There's a new baby in the family and life is exciting! But maybe you're struggling a bit, or you have lots of questions. That's okay – most new parents do. In this section, we'll give you the tools to care for your baby and care for yourself.
New baby basics: You just got home with your baby. Now what? We give you information to help you in the early days, including support for getting started with breastfeeding.
Adjusting: Becoming a parent for the first time is a big step so we have some tips to help you as you get used to a new phase of life.
Mental Health: It is important to take care of yourself so you can care for your baby in the best way possible.
Recovery : It takes time to heal from giving birth, so be patient and kind to yourself.
Immunization is a healthy choice that saves lives. When you immunize your baby, you're protecting them against illness and serious harms. These include meningitis, pneumonia, paralysis, brain damage, cancer and even death.
BC's immunization program provides free vaccines to protect your child from 15 diseases. First immunizations are at two months and can be done by your local
public health centre or family physician.
One in every 300 babies born in BC has hearing loss. If it's caught early, much can be done and problems with developing language skills can be avoided. That's why the
BC Early Hearing Program is working to screen all babies born in BC Hospitals. Most babies in BC have their hearing screened before they go home from the hospital. For babies who were not screened in the hospital, hearing screening is offered at your local audiology (hearing) clinic or community screening clinic.
The test is not painful or uncomfortable for the baby, and you will get results right away. In most babies, it is clear that their hearing is fine and you can get peace of mind. Many babies, however, will need follow-up testing. This does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong. In most cases it simply means that a clear reading wasn't possible. There may have been too much background noise, for example. However, it's important to go to all of your follow-up appointments so that if there is any hearing loss, your baby can get help right away. Learn more about the
BC Early Hearing Program.
Another great source of evidence-based information for new families is the
Healthy Families BC Website. It has information and videos on the following topics:
After your baby is born, you will need to:
Register your baby's birth to apply for a birth certificate
Sign up for the medical services plan for BC residents, and
Apply for Canadian Child Benefits.
We recommend that you
check out VCH parent and child drop-in groups. These groups will help you connect with other new parents and health care professionals.
If you still have questions,
find more VCH services in your area for new parents here.
It can be hard to know if something is wrong with the baby. After all, they're a brand-new human being and you're still learning how to communicate with each other. So, don't be afraid to ask questions. Talk to your doctor, midwife or VCH Public Health Nurse about any concerns.
Get medical attention if you notice any of the following:
Your baby is not interested in feeding or is too sleepy to feed at least eight times per day.
Your baby is not wetting their diaper at least two times per day in the first week, or five times per day after the first week.
Your baby doesn't have at least one greenish brown stool during the first three days, or at least two dirty diapers after four days of age.
Your baby cries all the time and can't be comforted.
The white parts of your baby's eyes start to look a little yellow.
If your baby has a fever of 38°C (100°F) or more, call your doctor or midwife right away or go to the emergency department.