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Getting Ready for Your Baby

Becoming a Parent

Parenting begins long before you have your child.

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For most people, the idea of becoming a parent can be both exciting and scary. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. Having a baby is a big change. This is true even if this is not your first baby.

Parenting is one of the most important jobs you will ever do. It is also the longest. Regardless of your child’s age, once you are a parent, you will always be a parent.

Many people feel that you should just know how to be a parent. However, you are not born with parenting skills. These skills are something that you learn. Sometimes you learn from your parents or friends. Sometimes you learn through experience. A lot of parents turn to programs, books, and the internet for information.

You do not have to be a perfect parent. In fact, no parent is perfect. You will be learning how to be a parent as you parent. With each child, you will learn different skills. Sometimes you will make mistakes. Sometimes you will feel fear, frustration, and anger. This is normal and does not make you a bad parent. Make plans now so you are prepared to deal with these emotions. Remember to take time for yourself and get support if you need it.

Take the time while you are pregnant to get used to the idea that you will be a parent. Talk to your baby. Connect with your baby. Rub your stomach.

If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner about becoming a parent. What are you excited about? What are you scared about? Ask your partner about his/her excitement and fears as well.

Talk about how you want to raise your baby. Who will get up at night when the baby cries? What does discipline mean to both of you? What traditions would you like to bring into your parenting? Your partner will play an important role in your baby’s life.

If you are not with your baby’s father but he will still be in the baby’s life, now is the time to try to sort out some of the details. If possible, it is important to have the other parent in your baby’s life. However, if this is stressful for you or if the relationship is abusive, it is okay for you to back away. You can get support from family and friends. They can play important roles in your child’s life.

Car Seats

Take time to learn how to install your car seat. Go to www.sgi.ca to find a car seat clinic near you. Take your partner with you.

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Plan ahead for safe travel with your baby. You will need a car seat to leave the hospital with your baby.

Your baby must always be in the back seat of the vehicle. A newborn’s car seat should face the rear of the vehicle.

Not all car seats work well in all vehicles. Before you buy one, be sure it fits in your vehicle.

Be sure to fill out and mail the car seat warranty card. If there is a recall or problem with your car seat, the manufacturer will contact you.

If you are thinking of buying a used car seat, find the answers to these questions before you buy. It may not be worth the risk to your baby’s safety.
  • Has the car seat been in a crash?
  • Is the car seat past its expiry date? This can be found on the plastic of the seat.
  • Are the straps frayed or torn?
  • Are there cracks in the plastic?
  • Is the manual with the seat?
  • Are there missing parts?

It is important to know the expiry date of the car seat that you are using. Car seats expire because over time the plastic parts begin to break down. Everyday use of the seat can also cause wear and tear.

Expiry dates can be different depending on the brand of seat that you buy. First, check the date that your car seat was made. This can be found on the plastic part of your car seat. Sometimes the expiry date for the car seat is listed in the same place. If it is not, you will find information about the expiry date in your owner’s manual. You can also call the manufacturer for this information.

It is important that your baby’s car seat is installed properly. To make sure that you are using a rear-facing seat correctly, check the following:
  • The car seat is in the back seat and faces the rear of the vehicle.
  • The seat belt or Universal Anchorage System is tightened on the car seat. The seat should not be able to move more than 2.5 cm (one inch). Do not use a seat belt and Universal Anchorage System at the same time.
  • The chest clip is level with your baby’s arm pits.
  • The harness straps are tightened so you can only fit one finger between the strap and your baby’s collar bone.
  • The harness strap comes out of the car seat at or below the baby’s shoulders.
  • The car seat is installed at the appropriate angle, there will be an angle indicator on the seat (see instruction manual).
  • The carrying handle is in the correct position.

The following video shows the installation of a car seat: How to Install a Car Seat. Keep in mind that not all vehicles and car seats are the same. Make sure that you check your vehicle manual and your car seat manual for installation instructions.


