Caring for a Baby

Is skin-to-skin contact useful and how do I go about it?

Skin-to-skin contact involves placing the newborn on the mother or the father’s bare chest. Skin-to-skin contact offers many benefits for the baby as well as the mother and the father.  

When the mother’s and the baby’s health allows it, this practice is highly encouraged on the Mother-Child Unit, whether the infant is breastfed, bottle-fed or delivered vaginally or by C-section. 

Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged immediately after delivery, especially with the mother, and can continue throughout your hospital stay and beyond if you so wish.  

Benefits for the mother and the baby

  • Eases the baby’s transition to life outside the womb
  • Helps calm the mother 
  • Regulates the baby’s body temperature thanks to the heat emanating from your skin
  • Stabilizes the baby’s blood sugar, heartbeat and breathing
  • Helps the baby feel safe: the baby recognizes your heartbeat and smell 
  • Has a calming effect: the baby cries less
  • Heightens the baby’s natural instinct to breastfeed
  • Helps babies latch and nurse
  • Helps reduce bleeding (hemorrhage) in the uterus
  • Promotes breast milk production
  • Helps the baby get used to touch
  • Promotes bonding
  • Helps the mother feel more confident

Benefits for the father

  • Promotes bonding
  • Helps the father feel more confident 
  • Helps the father be more aware of his baby’s needs
  • Creates a special connection 
  • Helps the baby and father discover one another

When should I have my baby vaccinated?

Vaccines will help your child develop the defenses (antibodies) needed to fight diseases. Babies usually get their first vaccines at two months of age. You can create your child’s vaccination record on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

Children are vaccinated against the following diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Pneumococcal infection
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio
  • Haemophilus influenza type b infections (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis B

In Québec, there is an immunization (vaccination) schedule.  Vaccination is recommended for all (though not mandatory) and is free. To have your baby vaccinated, you can go to the CLSC or your child’s doctor. 

For more on vaccination for children: 

Vaccine administered in the Mother-Child Care Unit

In some cases, a hepatitis B vaccine is given to the baby while in the Mother-Child Unit. It is administered to your baby if you have hepatitis B. 

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