Making Connections
Making Connections
Your First Two Years with Baby
Copyright 2009, Healthy Child Manitoba
This book is based on Growing Healthy Together: Birth To Two Years, 2nd
edition, a publication produced by Toronto Public Health. Material may
be reproduced for educational, non-profit use only, provided the source is
acknowledged. Please contact Healthy Child Manitoba prior to reproduction
of any material. Material identified from other sources is copyrighted. These
sources must be contacted prior to any reproduction.
For further information, contact:
3rd Fl - 332 Bannatyne Ave.
Winnipeg, MB
R3A 0E2
T: 204-945-2266
Toll-free: 1-888-848-0140
Message to Parents
As a parent, you play a very important role in helping your child grow up
to be happy, healthy and ready to start school. Your baby’s brain is not fully
developed at birth. For your baby’s brain to grow and develop in a healthy
way, he/she needs positive experiences early in life.
You can give your baby the best start in life by caring for him/her in a
warm and loving way and doing things together like reading, singing,
talking and playing. These early experiences help different parts of
your baby’s brain grow and will have a positive effect on how he/she
learns, thinks, feels and behaves now and later in life.
Because the early years are so important to your child’s healthy growth,
you need to know how children learn and what helps them grow up to feel
good about themselves. We hope this book will help you understand what
you can do to connect with your child in a loving, healthy way.
Table of Contents
Your Changing Body
New Feelings
When to See Your Public Health Nurse,
Doctor or Primary Health Care Provider
Birth Control – Which Type is Right For Me?
About You
Your First Look at Your Baby
Taking Care of Your Baby
Feeding Your Baby
Playing and Learning
Baby Equipment Safety
Baby’s First Checkups
1 - 6 MONTHS
Getting to Know Your Baby
Building a Close Relationship with Your Baby
Your Baby’s Brain Development
Taking Care of Yourself
Choosing a Babysitter
Choosing Child Care
Playing and Learning
Stages of Development
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Your Baby’s Checkups
Your Growing Baby
6 - 12 MONTHS
Playing and Learning
Stages of Development
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Your Baby’s Checkups
Your Growing Baby
1 - 2 YEARS
Breastfeeding Your Toddler
Toilet Training
How Toddlers Act
Child Abuse
Playing and Learning
Stages of Development
Keeping Your Toddler Safe
Your Toddler’s Checkups
Your Toddler
Taking Care
of You
The birth of a child will probably be one of the biggest changes you will go
through in your life. In the first few weeks, your body will still be recovering from the
labour and birth. You may have many new feelings as you try to adjust to this new life
while learning to take care of your newborn baby. You may go from feeling happy to
feeling sad in a very short time.
All these things are normal and are part of becoming a new mother. Your partner will
also be going through changes, while trying to support you, as you both learn to care
for a new baby.
This section is all about what happens after you give birth. You will find answers to the
following questions:
• How will my body change after giving birth?
• How will I feel after giving birth? (examples: sadness, excitement, confusion)
• What signs or symptoms should I report to my health care provider right away?
• What are my options for birth control?
Your Changing Body
What Might Happen
You feel tired because of a
long, hard labour, and have
had little sleep since baby
What to Do
• Rest as much as possible.
• Sleep when your baby sleeps.
• Limit visitors.
• Ask family or friends to help out.
You may have sharp pains in your stomach.
These are called afterpains. They help your
uterus stop bleeding and go back to its
normal size.
You may feel these pains in the first few days
when breastfeeding. Afterpains are common
in women who have had babies before.
You will have bleeding from your vagina for 2 to
6 weeks. This is caused by the uterus shedding
its lining.
For 2 or 3 days, the flow will be dark red, with
small clots. After this, there will be less bleeding,
and it will look brownish pink (like the last few
days of your period), then yellowish white.
• Take slow breaths and try to relax.
• Pee regularly.
