What to prepare as you leave the hospital, adjusting to new roles and managing visitors.
It’s normal if you feel a little anxious to bring your newborn home. Find steps to prepare for this adjustment.
Make sure your car seat is properly installed and check the expiry date before bringing your baby home. Car seats must be made in Canada with the National Safety Label.
Your first days at home
Feeding your baby
Find information on feeding your baby.
Bathing your baby
This video demonstrates how to give a new baby a bath. It includes tips and tricks on how to turn bath time into an enjoyable experience for both baby and the parent or caregiver.
Register your baby's birth online
- Apply for your baby's first birth certificate
- Enroll your baby in the Medical Services Plan for B.C. residents
- Apply for Canada child benefits
- Apply for your baby's social insurance number
Register your baby's birth online
Secure and easy way to register your child's birth.
Adjusting to new roles
There are new demands on mothers and partners when babe comes home; it is easy to forget about taking care of you.
You will be operating on much less sleep as the baby will be up many times throughout the night to feed, diaper, burp or just cry.
Take a moment every day to ensure as a new mom you:
- Eat at least three meals and healthy snacks if hungry.
- Get some physical activity. Walking, swimming, yoga, and mom and baby fitness classes at the community centre.
- Take a break just for you: nap, walk, read, take a bath.
- Speak with friends or family about how you are feeling.
- Share the work of taking care of the baby with your partner, sometimes planning each others roles and responsibilities out before the baby comes can help with the adjustment and each feel like you have a role.
Up to 80 per cent of women experience baby blues in the first few days after having the baby. Some may experience tearfulness, tiredness, and feel sad, helpless, have mood swings or even be irritable.
These feelings can be caused by a drop in your hormone levels after birth, tiredness from labour and birth or your lack of sleep with caring for your new baby. Generally these feelings do not last long and go away within one to two weeks.
Check your symptoms
If you are concerned about developing postpartum depression, talk to your health care provider.
This is the start of your journey in your relationship as parents. Bringing home a baby involves physical and emotional adjustments that can also change your relationship with your partner.
Communication is key. Change in a relationship can cause stress and conflict or can make your bond even stronger.
Take time for your relationship to:
- Talk about your expectations of each other as parents.
- Talk about each other’s roles in sharing the household chores, finances and care of the baby.
- Use your network of family and friends to help out when needed and to give time for just the two of you.
- Talk frequently about your feelings as you adjust to being a parent. Everyone changes at their own pace and it is important to check in where each other is at.
Visit our New Dads section for more tips.
It’s important to set visiting guidelines before your baby is born. As you recover and adjust to your new role, it is important that you get plenty of sleep and rest. Ask your partner to help manage visitors.
Here are some guidelines you may want to give your visitors:
- Please do not drop in unannounced.
- Do not visit if you are sick.
- Wash your hands before touching the baby.
- Do not smoke in the house.
- Consider whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.
Managing advice from others
There may be a lot of family and friends who offer a great deal of help and you’ll probably be glad of their support. But sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If so, it can help if you explain gently that there are some decisions only you and your partner can make and some things that you prefer to do on your own.
You may find that being new parents puts you on the receiving end of a lot of advice and perhaps a bit of criticism. Sometimes the advice can be helpful, sometimes not. The criticism can also hurt. The important thing is to decide what is right for you.
The first week or two after you bring your newborn home may be the most exciting time of your life. It could also be one of the most hectic and stressful. It is wise to plan for adequate and nutritious food when you return home with baby.
You may want to prepare and freeze large batches of meals a few days before your due date.
Also, ask partners, family and friends in advance to help you with grocery shopping and cooking during the first few weeks after birth.
Brothers and sisters will react differently to the new baby. Some may love the baby and others may be angry. Many children will go back to acting like babies themselves for a while.
If you have given birth to multiples, review this resource guide designed for multiple-birth families.
Pets are a member of the family and will take time to adjust to the arrival of your baby. It’s recommended that you do not get a new pet right before your baby comes home.
If you already have a pet, take steps during the pregnancy to prepare your pet.