Free Baby Bundles for first-time parents are a step closer and Victorians are being urged to nominate their favourite children’s books to be included.

Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas today called on locals to have their say over which books by Victorian authors for children aged two years and under should be included as part of the bundle.

The Labor Government will provide Baby Bundles for about 35,000 new parents every year.

The Baby Bundles will include all the essentials parents need to help guide them through the first few months and years of their child’s life, including a nappy bag, growsuit, safe sleeping bag, muslin wrap, teething ring, information on safety and parenting, and picture books for various stages of a child’s development.

The first bundles are expected to be delivered in July.

Research shows that children who are regularly read to and who have lots of books in their homes do better in their first years of school.

All book nominations will be provided to a panel of experts in early childhood literacy and development who will make a shortlist of recommended titles. The independent advisory panel of experts will also help choose the other items for the bundle, ensuring that new mums and dads are provided with the very best advice and products.

It’s all part of the Labor Government’s $232 million plan to give new parents the information, support and care their family needs – with new parenting centres, more maternal child health nurses and round-the-clock specialist sleep advice.

The Andrews Labor Government will build seven new early parenting centres, refurbish two more and deliver a range of critical services, including day stays, longer residential stays and more support at home – helping more than 4,500 families each year.

Book nominations are open to the public until March 24. To make a submission visit engage.vic.gov.au/babybundle

Quotes attributable to Mary-Anne Thomas, Member for Macedon:

“Bringing your bundle of joy home for the first time is life changing. We are making this precious moment that little bit easier and less stressful for new mums and dads in Macedon.”

“I know being a parent is one of the toughest jobs there is. Our baby bundles will set up first-time parents with the very best tips, products and confidence they need to give their baby the best start to life.”

“Sharing books from birth is the most powerful way to boost literacy and numeracy and build your child’s love of literature. I urge everyone to nominate their favourite children’s books today.”