You and Your New Baby

I had my baby, now what?

While you just want to get home and snuggle that baby, don’t forget these important details within that first week home.

  • If applicable, add baby to your or your partner’s medical benefits with work – most benefits providers only allow a 30 day window after the birth to register.

  • Register baby’s birth online* to get a birth certificate, enrol baby in the Medical Servies Plan, apply for Canada Child Benefits and apply for baby’s Social Insurance Number.

    Note: Registration is free but there is a fee for the birth certificate which requires a credit card. You can also pay in cash, in person at the Service BC Office, located at 45467 Yale Rd #1, Chilliwack or call 604-795-8415.

  • Following up with your doctor about dates for baby and mom check ups, vaccination schedule & location, public health contact for support first 6 weeks.

Things not going as planned?

Pregnancy, labour and delivery don’t always go as planned. After baby has come, you may find you’re facing some some struggles in different areas of your life, or even coming to terms with how your whole birthing story unfolded. Below is some information and support for some of the common struggles faced by new moms.

I had a great pregnancy, I had a good relationship with my care provider, I read all the books and watched the videos (and my partner did as well). I had a birth plan and had a vision of how it would all go.

Then my water broke while I was in the shower and dark liquid came out. My midwife told me it was meconium and sent me to the hospital. Everything is a bit of a blur after that. I ended up getting transferred to a different hospital and had lots of care providers. Everyone was very kind and spent time to explain things to me but I couldn’t help but feel that I was in a dream – it was all surreal. In the end I was induced because my contractions never started. My baby’s heart rate dropped and I had an emergency c-section. Five days later I went home, with my baby and realized I had never given the doctors the plan I had in my bag. Everything seemed to move quickly even though there was a lot of waiting.

I have talked to my midwife and it was very helpful to get her perspective on events. I felt better after I had talked about my experience with someone knowledgeable. Ultimately I am so in love with my baby but I can’t help feeling like a bit of a failure and feeling disappointed that I did not get to experience the plans I had for birth. My family doctor told me I was grieving not having the “delivery of my dreams” and validated that it was okay to feel sad and upset about that. She suggested I see a counsellor to talk about my grief. I guess this sadness can lead to postpartum depression and anxiety so she wants me to see her again in a few weeks and gave me some tips on preventing this.

From a fellow mom

I went into preterm labour with my first child which was stressful but then came another challenge. My daughter spend 5 weeks in then NICU. It was so hard being surrounded by these small sick babies. The nurses were mostly kind, sometimes a few of them made me feel that I was in the way but most were okay. It was really hard to go home at night and leave my baby, but it did get easier as I got to know the nursing staff better. I also realized how important it was for me to get a good night sleep and how much better prepared I was to deal with things the next day. I found my partner and I got pretty irritated with each other on the days we did not sleep well. At first we took turns being with our daughter but one of the nurses suggested we come and go together and this was a good change as it meant we both slept better and had time to talk as we drove to and from the hospital. My partner could not come daily as he had to work and I know he felt really guilty about this but it was good that we talked about it and I sent him updates during the day. It was also really good to talk to the counsellor and the social worker at the hospital to get some support. I realized it was better for me to get in the habit of speaking up when I felt uncertain or afraid.

Bringing my daughter home was so nerve-wracking. In the hospital I had nurses to help with everything and they kept her monitored. I got very anxious at home (I think we visited our doctor every 3 days at first!). Every noise or roll woke me up and I was so worried she would die in her sleep that I woke up every few hours to check on her. I was also obsessed with how much weight she gained because I was nursing and topping up with formula and then pumping. I became exhausted. The less I slept the more worried and the more I worried the harder it got to sleep. Eventually I needed help. I saw my family doctor who diagnosed me with postpartum anxiety. We made a plan to get better which mostly required me to ask more people to help me. My mom started coming over every afternoon so I could try to nap (at first I just laid in bed stressing), and my partner took over all responsibility of meal planning (we ate a lot of take out and noodles). I realized I had really isolated myself and that my partner was more capable than I gave him credit for.

From a fellow mom

When our eldest child was born, my husband and I felt that life could not get any better. This euphoria lasted a number of days but after the initial excitement, sleep deprivation, and numerous visitors, the demands on our personal time became a reality. I knew the arrival of the baby would change our lives, but I was unprepared for what this would look like.  I did not realize how all-consuming this tiny human being would be. How even getting a cup of coffee or a shower would be such a monumental task. Even though my husband was supportive, we had bills that had to be paid and work kept him out of the house for many hours most days.

Not surprising, relationship expert John Gottman says that ‘about two-thirds of couples have serious problems in the first three years of the baby’s life, where their happiness with one another went down and their hostility increased.” Gottman goes on to explain that fathers are pivotal in their role, not only with the baby, but with the mother, who is able to be a better parent if he’s involved with her. As mothers, we may feel that we know the “right way” of doing everything for our baby. After all, we’re generally the ones spending most of our time with them. But it’s ok to pass on some of those tasks to give yourself a break and it’s also ok if your spouse does things differently than you!

If you are one of the couples experiencing marital tensions after bringing baby home, know that you are not alone and that help is available. You wouldn’t be the first parents to ask for help! Make sure to talk to your spouse about how you’re feeling and take the time to connect for a few minutes every day and with the occasional “date night” – even if that means a picnic on the living room floor when baby has gone to sleep (just make sure you ask for a foot rub while you’re at it!).