• If the pains get worse, or do not go away
after a few days, talk to your health care
• Wear a sanitary pad in your underwear (larger
pads at the beginning for heavier flow, then
thinner pads as the bleeding slows down).
• Only use tampons after any vaginal tears or
incisions have healed.
• If your bleeding does not decrease or smells
bad, call your health care provider.
What Might Happen
What to Do
• Keep the area clean by squirting warm water
between your legs whenever you use the toilet.
You will feel sore between your legs. This is
caused either by stretching during labour, or
stitches from an episiotomy or tear.
• If you have stitches, pat dry.
• Wipe yourself from front to back.
• Sit in a warm bath.
• Do Kegel exercises – talk to your health care
provider if you don’t know how.
At first, you may find it difficult
to pee. This is caused by the
stretching of that area during
childbirth. It usually goes away
in a few days.
For the first little while, it may be hard to have
a bowel movement.
• Drink a lot of fluids
(water, juice, tea)
• Go to the toilet regularly,
even if you don’t feel like it.
• Try to eat more fibre - whole grain breads,
whole grain rice, bannock, bran, prunes,
fruits, vegetables, etc.
• Drink a lot of water and other fluids.
• Use stool softeners if you continue to have
problems (you can get these at the drug
What Might Happen
What to Do
• Do not stand for long periods of time.
• Sit on pillows to ease the soreness.
You may get swelling in or
around your rectum called
hemorrhoids. This can make
this area sore and tender.
• Lie down to take pressure off your bottom.
• Drink a lot of water and other fluids.
• Eat more fibre - whole grain breads, whole
grain rice, bannock, bran, prunes, fruits,
vegetables, etc.
• Take walks every day.
• Avoid straining (pushing hard) when going
to the bathroom.
Getting your menstrual period:
If you are breastfeeding only (not giving any
formula, water, other liquids or food) your
period may be delayed.
• Be sure to talk to your health care provider
about birth control – because you can get
pregnant even before you get your period.
If you are not breastfeeding, your period will
usually start within 4-9 weeks after giving birth.
As your milk supply increases, your
breasts may feel full for the first few days
after giving birth.
Your stomach will be soft. It takes about six
weeks before it becomes firm.
• Start breastfeeding early
and breastfeed as often as
• Breasts will often feel full
before feeds and softer after.
• Ask your health care provider about safe
exercises you can do after your baby is
New Feelings
The first few days and weeks after your baby is born can be an exciting and tiring time. You
may have many new feelings inside that can be very confusing. Just remember… it is all part
of becoming a new parent.
Baby Blues
Many new mothers feel sad, or cry easily, in the first
few weeks after their babies are born. These feelings
are normal. They happen for different reasons, such as:
• changing hormones
• lack of sleep
• discomfort from labour and birth
• being unsure about how to care for your baby
• added stress from your new responsibilities as a mother
• a need to try and do everything at once
• your changing relationship with your partner
Helpful Tips
Here are some tips to help you cope during these first few weeks:
• When you are in the hospital, ask a lot of questions about caring for your new baby
(ex: How often does my baby need to feed? What do I do if the baby won’t stop crying?
Why should I put my baby on his/her back to sleep?)
• When you get home, get a lot of rest.
• Sleep when your baby sleeps, so you will have more energy when baby is awake.
• Don’t have too many visitors, and keep the visits short.
• Ask family and friends to help out with the cooking and cleaning.
• Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t know everything. Be patient and give yourself
time to get used to your new life and your new baby.
Postpartum Depression
If you feel sad for a long time or are finding it hard to cope, call your doctor or health care
provider. You may have postpartum depression. If you feel like you might hurt your baby
or yourself, immediately call your health care provider or local hospital emergency.
When to See Your Public Health
Nurse, Doctor or Primary Health
Care Provider
Public health nurses provide post partum follow-up and
family support to new mothers and their families. This is
done by phone contact and/or home visits in the first two
weeks after delivery. Public health nurses can answer many
questions that new mothers may have about their own body,
their baby, breastfeeding and other community resources.
