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Newborn Care

This section provides parents and families with information about caring for their newborn.

Public Health Agency of Canada Parent Resource

Breastfeeding or chestfeeding is important for you and your baby.

Today most babies are breastfed or chestfed. And as more Canadians understand how important breastfeeding or chestfeeding is for the health of mothers/parents and babies, more people are supporting mothers/parents to breastfeed or chestfeed for longer, up to 2 years and more. To learn more visit these two resources:



Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby guide

The Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby guide, available inside the Pregnancy Passport, is a helpful tool that can be printed and posted in health-care facilities to promote breastfeeding or chestfeeding, or used with families for individual or group education: Breastfeeding or Chestfeeding My Baby


Human milk and contrast media

Is it safe to breastfeed or chestfeed my baby after my Medical Imaging test? Yes


Learn more about human milk and contrast media


Breastfeeding your preterm baby


The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet was adapted with permission from the BFI Strategy for Ontario. The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet supports families who have a preterm baby and who plan to breastfeed or chestfeed and/or provide human milk to their baby.


Topics include: breastfeeding or chestfeeding your preterm baby, skin-to-skin contact and Kangaroo care, tips to getting off to a good start, pumping, feeding your baby at the hospital and tips for when you take your baby home.


The Breastfeeding Your Preterm Baby booklet is available in the following languages:



Informal (peer-to-peer) milk sharing

Your own milk is the best way to feed your baby. When your milk is not available, for whatever reason, pasteurized donor human milk from an official milk bank is the next best choice.


Some parents feel the benefits of human milk outweigh the potential risks of formula. Informal milk sharing (sometimes called peer-to-peer milk sharing) is human milk that is:


  • obtained from family members, friends, a milk-sharing website, or purchased online;
  • usually not treated to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses

If you are thinking about giving your baby milk from an informal donor, read the Informal (Peer-to-Peer) Human Milk Sharing Family Information Sheet  and talk with your health care provider to discuss the risks and benefits of all feeding options.


BC Women's provincial milk bank

The BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank screens milk donors, collects and pasteurizes donated milk, and distributes it to hospitals in BC.

Milk from a baby’s own mother/parent is always the first choice. When her milk isn’t available, donor milk is the next best thing. Donor milk has active beneficial properties and is similar to mother’s/parent's own milk. It provides babies with antibodies to fight disease and infection. Human milk is best for all babies. It is especially important for sick and very tiny babies.


The demand for milk is high and often exceeds supply. New donors are always needed.


Before attempting to drop off milk to a  milk collection depot, you must call the depot that you plan to use to confirm times and locations for drop off.


Breastfeeding or chestfeeding promotional materials

These materials promote community support of breastfeeding or chestfeeding. Click on the images below to see print-ready versions of the promotional materials.


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4 x posters (PDF)


World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, but it is celebrated in Canada from October 1-7. It is celebrated in October because it is the 10th month of the year and symbolizes the first week of a baby's life (after nine months of pregnancy) when a baby may begin to breastfeed or chestfeed.


The #WBW2023 slogan "Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents" will focus on breastfeeding or chestfeeding and employment/work. It will showcase the impact of paid leave, workplace support and emerging parenting norms on breastfeeding or chestfeeding through the lens of parents themselves. Target audiences including governments, policymakers, workplaces, communities and parents will be engaged to play their critical roles in empowering families and sustaining breastfeeding-friendly or chestfeeding-friendly environments in the post-pandemic work life. The theme is aligned with thematic area 4 of the WBW-SDG 2030 campaign.


The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) reminds us that although support at the individual level is very important, breastfeeding or chestfeeding must be considered a public health issue that requires investment at all levels. In Canada, just over 91% of mothers/parents initiate breastfeeding or chestfeeding but 1 in 7 stop before newborn reaches one month of age.** The concept of 'building back better' after the COVID 19 pandemic will provide an opportunity to create a warm chain of support for breastfeeding or chestfeeding that includes health systems, workplaces and communities at all levels of society. A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding or chestfeeding and protect against industry influence. It is time to inform, anchor, engage and galvanize action to protect breastfeeding or chestfeeding at all levels.


**The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Canada's Breastfeeding Progress Report 2022


Learn more about World Breastfeeding Week


Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge

In October, the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge celebrates breastfeeding or chestfeeding and milk-banking and demonstrates promotion, protection, and support for breastfeeding or chestfeeding women/parents and their families. It’s a chance for education and peer support to be done in a fun social way.


The challenge is usually held the first Saturday in October of each year to see which geographic area (province, state, or territory) has the most breastfeeding or chestfeeding babies, as a percentage of the birth rate, “latched on” at 11 am local time.


Other resources:


Covid-19
Skin to Skin Contact

iStock-1217885892.jpgSkin-to-skin contact is a method of nurturing care, shown extensively to benefit both the parent and the newborn. Skin-to-skin contact gives your baby the best start to life.


Learn more:



Kangaroo Care

The best start for you and your baby is skin-to-skin and heart-to-heart in kangaroo care. Kangaroo care is the skin-to-skin holding of your baby against your bare chest, often secured with a wrap. Kangaroo care provides warmth, comfort, and a place where your baby will grow and begin to make positive connections. It supports your baby's brain development and is good for both you and your baby.


The following resources provide information and support for parents and families with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

All About Your Baby: Information for the Bedside (For Parents) 


The transfer of a baby from one NICU to another NICU can be stressful. By completing this document, you will provide important information to the doctors and nurses working in the unit where your baby is going.


BC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) information for families:

The following websites and resources provide information and support for parents and families with babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU).


Baby's Best Chance

Baby's Best Chance: Parents' Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care is intended to offer general information about pregnancy and parenting, with a focus on ensuring the health and wellbeing of you and your baby. It also provides guidance on how you can access additional support, should you need it. Topics covered include pregnancy, birth and parenting a baby up to six months of age.



Parenting Babies 0-12 months

Babies don't come with instruction manuals. But parents and health care professionals have learned a lot about the best ways to care for and nurture little ones. For more information, see HealthLink BC Parenting Babies 0-12 months



Safer sleep 


Safer Sleep for My Baby

 In the early weeks of life, babies sleep for about 16 hours a day. When it comes to sleep, your baby’s sleep environment is always important – day or night. Some sleep practices are safer than others. Safer Sleep for My Baby pamphlet (PDF) shares information about how to help make your baby’s sleep environment as safe as possible. – Make every sleep a safer sleep.




Honouring our Babies Safer Sleep Cards 

Indigenous infants are disproportionately impacted by sudden, unexpected infant death during sleep. While there is no one sleep practice that completely eliminates the risk, these cards support parents to choose safer infant sleep positions, environments, surfaces and protective factors.



Low blood sugar in First Nations babies and young children

A genetic change called the CPT1a variant (also referred to CPT1a or Alaskan variant) may increase the chances of a baby or young child having low blood sugar. See First Nations Parent Resource for information on how to prevent low blood sugar in healthy First Nations babies and young children.



Newborn eye infections

Most of the time, puffy or red eyes in your baby are caused by a blocked tear duct or infections by viruses or bacteria. Some eye infection may be serious and need special medication. See our family information sheet.



Covid-19

  • Infant Formula Feeding: Information on how to safely feed your baby during COVID-19 if you are using or thinking about using infant formula.
  • Newborn Masks: Masks or face coverings, visors or eye protection are not made to be used on newborn/children under the age of 2 years. Find more information on how to keep your baby safe.

Please visit the following sections in Our Services:




SOURCE: Newborn Care ( )
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