Planning for Another Baby
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Just for You

There are always new things to learn about being a parent.

Be kind to yourself and remember to take time for you.

This section has links to issues that are important for parents. Please click on one of the icons below to explore a topic.

Benefits, 0-1

As a parent of a child between the ages of 0-1 years old, there are some benefits you can get. These are described below.

Maternity Benefits

You can apply for these through Employment Insurance. Your workplace may also have coverage.

  • These benefits are only available to new moms and surrogate moms.
  • You need to have worked 600 hours over the last 52 weeks. You have to prove this by sending in an original copy of your Record of Employment. This is given to you by your employer. If you had more than one employer during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each work place.
  • You cannot apply for these benefits before you are 8 weeks away from your due date.
  • Benefits end 17 weeks after you have your baby.
  • If you work while on benefits, the government will subtract whatever you make off of the benefit they give you.

Parental Benefits

You can apply for these through Employment Insurance. Your workplace may also have coverage.

  • Both parents can take these benefits. You can take them at the same time or one after the other.
  • These benefits are given for a total of 35 weeks. The 35 weeks is shared between both parents. You can add these benefits to your Maternal Benefits for a total of 52 weeks.
  • You need to have worked 600 hours over the last 52 weeks. You have to prove this by sending in an original copy of your Record of Employment. This is given to you by your employer. If you had more than one employer during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each work place.
  • If you work while getting this benefit, the government will take off $50.00 a week or 25% of your pay cheque; whichever is higher.

Canada Child’s Benefit

The Canada Child’s Benefit helps eligible families with the cost of raising children from 0-17 years of age. This is a tax-free, monthly benefit. Eligibility for the benefit, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your income tax return. Both parents have to file their income tax for this to be determined. To receive these benefits, parents have to fill out an application form.

GST Credit

The GST credit is a tax-free payment that is received 4 times a year. This credit helps low or modest income families. Eligibility to this benefit is based on your filing your income tax. There are no extra forms that need to be filled out. Both parents have to submit their income tax.

Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit

The Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit is tax-free. The payment is combined with the GST credits above. Eligibility is determined through your income tax return. Both parents need to submit their income tax returns. For more information, click here.

Child Disability Benefit

The child disability credit is a monthly, tax-free credit. It is available to families who care for a child under 10 years old who has a disability. Your healthcare provider will need to fill out a form that says that your child has a severe and long-term disability. You can find out more information here at the Canadian Revenue Agency.


Benefits, 1-5

Canada Child’s Benefit

The Canada Child’s Benefit helps eligible families with the cost of raising children from 0-17 years of age. This is a tax-free, monthly benefit. Eligibility for the benefit, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your income tax return. Both parents have to file their income tax returns and fill out an application form.

GST Credit

The GST credit is a tax-free payment that is received 4 times a year. This credit helps low or modest income families. Eligibility for this benefit is based on your income tax returns. There are no extra forms that need to be filled out. Both parents have to submit their income tax returns.

Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit

The Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit is tax-free. The payment is combined with the GST credits above. Again, eligibility is determined through your income tax returns. Both parents need to submit their income tax returns.

Child Disability Benefit

The Child Disability Benefit is a monthly, tax-free credit. It is available to families who care for a child under 10 years old who has a disability. Your healthcare provider will need to fill out a form that states that your child has a severe and long-term disability. You can find out more information here at the Canadian Revenue Agency.

Building Support

You and your child need a support system. A support system is a group of people and agencies that can support you when you need it.

People in your support group can include:

  • friends and family
  • people from your community, like members of your book club or your child’s coach
  • professionals and organizations, like a food bank or parent support group

Click here to do an exercise to figure out who can support you.

Give your child the chance to meet and play with other children. This will help her to build resiliency skills and develop mental health.

Opportunities for your child to meet other children include:

  • attending community events
  • going to friends or relative’s houses
  • participating in child-focused programming
  • helping with chores outside of your house, like grocery shopping

Let your child play with other children his own age. It is also good if he has relationships with trusted adults outside of your family. This will build his support system.

Fathers

Not all children have fathers in their lives.

For those who do, it is important to recognize that fathers play a unique role in their children’s lives. Fathers who are involved in parenting and their children’s lives can have many positive impacts on their children.

