Now Your Baby is Here

Bringing baby home means many changes in the family. Taking care of yourself is an important part of being able to care for and enjoy your newborn.

When to see a health care provider

It is important that your baby is seen by a health care provider within 48 hours of leaving the hospital, at one week of age or as directed by your baby’s health care provider.

Contact your health care provider if:

  • Baby is not feeding well or is refusing to feed 
  • Baby is sleepy all the time and is hard to wake up
  • Baby's skin and/or whites of the eyes appear yellow or becoming more yellow
  • Baby has fewer wet diapers or bowel movements than expected
  • Shows signs of dehydration


Babies can quickly become dehydrated. They can either not get enough fluid or lose too much fluid.

Signs your baby is dehydrated include:

  • Decreased urination
  • Difficult to wake and sleepy
  • Dark and strong-smelling urine
  • Weak cry
  • Increased thirst
  • Absence of tears
  • Dry skin, mouth and tongue
  • Faster heart beat
  • Sunken eyes
  • Greyish skin
  • Sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on your baby's head

If your baby is showing signs of dehydration, call your health care provider, visit the emergency department or find local care options in Waterloo Region.

Newborn screening and follow-up

After birth, the Newborn Screening Ontario program tests your baby for early detection of disease. Your baby will also have a hearing screen and a jaundice screen.

Your body after childbirth

Your body goes through physical changes during pregnancy and it will take some time for your body to recover after childbirth.

You will also experience emotional changes in your new role as a mother and hormonal changes that happen after childbirth.

See your health care provider within six weeks after birth to make sure your body is healing well. It is important to take time for yourself and your own health needs.

Call your health care provider or go to the hospital emergency department or an urgent care clinic if: 

  • you have new or increased pain, redness, or swelling,
  • you have foul-smelling and/or yellow or green discharge from your vagina or stitches,
  • your incision starts to open,
  • your bleeding fills one sanitary pad in an hour, twice in a row, or you experience blood clots larger than a plum or an egg,
  • you experience a red, hot, painful area on your breast,
  • you have fever or flu-like symptoms,
  • you have chest or leg pain, or
  • you are experiencing symptoms of a perinatal/postpartum mood disorder.

Self care and mental health

It is important to take care of yourself when you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, have had a baby or are a new parent. All caregivers and family members (including fathers) can experience emotional difficulty during this transition.The following are some things you can do for self care: 

  • Ask for help when you need it

  • Take time to relax and laugh

  • Spend time with loved ones and friends

  • Get enough sleep

  • Enjoy a healthy diet

  • Make time to be active

A parent's mental health and wellness is important to the family's wellbeing. Talking with someone you trust about the way you are feeling can help you get the care you need.

If you are experiencing stress or mental health concerns, you can find help from:

  • Your health care provider (family doctor, midwife, nurse, obstetrician/gynecologist)
  • Your counsellor, social worker or clergy
  • Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247 (toll-free)
  • Mental Health Services: 1-866-531-2600 (toll-free)
  • Public Health: 519-575-4400
  • Local care options in Waterloo Region 

Baby blues

Just a few days after giving birth, you may feel moody, weepy and irritable. This is called the baby blues. The baby blues are so common that they are considered to be normal. Baby blues usually start a few days after your baby's birth and last up to 14 days. Up to four in five new mothers experience baby blues in the first weeks after the birth of a baby or adoption.

These feelings often go away on their own. If these feelings last longer than two weeks or get in the way of your activities, contact your health care provider.

Postpartum mood disorder

Perinatal mood disorders, also known as postpartum mood disorders, are more serious emotional ups and downs and affect one in five new mothers. You may feel:

  • Sad and tearful
  • Exhausted but unable to sleep
  • Overwhelmed and can't concentrate
  • Uninterested in activities you use to enjoy
  • Hopeless or frustrated
  • Restless, irritable or angry
  • Extremely "high" and full of energy
  • Feeling anxious - you may feel this as aches, chest pains, shortness of breath, numbness, tingling or a lump in your throat
  • Guilt and shame, thinking you are not a good parent
  • Not bonding or feeling connected to your baby
  • Afraid to be alone with your baby

If you feel like hurting yourself or your baby - get help right away:

This is not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available.

Soothing your crying baby

Crying is normal for babies. It is your baby's way of telling you something is wrong. Learn to recognize and respond to the early signs that your baby needs you. 

You can respond to the basic needs of your baby by:

If these needs are met and your baby is still crying try the following:

  • Hold your baby in a different way

  • Burp your baby

  • Play soft music or "white noise" as background sound

  • Gently rock your baby

  • Snuggle your baby skin-to-skin

  • Go for a walk with your baby

  • Make sure you are in a quiet room with low light

All babies go through a period early in life when they cry more than at any other time, but each baby is different and may be harder to soothe.

Babies cry for many reasons, but never to make you angry.

Never shake a baby, not even for a moment! 

Shaking your baby can injure their brain. If you are feeling frustrated or angry by your baby's crying, put the baby down in a safe place and ask someone to help you. 

Feeding your baby

The World Health Organization, Health Canada and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months after your baby’s birth.

Find more information on feeding your baby with the following resources:

Connecting with your baby

Your baby’s relationship with their caregivers is important. Babies learn and form attachments by taking in information through their five senses. What they experience affects their brain development. When you interact with your baby in a nurturing and responsive way it improves their lifelong physical and emotional health.


Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to be. When you and your baby are skin-to-skin, they can hear you, smell you and see you. Skin-to-skin releases hormones in both the baby and parent that improve mood and bonding.

Here’s how to do it: Place your baby wearing only a diaper, with their tummy on your (or your partner’s) bare chest. If you wish you can then place a light blanket over you and baby.

Learn more about the benefits of skin-to-skin and connecting with your baby. 

Parenting support 

If you have questions about the health of your child, please contact your health care provider or Health 811.

  • Healthy Babies Healthy Children is a free, voluntary program for pregnant moms and families with young children up to the age of six.
  • Public Health Breastfeeding Clinics are run by trained Public Health Nurses. The service is FREE and offers one-to-one infant feeding assessments, advice, support and referrals to other community services, as needed.
  • The Breastfeeding Buddies program offers one-to-one match support via text, phone, and email. A team of trained, diverse volunteers that speak 17 different languages and have diverse backgrounds. They also have lived experience with overcoming breastfeeding challenges, and accessing community resources in Waterloo Region.

Find more services on our parenting support page.

Additional resources

Pregnancy, birth and early parenting

Mental health

Growth and development



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