Make sure your baby is safe while travelling. Technicians at car seat clinics (or by appointment) can show you how to put your seat in your car properly. These checks are free of charge. Go to www.sgi.ca to find a technician or car seat clinic near you.

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Child care and support

Wait lists for day care centres can be up to a year. Plan ahead if you will need one.

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You will need support when baby is born. Make a plan now so that you are ready when you need help.
  • Who can you turn to if you have questions?
  • Can you call someone to help take care of your baby if you need a break?
  • How can you keep connected with your friends and community?

Wait lists for day care centres can be up to a year. Plan ahead if you will need one.

If you are looking for babysitters, you may want to ask if they have completed a babysitting course. Babysitting courses are offered across Saskatchewan. They teach youth how to care for children and how to handle emergencies. Youth are also taught basic first aid skills.

When family members or others care for your baby, make sure that everyone knows the routines you have in place for your baby. Share any steps you take to keep your baby safe, for example, placing her on her back to sleep.

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Crying

Babies cry for many reasons. Think about how you can soothe your baby.

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Crying is normal and some babies cry more than others. Most often, babies cry because they are hungry, need a diaper change, or want to be comforted. Sometimes they cry to release tension. Crying might also mean that your baby does not feel well.

Crying does not mean she is angry with you. Your baby is not acting badly when she cries.

Your baby will not always be soothed the same way each time. You might have to try different things. Here are some techniques you can use to help calm your baby.
  • Burp your baby after he has eaten.
  • Change your baby’s diaper.
  • Feed your baby.
  • Gently rock your baby.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • Massage your baby’s back.
  • Offer your baby his favourite toy.
  • Sing or hum to your baby.
  • Snuggle your baby close to your chest.
  • Take your baby for a walk.
  • Take your baby for a car ride.
  • Walk and gently bounce your baby.
  • Wrap or swaddle your baby in a soft blanket.

When you cannot calm your baby, it is normal to sometimes feel anxious or frustrated. Be careful. It is important to know when you are feeling this way and plan ahead. If baby is in a safe place, take a break and leave the room for a few minutes if you need to calm yourself.

Never shake your baby. Even a few seconds of shaking can cause serious damage because babies have weak neck muscles and heavy heads.

Shaking a baby can cause blindness, brain damage, or death.

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Feeding

Learn about breastfeeding. Where can you get support?

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Your baby’s appetite will change from day to day. As your baby grows, the amount that she eats will increase.

Don’t worry too much about a schedule. Learn when your baby is telling you he is hungry. Feeding him when he is hungry will keep everyone happy and make feeding easier.

Hold your baby close to your body when you feed her. Skin-to-skin contact is best. It is warm and she can feel your heart beat. Whether you breastfeed or not, hold your baby so that her head is at the same level as your breast. This way, she can look into your eyes while she feeds. This helps her connect with you. Some mothers use nursing pillows to help them get comfortable.

Feeding can take up to 45 minutes. Don’t rush your baby. Feeding is a special time to connect and help baby bond with you.

Breast milk or formula will provide all that your baby needs for her first six months. Your baby should not be given other foods before this time.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Breast milk is the best food for babies and the only food they need during their first six months. It contains all the nutrients and calories they need. Breastfeeding can continue as long as you would like it to, but after 6 months of age, your baby will need to start solid foods.

Here are several benefits of breastfeeding:
  • Breastfeeding is handy (convenient). There are no bottles or nipples to sterilize. There is no formula to buy, prepare, keep cool, or warm up.
  • Breastfeeding is free.
  • Breast milk changes as your baby develops to meet his needs.
  • Breastfeeding helps you lose weight after your baby is born. Your body uses energy to make breast milk. Therefore, it burns calories and fat.
  • Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly. There are no cans or packaging needed.
  • Breast milk helps build your baby’s immune system. It can guard her against infection.
  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, crib death).
  • Breastfeeding helps protect you and your baby from some types of cancers. These include breast, cervix, ovarian, and some childhood cancers.
  • Breastfeeding can decrease your baby’s chance of getting cavities and allergies.
  • Breastfeeding can decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Breastfeeding can help you and your baby connect. Did you know that your baby cannot see very far in the first few months? When you hold your baby at your breast, it is a perfect distance from your face for your baby to see you. Your baby will also be soothed by the sound of your heart beat.
  • Fathers and other family members can also connect with your baby by feeding him expressed milk. Expressed milk is breastmilk that the mother has pumped and stored, which can be fed to your baby by bottle at a later time.