Fathers who are involved with their children have more confidence as a parent, have more connections to their families, and are happier in future friendships and relationships. Children who have involved fathers also have better problem-solving skills, are less impulsive, have higher self-esteem, can regulate their emotions, are empathetic, and are less aggressive.

For more information about fathering, please go to Dad Central Saskatchewan.

Who Can Support You?

Creating a support map will help you figure out what supports you have and what supports you still might need. Click here to print out this form.

What areas do you need support in? Use the space to add details for your particular situation.

  • Chores and errands
  • Financial support
  • Practical advice
  • Spiritual support
  • Physical comfort
  • Child care
  • Community resources
  • Emotional support

What qualities do you look for in a support person/organization? List people who you can turn to for this quality.

  • Trustworthy
  • Good listener
  • Available emotionally
  • Good judgement
  • Empathetic
  • Understanding
  • Patient
  • Willing to give advice
  • Sense of humour
  • Non-judgemental

Adapted from Trauma Academy. (n.d). My Trauma Recovery.

Below is an image that you can print off and then fill out. It will ask you to name your supports in three different areas: close friends and family; community; and professionals and organizations.

After you finish filling this out, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Which supports are just for me? Which are just for my child?
  2. Do I have supports in all three areas? If not, what is missing?
  3. Does my child have supports in all three areas? If not, what is missing?
  4. Do your supports meet all of the needs that you have checked off above?
  5. If they don’t, what is missing?
  6. Do your supports have the qualities that you look for in support people/organizations?
    1. If there is a person or an organization that you answered “no” to for the above question, ask yourself if that person or organization is really a support to you?

Caregivers’ Mental Health

Do you have a mental health concern? Do any of your child’s other caregivers have a mental health concern? Many people who experience mental health concerns are great caregivers. There is support available for you as a caregiver.

Sometimes, caregivers who are experiencing mental health concerns are not always able to take care of their children in a sensitive and consistent way. For example, you may be hospitalized and, therefore, have breaks in your relationship with your child. It may also be difficult to be there for your child emotionally. This can impact your child’s ability to form a secure attachment to you.

Your child may develop some behavioural, learning, mental, and social problems. Sometimes, behaviours of your child may make your mental health symptoms get worse, for example, getting less sleep when your baby is young or not being able to stick to a specific schedule.

With support, parents with mental health concerns can be great parents. There are some things that you can do to support yourself and your children.

  1. Recognize that it is okay to admit to others that you are struggling and that you need help. Get support from professionals, family, or friends.
  2. Take time for yourself when you need to.
  3. Recognize that you have a lot of strengths.
  4. Help yourself and your child build resiliency skills.
  5. Connect with local support groups and organizations. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) can help you do this.
  6. Gather information. National mental health sites from a variety of countries have information about parenting and mental health. Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA); Mind.org (UK); Mental Health America (USA)
  7. Build a support net around yourself and your family. You can also call HealthLine (811) is you need to connect with someone right away.

Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence refers to abuse that occurs between people who are in a relationship. Domestic violence is sometimes called intimate partner violence. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of income, culture, sexual orientation, whether married or not, or whether they live together or not.

Both men and women can be abusive. Both men and women can also be abused. There are a lot of different kinds of abuse. Some of these are physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or spiritual abuse.

The victim is never at fault. Nothing that he or she did or did not do caused the abuse. Abuse happens because the abuser needs to have control over someone else.

The picture below gives examples of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Intervention Programs: Duluth Model.

Young Children and Domestic Violence

Young children are affected by domestic violence. They are more vulnerable than older children for some of the following reasons. They are:

  • physically smaller and unable to protect themselves
  • more likely than older children to be home during conflicts
  • unable to ask for help or talk about what they see, hear, or feel
  • less likely to know people outside of their home
In Saskatchewan, witnessing domestic violence is considered a form of child abuse.

When are young children affected by domestic violence?

When are young children affected by domestic violence?

Children are affected by domestic violence when they:

  • see or hear violence
  • see the effects of violence on their parents (injuries or depression)
  • are threatened as part of the abuse
  • feel the need to become caregivers for their parents
  • have their family break apart
  • are victims of abuse themselves

How can young children be affected by domestic violence?

