Sepember 2019
In this issue: Preparing for life with a baby
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Preparing for life with a baby

When you're expecting a baby, there’s one thing we can guarantee—life as you know it is about to change. If you are expecting your first baby, you may be wondering how to manage all the changes coming your way (e.g., how will I function with less sleep than I am used to?). If this isn’t your first baby, you may feel more prepared in some ways because you’ve already done this, but wondering about other changes (e.g., how will I juggle baby’s needs and the other children?!). Regardless of where you are in the parenting journey, it’s a good idea to think ahead and have a plan.   
Some changes you may experience with a new baby:  
  • How you spend your time
  • Who you spend your time with
  • How much sleep you get
  • When you can shower
  • When you can eat
  • When you have sex
  • How you feel
  • Did we already mention how much sleep you get?
It is impossible to know how you will react to having a new baby, but people are often surprised by how much these changes affect their lives and relationships. Check out our pre- and post-baby suggestions for making the transition to parenthood a little easier. 

What can you do before your baby is born?


1. Start connecting with your baby

Having an emotional connection with your baby can help you adjust to being a new parent. Talk, read and sing to your baby even before they are born.
  • Take a few minutes whenever you can to talk to your baby...and yes, we mean out loud. Tell your baby how you feel about them, what you will do together when they are born, or simply talk about your day. The important thing is for your baby to hear your voice.   
  • Set aside a few minutes each day to read to your baby. It’s never too early to get into this routine!  
  • Choose a special song for your baby and sing it throughout your pregnancy. Use this same song after your baby is born to help calm and connect with your baby.  Learn more about the benefits of singing to your baby.     

2. Learn how to care for a baby

The thought of caring for a new baby can be scary if you’ve never done it before. Take some time to learn about things you already know you need to know. Public Health has a FREE online prenatal and new parent program where you can learn about:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Safe sleep for your baby
  • Soothing a crying baby
  • Bathing
  • Diapering
  • Car seat safety
  • And more

3. Build your support network

Everyone needs a little help sometimes! Planning ahead can make it easier to get the support you need after your baby is born. 
  • Talk to family and friends about the type of support you think you might need and want from them (e.g., help with meals, hold baby so you can shower, take older children on a walk).
  • Learn about peer and professional resources in your community that new parents often find helpful. Here are a few we recommend:
    • Let’s Talk Parenting: Call to speak with a public health nurse about caring for a newborn and anything ‘parenting’
    • Telehealth: Around-the-clock medical advice, including breastfeeding support
    • Breastfeeding supports: Clinics, peer support programs and more
    • EarlyON: Programs and supports for families with children from birth to six years old
    • Here 24/7: Addictions, mental health, and crisis services if you need them

4. Talk to your partner about the changes a baby will bring and how you will support each other

If you have a partner, your relationship will likely go through some changes after you have your baby. This may be especially true if you are expecting your first baby.
  • Find time to talk about your parenting hopes and fears and the role each of you will play in your child’s life. Need help getting the conversation started? Check out Partners to Parents, an interactive website all about becoming parents.    
  • Figure out how you plan to share the household and parenting chores. Check-in with each other often after the baby is born to make sure you are both satisfied with the shared workload. What you decide on now may not work out exactly as you planned.   
  • Think about what helps you feel connected to your partner. Discuss how you plan to stay connected after your baby is born—through the exhaustion and limited time alone. Learn more about adjusting your sex-pectations

What can you do after your baby is born?


1. Take care of your physical and emotional needs

The physical and emotional demands of caring for a new baby can be, well, exhausting! It’s important to ‘fill your own cup’ so you can take care of your baby.
  • Remember to fuel your body. Grab-and-go foods work well when you just can’t find the time to make a meal in those early weeks—let alone eat it! Ask people who drop by to clean some veggies, mix up some fruity tutti muffins, or make some egg burritos for you to have on hand. 
  • Look for ways to get a little more sleep. We think asking family or friends to hold a just-fed baby so you can catch a few zzzz is a no-brainer, but we are sure you can think of other ways that will work for your family too.
  • Share your baby’s care. Partners who have the chance to take the lead on some parenting tasks will bond with the baby and become more confident in their parenting skills. Learn more about shared parenting when breastfeeding.  
  • Keep unnecessary appointments and obligations to a minimum. Having flexibility in your day is so helpful when you and your baby are figuring each other out! 
  • Prioritize tasks around home—and accept that sometimes all your tasks won’t get done.  Taking care of a baby is a full-time task on its own!
  • Do something you enjoy that is just for you. Even five minutes counts!
  • Watch for signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, and talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned.
2. Continue building a connection with your baby

The more time you spend with your baby, the more confident you will feel in your ability to provide the care your baby needs. And your baby will benefit too!
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin. Your baby will be comforted by your closeness.   
  • Spend time observing your baby. With time, you will learn to tell when your baby is tired, hungry, ready to play or needing a break. Responding to their needs quickly and in a warm, loving way is important for your baby’s brain development and emotional health. Learn more about responsive parenting (VIDEO) .      
  • Talk, sing or read to your baby. And don’t worry if you don’t sing like a star. Your baby won’t care if you can carry a tune!
When you have a new baby, change is unavoidable. Adjusting to your new life is going to take time—and it’s normal to have questions along the way! Lean on family, friends and other supports in your community as you figure out your very own path into parenthood.      

Your child's developmental milestones:

Want more stage and age-specific information? Visit our website to read about your child’s development and get more activities and healthy living tips:
1st trimester | 2nd trimester | 3rd trimester | Newborn

Learn more: 

  • Want to learn more about pregnancy? Public Health has a FREE Online Prenatal Program.
  • Planning to give birth at the Guelph General Hospital Family Birthing Unit?  Sign up for their tour and information session offered the third Wednesday evening of each month. 
  • Enjoying this monthly e-newsletter? Subscribe to Public Health's Let's Talk Parenting e-Newsletter to get reliable, local parenting information directly to your inbox.
  • Not sure how you will pay for dental care for your children? Public Health has free dental clinics for kids ages 0 to 17.
Follow us on Twitter @LetsTalkParents
and Facebook @LetsTalkParenting
Public Health supports breastfeeding
Visit for a step-by-step guide to pregnancy.

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