obviously aware of all registered children. I’m not sure how different several municipalities operate, but our municipality not only sent us reminders for the check-ups, urging us to make the proper appointment with the paediatrician. They actually did something even better. In a program titled “Wie schön dass du da bist”, or “How lovely to have you here”, staff of the youth department actively contacted parents of a new child, to schedule a house visit. During that visit, they would give a small gift for the child but more importantly, provide information in several languages on parenting. Where to find the official institutions, contact information for day care, other types of care institutions, but also where to find the fun things to do with children. This serves one goal of the visit: to help parents of a new born on their way. The other goal, was a bit more hidden, I think. It’s about assessing who needs extra care and attention. Overall, I believe this approach to be very child-friendly.In the Netherlands, there’s a similar booklet, the Groei Gids (or growth guide). Both are pictured above.
A third thing to help parents on their way, is the habit of having a “Hebamme” in the home. This person, comparable to a mid-wive, but focused on the time after birth, comes to your home, to coach you in changing diapers, feeding and so on. Also, they monitor the health of a newborn in the first days/weeks of their life at home.
All in all, I think new life in Germany is very well supported by the government. Some other places could very likely take an example from this.