Domestic violence:

  • increases a child’s risk of being abused
  • often results in families breaking down (e.g., divorce or separation)
  • increases the risk of mother’s mental health problems before and after pregnancy; this can impact the health of her child
  • can affect the care the parents give the child (e.g., nutrition, clothing, bathing)
  • can result in other problems within the family (e.g., alcohol or drug abuse, isolation)

Children who live in a home where there is domestic violence may:

  • not understand what is happening, why it is happening, and who is at fault; they might blame themselves
  • think that violence is okay and normal
  • develop behavioural problems
  • not be getting the nutrition that they need
  • lose behavioural, social, and emotional skills (regress)
  • develop health issues like allergies or asthma
  • not have a good example to learn about healthy relationships or how to interact well with others
  • have problems forming healthy relationships with adults and other children

How can you help children deal with domestic violence?

A child who has experienced domestic violence needs help to sort through his feelings, to understand the abuse, and to develop a healthy relationship with his parent(s). You can help your child rebuild his close relationships attachment.

Below is a list of ways that you can help your child deal with domestic violence.

  • Allow your child to be a child; don’t give him adult responsibilities and roles.
  • Provide a safe place for play and exploration.
  • Help the child learn how to recognize, name, and manage his emotions.
  • Model social skills for the child, such as respect.
  • Provide opportunities, like running or swimming, for your child to release built-up energy.
  • Teach your child problem-solving skills.
  • Pay close attention to what your child says or how he acts, and understand that it may be a result of the violence.
  • Model dealing with anger in a positive way.
  • Help your child learn to deal with success and failure.
  • Help your child learn coping skills, such as relaxation techniques.
  • Give your child opportunities to play with other children his age.
  • Build on the child’s strengths.
  • Once your child is safe, help him to understand that it was not his fault, that abuse is not right, and that it is okay to feel confused about everything that happened.

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal mental health problems happen during pregnancy or in the first year after you have had your baby. A lot of women experience maternal mental health problems. Any new mother can be affected. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what ethnicity you are, or where you live.

Please read the list of symptoms below. Do you have several of these symptoms? Have these symptoms lasted longer than two weeks? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, please talk to your healthcare professional.

  • Cry for no reason.
  • Have less interest in normal activities.
  • Feel unusually grumpy, angry, or sensitive.
  • Feel more tired than usual.
  • Have more energy than usual.
  • Have problems sleeping or sleep too much.
  • Have problems concentrating.
  • Have difficulty coping.
  • Feel anxious or panicked.
  • Think about hurting yourself, your baby, or others.
  • See things or hear voices.

Maternal mental health concerns can be serious. They can affect the health of the mother, baby, and others around them.

It is important to get help as soon as possible. Contact your regional mental health office. Click here for the number for your region. You can also call HealthLine (811) if you need to talk to someone right away.

Medications

Sometimes, women who experience maternal mental health problems will need medications to help them get better. Medication does not work alone. You will also be offered other kinds of support.

Medication can help you to regain wellness and function. Medications for mental health may be needed just as medications may be needed for physical health.

If you need medication, your healthcare professional will prescribe it for you. Everyone reacts to medications differently. You may be taking something different from other women that you know. You can work with your healthcare professional to figure out which medication(s) work best for you.

Risk Factors for Maternal Mental Health Problems

Sometimes a woman may worry that she will have problems coping and adjusting after she has her baby. She may have heard about postpartum depression and wonder if she is at risk.

Below are some risk factors. Risk factors do not cause mental health problems. However, they are important to share with your healthcare professionals so that you can receive support if needed.

  • You have had or still have a mental health problem.
  • You have changes in your mood and unusual thoughts before your period.
  • You are really anxious and worried at the end of your pregnancy.
  • Someone in your family has mental health problems.
  • Someone in your family has addiction disorders.
  • Women in your family have been treated or are being treated for maternal mental health problems.
  • You have experienced severe sleep loss during your pregnancy or after your baby’s birth.
  • You have been in pain for a long time.
  • You have had a high level of stress lately.
  • You have had other health problems during pregnancy.
  • You were given hormone treatment to help you get pregnant.

Adapted from McDonald, J. & Flynn, C. (2015). Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit. A Resource for the Community. Nova Scotia: IWK.

What Can I Do To Help Myself Recover?

The list below includes suggestions that may help improve your health. Some of these may help; some may not. You may have other ideas that you want to add to the list.