Breastfeeding Concerns

Breastfeeding can be hard for some women. Sometimes it can be painful. This is often due to infections. Talk to your healthcare providers if you have any questions or concerns. You can also talk to a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are trained to help women with breastfeeding concerns and questions.

For more information, please contact Saskatchewan Lactation Consultant Association via bergermanj@hotmail.com or Linda.Wright@saskatoonhealthregion.ca.

Some women are worried about having skin-to-skin contact with their babies. They may feel that they are doing something wrong or inappropriate. It is natural to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby. In fact, skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways that you have to support your baby’s growth and development.

Click here to watch a video about a simple, step-by-step-approach to preventing and treating common breastfeeding problems.

Formula Feeding

Deciding to breastfeed or not is a personal choice. There are many reasons why you may or may not breastfeed. You are not a bad parent if you don’t breastfeed. Do what is right for you and your child.

The amount of formula that your baby needs depends on both his weight and age. Most babies will eat as much as they need. If you are concerned about the amount that your baby is eating, ask your healthcare providers.

Choose a formula that is iron fortified.

Follow the directions on the package of formula you buy. If you use powdered formula that you mix with water, make sure the water source is safe to drink. If your drinking water is from a well or you are concerned about the safety of your water, have it tested before the baby is born. If you plan to use bottled water, get a brand that is not high in sodium (salt). Salt may be listed as Na on the label.

Until the baby is 6 months old, all water given to the baby should be boiled and cooled.

HIV and Breastfeeding

HIV can be passed from you to your baby through breast milk. If you are HIV positive, do not breastfeed. Free formula is available in Saskatchewan for women living with HIV. To find out about the Saskatchewan Infant Formula program, contact:

  • Prince Albert: 306-765-6535
  • Regina: 306-766-3915
  • Saskatoon: 306-655-1477

Sterilizing Bottles

If you use bottles, be sure to sterilize them before each use. This protects your baby from viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasitic infections.

There are three main ways that you can sterilize. First, clean the bottle, nipple, and lid with dish detergent and hot water. Run water through the nipple for several seconds to be sure there is no milk (residue) left. Then, sterilize using one of these methods:

  • Boil: This is an easy and cheap way to sterilize bottles. Place bottles, nipples, and lids in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes.
  • Electric steam sterilizing: A special machine sterilizes bottles, nipples, and lids that are placed upside down in the steamer. This takes 8-12 minutes.
  • Microwave steamer: These take 5-8 minutes on high heat. Be careful not to place anything metal in the steamer. These cost less than the electric steam sterilizing machines.

Always make sure that bottles, nipples, and lids are cool before feeding your baby.

Check bottles and nipples for chips and cracks. Throw out any that are damaged.

What NOT to Feed Newborns
  • Food and drinks, other than formula and breast milk, should not be given until your baby is 6 months old.
  • Cow’s milk (Homo, 1%, 2%, or cream) and goat’s milk should not be fed to babies until they are 9 months old.
  • Soy milk, rice milk, and other milk substitutes should not be given to babies until they are 2 years old.

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Breastfeeding
Formula Feeding

Loving Care

Your baby needs consistent, loving care.

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Your baby depends on you to meet all of her needs. She needs your loving care.

Learn your baby’s cues and respond in a loving, responsive way. When your baby gets her needs met, she is learning that you will provide a safe place to grow and explore the world. This special relationship is called attachment. Here are some suggestions for providing loving care:

  • Touch your baby often.
  • Hold your baby skin to skin.
  • Sing songs to your baby.
  • Create routines when you feed and change her.
  • Respond to your baby when he is upset.
  • Enjoy spending time together with your baby.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Calm your baby when she cries.

