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New baby basics

You can never fully prepare to become a mom or dad for the first time. Whether you're giving birth or not, life will change as you go on a roller coaster of emotions. Here, you will find useful advice on

Learn about the First Days

Watch this video about Early Days with Your Baby  to get practical advice on caring for your baby.

For more information on your first days at home read:

Checking in After Birth

  • If you gave birth at a hospital: A Public Health Nurse will call 24-48 hours after to check in with you.

  • If you are receiving care from a midwife after delivery: A Public Health Nurse will contact you 6-8 weeks after.

  • If you haven't been contacted have questions before then, find your local health unit and give them a call

Baby care

Sometimes, caring for a newborn baby can be a little scary at first. Your baby might seem small and helpless, making you feel like you might break them. But don't worry; babies aren't as fragile as they look. In no time, you'll be taking care of your baby with confidence.

Soon after birth is a good time to make an immunization appointment. Your baby will need their first round of vaccines at 2 months, so why not schedule it now? Learn more about immunizations and find out why it's the best way to protect your baby against many serious diseases.

Bathing

Babies don't need to have a bath every day as long as you take care to keep them clean and dry. However, a daily bath can be a nice way to build a bedtime routine. Giving a bath can be tricky, but a health professional can show you how to do while you're in hospital. Take a minute to read bath time safety information and never leave your baby in the bath alone.

Changing Diapers

You can expect to be changing diapers 10-15 times each day in the beginning. Follow these tips to make things go well and to avoid diaper rashes as much as possible. Make diaper time a fun time to talk, laugh and play with your baby. Always keep one hand on the baby and never turn your back while they are on the changing table.

 

Mouth Care

You may not think that tooth brushing is something you need to worry about with a newborn – after all, babies have no teeth! But getting oral hygiene off to a good start from the very beginning is very important. Wipe a wet washcloth over your baby's gums every day to get them used to having their mouths clean. When the first teeth appear, it's time to start brushing by using these handy brushing tips.

Tummy time

Babies need to spend times on their stomachs or sides when they're awake. We call this "tummy time" and it helps develop strong muscles, gets them ready to learn how to roll over, and prevents their head from getting flat spots, a condition called plagiocephaly.

Use these tips to make tummy time a success:

  • Put baby on their tummy while you're carrying them or holding them in your lap.

  • Always do tummy time on a firm, safe surface such as a blanket on the floor.

  • Never leave your baby alone during tummy time.

  • Try and have tummy time for a few minutes several times each day (maybe add it to your routine after a diaper change)

  • Make tummy time fun: show your baby toys or pictures, make funny faces, etc.

  • If your baby doesn't like tummy time, wait until they are rested and happy. Try to make it as fun as possible.

  • Remember to always put your baby to sleep on their back.

Learn more about tummy time and plagiocephaly.

Safety

Children learn new skills quickly. That's why it's important to be two steps ahead when thinking about safety. As your child is learning to crawl, you should be preparing your home to be safe for them as though they can already walk.

Get down to your child's level and look for hazards. For example, try pushing against furniture to see if it's stable enough to support your child's weight as they pull themselves up to standing. Some of the most common causes of injury you should look out for are:

  • Falls. Example: Is there any furniture that your child could climb on then fall off of?

  • Burns/scalds. Example: Is there anything that your child could climb on in the kitchen that would let them reach the stove?

  • Poisoning. Example: Are all household cleaners stored and well out of reach? 

If an accident does happen, it's good to be prepared ahead of time. Learn basic first aid for common injuries on the HealthLink BC website.

Food safety

Safe food handling can prevent food poisoning with these four simple steps to be food safe:

  • Clean – wash hands and surfaces often to avoid the spread of bacteria

  • Separate – don't cross contaminate, keep raw meats away from other foods

  • Cook – to a safe temperature, measure the internal temperature of your food while cooking

  • Chill – refrigerate foods right away (within 2 hours)

For tips and more information on food safety, use these resources:


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