  • Take an active role in getting better.
  • Learn as much as you can about your maternal mental health problem.
  • Decrease the amount of stress in your life.
  • Find a service provider you can trust and talk to.
  • Take medication if it is needed.
  • Tell yourself it is okay to take medications.
  • Find people who can support you at this time.
  • Take care of yourself. You are important.
  • Tell your partner what you need and how to help.
  • Think about what your life will be like when you get better.
  • Try not to use substances that will change your thinking or mood. Drugs and alcohol can also change the way your medication works.
  • Put your recovery first.

Adapted from McDonald, J. & Flynn, C. (2015). Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit. A Resource for the Community. Nova Scotia: IWK.

Planning for Another Baby

Your body needs time to heal after having a baby. To give your body time to heal, it is recommended that you wait 18-24 months after giving birth before becoming pregnant again.

Planning for Another Baby

The timing between having a baby and getting pregnant again can affect the health of you and your baby. Short times between your pregnancies can lead to preterm birth and a low birthweight baby. These can cause long-term health problems in your child.

Breastfeeding does not guarantee that you will not become pregnant.

You will need to use birth control if you do not want to become pregnant. There are several forms of birth control that you can use while breastfeeding. Talk to your healthcare professional about your options. You can also use the KIS-SK App to learn about contraception and where to get it in Saskatchewan.

Siblings

Introducing a new baby to your house can be a fun time or a difficult time for the older brother(s) and/or sister(s) in the house.

Include your child in the excitement of getting ready for the baby. Start early in the pregnancy to prepare your child for his new sibling.

Babies get a lot of attention; from you as well as from people who come to visit. It is important that your other child(ren) do not feel left out or ignored. Celebrate his new role as a big brother. Include him in caregiving, e.g., bringing you a diaper.

Keep your child’s routines the same as much as possible. For example, reading a book before bedtime.

Tobacco

Infants and children who are exposed to tobacco smoke may develop health problems, like asthma and allergies.

Children absorb more chemicals from tobacco smoke than adults because:

  • they breathe faster than adults
  • they inhale more air relative to their body weight
  • they absorb the chemicals faster than adults

The harmful products of tobacco smoke also can be passed to the infant through breast milk.

Second-hand smoke refers to the tobacco smoke that is inhaled from the smoke of another person’s cigarette, cigar, or pipe.

Third-hand tobacco smoke is the left-over chemicals from tobacco smoke that can be left on a variety of surfaces, such as couches, rugs, hair, and clothing.

Young children are exposed to third-hand tobacco smoke (THS) because they crawl on the floor, may be held by adults who smoke, and often put objects in their mouths. The chemicals from tobacco smoke remain on the clothing, hair, and skin even if a person smokes outside. So if you smoke and cuddle your baby, she is still being exposed to the chemicals.

After you have smoked, try to wash your hands and change your clothing before holding an infant or child.

For information about the impact of tobacco smoke on children, please go to Health Canada – Tobacco – Health Concerns, KidsHealth, Healthy Canadians – Smoking and Tobacco, or Smoking and Tobacco.

Your Relationships

Having a child can cause a lot of changes in your life. Some of these changes can affect your relationships.

Do your friends have children? Can your family join another family for a social activity?

Your Relationships

If your friends do not have children, this can change the dynamics of your friendship. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in a time when a lot is already changing it may feel overwhelming. Talk to your friends about these changes.

Your relationship with your partner will also change. You’ve added another person to the mix where there used to be two (or more if you have other children). Take time for each other. Take time to do things that you enjoy and allow your partner to do the same.

Spend time talking to your partner.

Spend time talking to your partner. Parenting takes a lot of compromising and an understanding of where each parent is coming from. Keep communicating.

Try to talk about some of the decisions you will have to make before you have to make them. That way you can both take your time to discuss concerns and come to an agreement. Always remember that these agreements might change in the future.

Some things that you may want to discuss are:

  • At what age will you feel comfortable leaving your child with a babysitter? A family member?
  • Do you want your child to go to daycare? At what age?
  • Do you want your child involved with a religious organization?
  • What are the discipline strategies that you might use?
  • What type of bedtime routine do you want for the child?
  • Do you have a specific diet you want the family to follow? At what age is it safe to introduce this?
  • What is each parent’s role going to be in raising this child (e.g., changing diapers, putting the child to bed, reading to the child)?
  • How will you cope if you don’t get enough sleep?
  • How do you feel about co-sleeping with the baby?
  • How important is breastfeeding to you?
  • What are your thoughts on circumcision if you have a boy?

