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INFANCY: Family Support and Community Relationships

SECTIONS: Planning for the New Baby: Moms  ~  Planning for the New Baby:  Dads  ~  New Relationships, New Routines  ~  Making Life Easier  ~  Baby Blues  ~  Feeling Safe at Home  ~  Child Care Concerns  ~  Community Resources  ~  Financial and Other Resources to Help Your Family and Your Baby

couple holding baby shoes
Planning for the New Baby: Moms
  • Take care of YOU: Go to all your prenatal care appointments; eat a healthy diet; get enough sleep and be physically active. If you have special health needs, ask your doctor for any special instructions.
  • Regular dental checkups help maintain good oral health.
  • If you work outside the home, make plans to take time off to be with the new baby and to recover from pregnancy and delivery.
  • Before you leave the hospital make sure you have a phone number you can call if you have questions once you get home.
Planning for the New Baby: Dads
  • Ask questions and get the support you need for yourself, too.
  • Talk about what it's like to become a father—your hopes, fears, and what growing up was like for you. Discuss how you will be involved in raising this new baby.
New Relationships, New Routines
  • Caring for infants takes teamwork. Each parent and family member will want to develop a special relationship with the baby. Most babies enjoy being held, cuddled, and talked to by family members and respond with smiles as they learn who to trust.
  • Older children may need extra attention when the baby arrives. Help them adjust to new routines. Find little ways to have them help with the baby so they will feel proud to be a big sister or brother.
Making Life Easier
  • Take time for yourself, and for you and your partner. Identify your personal support system. Find others to talk to and get support from—raising children is hard work!
  • Tell family and friends specific things they can do to help, including giving your family some time alone.
  • Think about family planning and how big you would like your family to be. Take time to share your hopes and thoughts.
Baby Blues
  • Many mothers experience some "new baby blues." Let others know if you are sad most of the time and don't enjoy things you used to. Enough sleep and good meals will help. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don't be tempted to use that time to do chores. Talk with your health care provider or your baby's health provider for help.
Feeling Safe at Home
  • If violence or abuse ever occurs at home, let your caregivers know—there are programs and ways that can help you be safe.
Child Care Concerns
  • Talk to your health care provider about what to consider in looking for child care or babysitters—how to continue patterns of eating, sleeping, breastfeeding, playtimes, etc. Talk about any problems your child has being away from you.
Community Resources
  • Find out about the many social, faith-based, cultural, volunteer, and recreational organizations or programs available in the community to help support new families. Many of these are free or low cost.
  • If you need help with alcohol or drug use, some community agencies help women during pregnancy and after to safely care for the baby and themselves.
Financial and Other Resources to Help Your Family and Your Baby
  • Talk with your health care provider or others about needs you have—you may be eligible for food, fuel, housing, or transportation assistance programs.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave in certain circumstances (and continue group health insurance coverage). For example: birth and care of a newborn baby up to 1 year, care of a newly adopted child or foster child, care for serious health needs of child/family members, and a variety of circumstances for active duty military families. For specific information see: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/.
  • Evaluate health insurance benefits and other programs that pay for health care.