Your baby’s brain develops very quickly in his first year. Positive experiences help your baby’s brain to grow in a healthy way that will help him throughout his life. Negative experiences can harm the way his brain develops.

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Labour and Delivery

It is okay to be scared about labour and delivery. Talk to your healthcare providers about what to expect. Get support from family and friends.

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The birth of your baby is a very exciting time and many women worry about the birth. It is okay to be scared about labour and delivery. Talk to your health care providers about what to expect. Get support from family and friends.

Labour prepares your uterus to help deliver your baby. There is no set length of labour. Every person is different, so each labour will be different too.

Stages of Labour
  1. Lightening: Near the end of your pregnancy (often in the 9th month) your baby will move down in your body, into the position needed for delivery. This movement is called lightening. Many women are able to breathe easier and have less heartburn after this occurs. However, you may need to pee more often because your baby will be putting pressure on your bladder and kidneys.
  2. Mucous Plug: As your cervix begins to thin and open, the mucous plug that covers your cervix will be released. You may find more discharge in your underwear.
  3. Bloody Show: Some women get a pink, red, or brown discharge a few days before labour.
  4. Amniotic Sac: When your baby is ready to be born, your amniotic sac will break. Liquid will come out of your vagina. This liquid should be clear and should not smell. If it does, let your healthcare providers know. When your amniotic sac breaks, call your healthcare providers to get instructions on what to do next.
  5. Contractions: Throughout your 9th month, you might have contractions. If these are not regular, do not increase in intensity, and go away after a while, they are just your body’s way of preparing for delivery. Labour contractions will become stronger over time, can be timed, and get closer together. They can be in both your back and front and you may have a bloody show. During this time, your cervix will open up to 10 cm and your baby will move down in your pelvis.
  6. Delivery: By the time you are ready to deliver, your contractions will be very strong. Follow the instructions of your healthcare providers and work with them to push your baby out.
  7. Placenta Delivery: After you have delivered your baby, you will still have small contractions. You will then deliver your placenta.
You may hear these medical terms when you are giving birth:
  • Induction: A healthcare provider will give you a medication that helps your body begin labour. You may be induced if your baby is overdue or for other health reasons.
  • Epidural: This is a pain medication that is given to you in your spine. You will also be given fluids through an IV. It is your choice whether to have an epidural.
  • Episiotomy: Sometimes, the healthcare provider needs to make the vagina bigger by making a cut (incision).
  • Forceps: This tool fits around the baby’s head and helps with delivery.
  • Caesarean Section (C-section): During a C-section, the baby is delivered through a cut (incision) in your abdomen and uterus. Some women know they are having a C-section before they arrive at the hospital and their healthcare providers will book a date for the delivery. Sometimes a C-section cannot be pre-planned but is needed so you and your baby are safe and healthy. Your medical team will help you through this procedure.

Please click here to watch a video showing tips about managing your pain during delivery without using drugs. This advice includes walking, breathing techniques, massage, aromatherapy, and using a birthing ball. There are also drugs that can help you deal with pain during labour and delivery. Your healthcare professional can provide you with information about this.

As well, click here for demonstrations of labour techniques and positioning.

Please click here to see a video about C-sections. Please note that this video was developed for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. Some procedures may be different depending on where you have a C-section.

Have you had a caesarean (C-section) in the past? If so, you may be able to have a vaginal birth if there has been 18 months between your deliveries. Talk to your healthcare provider. Ask all the questions you need to help you make a plan.

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Maternal Mental Health

Many people struggle with their mental health after pregnancy. Learn about the symptoms. Talk to family and friends.

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During and after pregnancy, it is normal to have intense emotions. Talk to someone you trust about the way you feel. A friend, family member, or partner can support you. A new parent or pregnancy support group is a good place to share the way you feel.

It is important to get help as soon as possible. Healthline can help you find help in your area.
Having several of the following symptoms for more than two weeks could mean that you are depressed.
  • Have less interest in normal activities.
  • Cry for no reason.
  • Feel 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 affect the health of the mother, baby, and others around them. Maternal mental health concerns will not go away by themselves. Get help as soon as possible.