Sex After Pregnancy

There is no rule that dictates when you should start having sex after pregnancy. It is important to wait until your body heals. This can take 4-6 weeks depending on the delivery of the baby. Some women wait until their healthcare professional gives them the go-ahead.

There are many things that may make you decide to wait longer to have sex. These include feeling tired, pain, and stress. It is okay to wait until you are ready to have sex. Talk to your partner about how you feel. Try other forms of intimacy.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy can change your body. Your vagina may not be as lubricated as it was pre-pregnancy. This may cause discomfort during sex. Talk to your partner about what pleases you. Take your time. Try a vaginal lubricant or cream.

You may also find that the muscles in your vagina are not as tight as they used to be. This may affect the stimulation you feel during sex. You can tighten these muscles by doing Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are done by tightening your pelvic muscles like you do when you are stopping your pee mid-stream. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Contraception

To give your body time to heal, it is recommended that you wait 18-24 months before becoming pregnant again.

You can become pregnant two weeks before your first period starts following pregnancy. Your period may start as soon as 4-6 weeks after having your baby.

Breastfeeding does not guarantee that you will not become pregnant.

There are several forms of birth control that you can use while breastfeeding. Talk to your healthcare professionals about your options.

Culture

Culture is the way that a group of people “do things”. Culture can be based on ethnic background, religion, sexuality, language, social group, or family. Culture includes shared traditions, values, behaviours, ways of thinking, ways of bringing up children, and ways of understanding those around you.

An important part of raising your child is passing on your culture. Research shows that children who have a connection to their culture are physically and mentally healthier than those who don’t.

It can be difficult keeping your culture and fitting into where you live. Some practices, which are considered normal in some cultures, may be seen differently by other cultures (e.g., physical punishment, bed sharing, practices around child care, or living in large family groups).

Sometimes, a family with same-sex parents may be judged because they do not fit into the “traditional family” model. This can impact both the parents and the child.

First Nations people have had their culture impacted by colonization, residential schools, and racism. For some families and communities, re-learning their culture, including values, traditions, language, spirituality, and child-rearing practices, may be very important.

Getting support from others in your culture or an organization that focuses on your culture may help.

Resiliency

Resiliency is the ability to cope with stressful situations, changes, or problems. Children, who are resilient, use coping skills that they developed from past experiences to help them cope better with new situations. Please click here for more information about resiliency.

Mental Health

Mental health is about being healthy. It is not about being unhealthy. Mental health refers to the emotional, social, and cognitive well-being of your child. For more information about children’s mental health, please click here.

Emotions

Children need to learn to regulate their emotions. Being able to regulate your emotions means that you can:

  • control how intense your emotions feel
  • calm yourself
  • express emotions appropriately

For more information, please click here.

Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills include planning, setting goals, flexible thinking, and making choices. For more information, click here.

Success and Failure

It is important that children learn that it is okay to succeed and to fail. Experiencing success and failure and helping your child to cope with the emotions related both, will teach your child that it is okay to try new things, to make mistakes, and to work on goals.

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is important. It helps your child to trust that you will be there for him. When your child knows that he can return to you for comfort and safety, he can feel confident to explore his world and play. A secure attachment relationship and your support will also help your child learn to cope with change and stress. For more information, please click here.

Self-Esteem

Having healthy self-esteem means that you believe in yourself and your worth. For more information, click here.

Empathy

Empathy means being able to understand another person’s feeling and situation. Empathy is an important social skill.

Impulse Control

An impulse is something that you have an urge to do, like eating another cookie. Sometimes impulses are about doing something good; more often they are about doing something that is unacceptable or bad for you. Impulse control is taking a step back and stopping yourself from acting on your impulse. This gives you time to think about what you are about to do and decide if it is a good idea or not. For more information, please go to resiliency.

Coping Skills

To cope with something means that you are handling a difficult situation the best that you can. Coping skills are tools that you can use to help you in difficult situations. For more information, click here.