From a fellow mom

Most people think that having a baby is all excitement and endless joy, but for so many women a variety of other feelings may also be present.  Postpartum depression and anxiety is an issue for approximately 1 in 6 to 1 in 8 women.  The symptoms they experience may present during pregnancy or after the baby has arrived.

Symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety can include physical symptoms, thoughts, feelings, or be seen in the woman’s behaviours.  Some examples of the most common symptoms are listed below:

  • thoughts of feeling like a bad mother or thoughts that she is not good enough
  • not having energy to take care of self or baby
  • not feeling joy or happiness towards the baby
  • feeling guilty about motherhood
  • crying for no apparent reason, getting upset easily
  • finding it hard to concentrate
  • removing self from social supports (ex. not returning phone calls, not attending family gatherings)
  • sleeping excessively, not sleeping at all, or having trouble falling asleep
  • weight gain or weight loss that is beyond what is expected
  • afraid to do things that she normally would have no problem doing (like going for a walk to the park, or driving to grocery store)
  • shortness of breath, racing heart, or feeling like there is a weight on the chest and unable to take a deep breath
  • excessively cleaning or organizing, unrealistic expectations for self
  • worrying about things beyond one’s control (ex. the weather, an earthquake, etc.)
  • feeling irritable and “on edge,” or easily startled
  • thoughts of harming oneself or harming baby

Symptoms are not limited to those listed above and can present in many forms.  Many women may have more than one of these symptoms at the same time. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms what are the next steps?

The best thing for the wellness of you and your baby is to get help.  Remind yourself that you are not alone and that many women experience perinatal depression or anxiety.  Just like we need help for a broken leg it’s okay to need help for your mental wellbeing. Discuss your symptoms with your Doctor, Midwife or Public Health Nurse.

Research on infant brain development is evolving all the time.   Common knowledge today supports the fact that all babies need love and attachment as an important part of healthy development. And you equally need that love and support – so be kind to yourself and ask for help.

The following are links to resources on Perinatal Depression and Anxiety:

  • The BC Reproductive Mental Health Program call: 604-875-2025 or 604-806-8589
  • Pacific Postpartum Support Society call: 604-255-7999 or toll-free 1-855-255-7999

Being Mom is a 10 week support group for women diagnosed with post partum depression and anxiety.

For more information contact: Lise McAlpine at 604-702-4860 or Cristal Biela at 604-702-2311.

Breast Feeding, A New Mom’s Story.

When my son was born, he had difficulty latching to my breast. I was lucky to have the guidance of my midwives who recommended that I see a lactation consultant right away. Even with this help, my baby’s latching issue continued for a few weeks until he was diagnosed with a tongue tie and I was diagnosed with inverted nipples.

After researching about tongue tie releases and discussing with my midwives and doctor, my husband and I decided to go ahead with the procedure. It was a really hard decision, but I felt strongly about pursuing breastfeeding. After the procedure, my son showed some improvement with his latch over the following week, but he still wasn’t getting enough solely from breastfeeding. He was losing weight, so we continued to supplement with formula and pumped breast milk as we had been doing from the beginning. I was exhausted from the continuous cycle of nursing, followed by a bottle to top him up, pumping to help increase my milk supply and have milk for his bottles, and washing/sterilizing all the bottles and pumping accessories. I was also extremely frustrated and felt inadequate as a woman, often times feeling that he preferred the bottle to my breast… but I persisted.

His latch began to improve over the weeks (practice makes perfect!) and I started taking herbal supplements and prescription medication to help increase my milk supply. Finally, by 10 weeks old, he was exclusively breastfeeding. I know that I could have easily switched him over to formula during this challenging time, but it was important to me to give breastfeeding a true try. I am proud of what he and I accomplished together.

From a fellow mom

Hi, new mom. Like you, I had to make the difficult decision whether to feed my baby formula. I really wanted to nurse, but there were complications with my supply and I chose to switch to formula after a lot of discussions and a lot of tears. I was sad, disappointed, frustrated and felt like I was letting my baby down. I was also totally overwhelmed with all the options including brands, liquid versus powder, bottle styles, nipple sizes, how to prepare formula and properly sterilize bottles. And feeding formula can be expensive! Below are some great links to help with those questions but also make sure to involve your primary care provider and even your local pharmacist for help with those nitty gritty details. And remember, this decision is yours to make and you’re a rockstar whatever you choose!

From a fellow mom

3 AM concern about baby and not sure if it’s urgent?

Babies do all sorts of weird things at weird hours! From oddly coloured poops to gassy tummies, a funky looking rash, running a temperature or an accidental bonk on the head.

When you have a concern and it’s “off hours” for your doctor or clinics, call Healthlink BC at 8-1-1 for 24/7 help with non-emergency situations. You will have the option to speak with a registered nurse if you have concerns about baby and aren’t sure whether you should see your doctor or go to the ER. These amazing nurses will be able to help guide you to the appropriate resources. Make sure to have baby’s healthcare number on hand when you call in.

Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care

A reference guide to help new parents from pregnancy, through birth, and in the parenting of a baby up to six months of age.

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Contact Info

c/o Chilliwack General Hospital 45600 Menholm Road Chilliwack, BC V2P 1P7

Phone: 604-702-2850

Chilliwack Obstetrical Group (COGs)

The Chilliwack Obstetrical Group (COGs) is a group of family doctors who provide prenatal, delivery and postnatal services to women. We provide care in Chilliwack and in Hope.