Babies & Toddlers

Babies and Toddlers Island Health

Baby and You

After months of anticipation, your baby has arrived. Now what? This section provides helpful information and community resources about caring for your baby. 

Some of the most important things you can do to care for your child are listed below.

  • breastfeeding provides the beThe most important thing you need to do after the birth of your child is rest. You should plan to spend the first few days after your baby is born resting in the hospital or at nutrition for your baby.
  • keep your baby safe from physical harm through immunization, car seat safety, providing a smoke-free environment, and following tips for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • hold and talk to your baby every chance you have.
  • schedule regular check ups with your family doctor or public health nurse.
  • take good care of yourself

First Days with your Child

The most important thing you need to do after the birth of your child is rest. You should plan to spend the first few days after your baby is born resting in the hospital or at home.

  • Every parent and child bond differently. Give yourself quiet time to hold and explore your baby. Encourage friends to wait until you've arrived at home before visiting. 
  • After a birth, many women feel a wide range of emotions. Often joy and happiness can be mixed with fear and doubt. Some women feel more exhausted, helpless, or irritable than anything else. Allow yourself to experience these emotions without judgment. 
  • A nurse or your midwife will help you learn to breastfeed, diaper, and bath your baby, as well as respond to your baby’s cues and safely position your baby for sleeping. 
  • Women who have uncomplicated labours and vaginal births in the hospital can usually go home after 48 hours. Women who have a caesarean birth often spend 3 to 4 days recovering in the hospital. 
  • You will continue to have blood flow for several weeks after the birth. Ask your midwife, labour nurse, or public health nurse about how much is normal. 
  • If you can, arrange for someone to help you at home while you and your newborn adjust. Help with meals, laundry and shopping will ensure that you have more time to spend with your newborn. 
  • If you will be transporting the baby by car, ensure you have purchased and properly installed a certified infant car seat. (Seat should be less than six years old.) 
  • You will get birth and name registration forms from your nurse in the hospital or from your midwife. 
  • Your hospital or the public health unit in your area will provide a home follow-up program to help you and your baby make a healthy and safe adjustment. A nurse will contact you and offer to visit you in your home within one week after the birth. 

Up to 80% of women experience some feelings of distress following the birth of a child. This is often known as the "baby blues". For about one in five women, those emotions are more severe and last much longer. They may signal post-partum depression or anxiety. If you feel overwhelmed or depressed for more than a week, talk to your doctor, midwife, or public health nurse.

If you ever feel as though you might harm yourself or your baby, contact your doctor, midwife, public health nurse, or a crisis line immediately. They can help. You are not alone

Did you know?

Vaccines save lives and prevent disease. Learn how your child can be immunized and when.


There are many ways you can keep your baby safe from physical harm. This section has information and community resources to help you ensure car seat safety, safe sleeping, and a safe home for your baby.

  • always use a certified and properly secured car seat when transporting your baby by car
  • follow tips for safe sleeping to help reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • baby-proof your home before your baby arrives and continue to keep your home safe as your baby develops
  • a safe home includes a smoke-free environment for your baby

Car Seats

A car seat can save your baby’s life, and it is a British Columbia law that all children must be properly secured in car seats when traveling by car.

  • make sure you have a certified, properly installed car seat. It is wise to purchase an infant car seat before your child is born
  • infant car seats must always be installed facing the rear of the car
  • never place an infant car seat in a passenger seat with an airbag
  • the centre back seat is the safest place for your baby’s car seat
  • second-hand car seats, or car seats built before 1997, may not conform to safety standards - do not trust them to protect your child in an accident
  • buckle your baby into the car seat and buckle the car seat into your vehicle for every trip you take

Did you know?

  • 4/5 children are not properly buckled up when they ride in vehicles
  • car accidents are the number one cause of death for children between one and nine years old
  • about 75% of the deaths and serious injuries that happen in car accidents would have been prevented by the correct use of a child restraint on every car trip

Find out how to buckle your baby up safely

Learn more about choosing a car seat (ICBC).

BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety Information Line: 1-877-247-5551.

Safe Sleep

Each week, three babies die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in Canada. The exact cause of SIDS is not known but research has shown several ways to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

  • use a firm mattress for the baby’s sleeping surface
  • put your baby down to sleep on her back. SIDS is less common in babies who sleep on their backs
  • avoid soft mattresses, fluffy pillows, comforters, stuffed toys and bumper pads as they prevent proper air circulation around your baby's face
  • dress your baby so he is warm but not hot - even during illness, babies should not overheat while sleeping
  • breastfeeding may also reduce the risk of SIDS
  • keep a smoke-free home for your baby - babies who are exposed to smoke are at a higher risk for SIDS

Did you know?

Vaccines save lives and prevent disease. Learn how your child can be immunized and when.


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