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Parental Benefits

Not everyone can get parental leave benefits. Do you qualify?

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You can work right up until you go into labour. It is your choice when to begin your parental leave.

You can get financial benefits through the Canadian Government. These benefits can help you support your family so that you can take time off of work to take care of your baby. Parental benefits are for new parents. Sickness benefits can help you if you have to take time off during your pregnancy. You can apply for these through Employment Insurance www.servicecanada.gc.ca. Your workplace may also have coverage.

There are some rules about who can get these benefits. It is important to know what these are early in your pregnancy to make sure you are eligible for benefits. These rules are explained below.

Maternity Benefits
  • These 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 job during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each job.
  • Your earnings have decreased by 40% because of pregnancy or care for your baby.
  • 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, the government will subtract whatever you make off of the benefit they give you.

Parental Benefits
  • 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 job during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each job.
  • Your earnings have decreased by 40% because of pregnancy or care for your baby.
  • If you work, the government will take off $50.00 a week or 25% of your pay cheque; whichever is higher.

Sickness Benefits
  • If you do not have sick leave at work and you are not within eight weeks of your delivery date, you can apply for sickness benefits if you have to take time off. You have to use up your sick leave time from work before you apply for sickness benefits.
  • You must 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 job during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each job.
  • Your earnings have decreased by 40% because of pregnancy or care for your baby.
  • You and your healthcare providers have to prove that you need the time off. You cannot get benefits for normal pregnancy symptoms.

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Safety

How can you keep your baby safe? There is a lot to think about with a newborn.

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Baths

  • Before you bathe your baby, test the temperature of the water.
  • Test the water with your inner arm, wrist, or elbow. The bath water should feel warm but not hot.
  • Turn your water heater down to 49° Celsius.
  • You baby’s skin will burn 4 times faster than yours.
  • Do not use bath seats or bath rings as they can cause drowning.
  • Do not leave your baby unattended or in the care of another child in the bath.

Car Seats

Falls

  • Always use safety straps and harnesses when they are available.
  • When using a change table or other high surface when changing or dressing your baby, keep one hand on her at all times.
  • The safest place to leave your baby alone is in her playpen or crib.
  • Do not place an infant in a car seat or infant holder on any surface other than the floor.

Pets

  • No matter how much you trust your family pet, remember that it is an animal. Animals act on instinct. Do not leave your baby alone with pets.
  • Do not force the introduction of your pet and your baby. Watch carefully as your pet gets to know your baby.
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet and before touching your baby.

Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Temperature

Be careful not to overheat your baby. If a room is comfortable for you to be in with short sleeves, it will also be comfortable for a baby in similar clothing. Be careful not to let your baby overheat. Your baby should not feel hot to touch, appeared flushed, or be sweating.

Tobacco

Unsafe Equipment

  • Due to safety concerns, remember that it is against the law to buy, sell, or use a baby walker in Canada.
  • Call the manufacturer or check the Healthy Canadians and Transport Canada’s website to make sure that second-hand baby equipment has not been recalled.

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Sex After Pregnancy

Consider waiting 4-6 weeks before having sex. Everyone is different. Wait until you are comfortable.

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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 provider 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 out 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. Tighten 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 providers about your options.

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Sleeping for You and Your Baby

Think about where your baby will sleep when you bring her home. Will she be in your room? Will she have her own room?

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Put your baby to sleep on her back. This decreases her risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the leading cause of death in healthy infants up to one year of age. SIDS occurs when a healthy baby dies suddenly during sleep.

Continue to place your baby on her back to sleep, even if she can roll over by herself. At this time, if she rolls off her back it is safe for her to sleep in a different position.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, cradle, or bassinet. Health Canada recommends that parents share a room with their baby for the first six months. This can help you respond to your baby when he needs you.

Bed sharing is not recommended. Bed sharing is when an adult sleeps with the baby on the same surface, like a bed or couch. Bed sharing increases the risk of suffocation.

Babies should not be put to sleep on water beds, air mattresses, couches, futons, or armchairs. Sleeping on these surfaces can increase the risk of suffocation.

Your baby’s crib should be empty except for her mattress and a fitted sheet. Loose bedding and other objects in the crib can cause suffocation. Avoid having comforters, heavy blankets, quilts, pillows, foam padding, stuffed toys, bumper pads, and sleep positioners in the crib.

If your baby falls asleep in her stroller, baby carrier, or car seat, move her to a safe place to sleep once you have reached your destination.

Make sure there are no hazards around the crib, bassinet, or cradle. Hazards can include blind cords, electrical cords, electrical plugs, baby monitors, lamps, and windows.

The temperature of the room your baby is sleeping in should be warm enough for short sleeves. She does not need to be covered with a heavy blanket. Sleep sacks are a good option.

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Tobacco Smoke Exposure

Tobacco smoke can cause a lot of health problems for your baby. Some problems can affect him for his whole life. Your newborn will need a smoke-free environment.

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Your newborn should be in a smoke-free environment. Tobacco smoke can cause health problems for your baby. Some of these can affect your baby his whole life.

Babies can be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke in three ways:
  1. They can inhale smoke when the smoker exhales.
  2. They can be exposed to the chemicals that are released when tobacco is burned.
  3. They can come into contact with the chemical residue left on a smoker’s clothing, body, or hair, as well as furniture and carpeting.

Babies are affected more than adults by exposure to tobacco smoke. Their lungs are still growing and developing. Children breathe faster than adults. They inhale more air than adults. They are also breathing air into a tinier body. Part of normal childhood behaviour, like putting things in the mouth, can also increase a baby’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

Being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke can cause many health problems. The following is a list of health problems that can occur in babies.
  • An increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the leading cause of death in healthy infants up to one year of age. SIDS occurs when a healthy baby dies suddenly during sleep.
  • An increased number of colds and respiratory illnesses like bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • An increased number of ear infections.
  • An increased likelihood of having enlarged adenoids. Enlarged adenoids reduce the amount of air that can flow through the throat and nose.
  • An increased risk of developing asthma.
  • An increased risk of developing allergies.
  • An increased risk of having problems with learning, memory, language development, understanding visual information, and balance.

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Supplies

Pack a bag for the hospital before you go into labour. Make sure you include things your baby will need on the trip home.

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Before buying any equipment or using second-hand equipment, check with Health Canada for recalls and safety alerts.

Pack a bag for the hospital before you go into labour. Make sure you include things your baby will need on the trip home.

Things to bring to the hospital include:

For you:
  • Bathrobe
  • Comfortable pajamas
  • Eyeglasses (don’t bring contacts)
  • Going home outfit
  • Health card
  • Maternity underwear (3-4 pairs)
  • Nursing bra
  • Paperwork your healthcare providers have given you
  • Picture ID (identification), like a driver’s license
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Things that help you relax (pillow, blanket, music, book)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, brush
For baby:
  • Baby (Receiving) blanket
  • Car seat (approved for use in Canada)
  • Diapers
  • Going home outfit (including socks and a cap)

Supplies to have prepared at home before the arrival of your baby:
  • Baby clothes
  • Baby soap and shampoo
  • Baby nail trimmers or nail file
  • Car seat
  • Crib, cradle, or bassinette
  • Receiving blankets
  • Sheets for bassinette or crib
  • Warm clothes for winter time
  • Wash cloths and towels
  • Newborn diapers (cloth or disposable)
  • Baby wipes (optional)
  • Bottle and nipples (optional)
  • Breast pump (optional)
  • Baby monitor (optional)
  • Baby powder (optional)
  • Baby oil or lotion (optional)
  • Change table (optional)
  • Change pad (optional)
  • Nipple cream (optional)
  • Nursing bras and pads (optional)
  • Ointment for diaper rash (optional)
  • Soother (optional)
  • Sterilizing equipment (optional)