Six weeks after giving birth, you would normally see your doctor or primary health care provider
for a checkup. However, if your baby was born by Caesarean section (C-section), the doctor will
probably want to see you sooner.
To get ready for your doctor’s visit, it is a good idea to write down all the questions you want to
ask and take the list with you to your appointment.
If you have any health concerns before your 6-week checkup, call your doctor or primary health
care provider. This is especially important if you have any of the signs or symptoms listed below:
• heavy bleeding - soaking up more than 1
maxi-pad in under an hour
• pass large clots of blood
• bright red blood returns after the 4th day of
giving birth
• have bad smelling vaginal flow
• stitches open up, or become painful,
or there’s a bad smell in that area
• severe, sharp pains in your tummy
that don’t go away
• chills
• feel dizzy
• unable to have a bowel movement (poop)
even after using stool softeners
• pain, redness or swelling near caesarean
• bad headaches
that don’t go away
• fever
• blurred vision or
spots in front of
your eyes
• painful red area on
your breast that
does not get better
by more frequent
• pain when you pee
• painful or red area
on your leg
• feelings of sadness
and depression that
don’t go away
• feelings that you might hurt the baby or yourself
Birth Control –
Which Type is Right For Me?
In preparing for your six week check up, it is a good idea to think about birth control. Using birth
control is important because:
• your body needs time to recover before you have another baby
• you can get pregnant even before you get your period (even if you are breastfeeding)
Think about the type of birth control you would prefer so you can discuss this with your health
care provider at your appointment.
Types of Birth Control
the Pill
cervical cap
contraceptive vaginal film
vasectomy (male)
tubal ligation (female)
condoms or foam
contraceptive gel/cream
IUD (intrauterine device)
natural family planning method
How do you choose?
To help you decide about birth control, you might want to think about:
How easy is it to use?
How easy is it to find?
How much does it cost?
How do you and your partner feel about this method of birth control?
How soon you want to have sex after your baby is born?
Will it effect breastfeeding?
What are the chances you could get pregnant while using this method?
What side effects does it have?
Will it protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
About You
Since my baby has been born...
My body has changed…
I feel…
What type(s) of birth control do I want to talk to my health care
provider about…
The First
The first month with your baby is very special, but it is also very busy and very tiring.
As you recover from labour and birth, you will spend most of your energy taking care of
your baby’s needs such as feeding, diapering and comforting. At times, you might feel
nervous about taking care of your baby. Soon you will feel more confident and learn
what your baby wants and how to take care of his/her needs. Ask for help from
someone you trust.
This section is all about what happens during the first month after giving birth. You will
find answers to the following questions:
How will my baby look after birth?
How do I care for my baby?
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and how can it be prevented?
What do I do if my baby cries or has colic?
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome and how can I prevent it?
How do I feed my baby?
What will my baby be able to do?
How do I keep my baby safe?
What will happen during my baby’s first checkup?
Your First Look at Your Baby
You might be surprised by how your baby looks when he/she is born. Many of the things
you see are normal and will go away over time.
Your baby’s head might seem too large for his/her body. The head might look out of
shape after a vaginal birth. It will become more normal in shape in a few days.
There are two spots on your baby’s head where the skull bones do not join. These are
called soft spots. The small soft spot at the back of the head will close in 2 - 6 months.
The large soft spot at the front of the head will close in 18 months.
Your baby is not strong enough to hold up his/her head or neck. Whenever you hold
your baby, support his/her head and back with your hands.
Your baby might be born with a thick head of hair or no hair at all. Don’t worry if your
baby’s hair is falling out and there are bald spots. New hair will grow in.
The soft, downy hair on your baby’s body is called lanugo. It will fall out within the first
few weeks.
Your baby’s face might be swollen. From sucking, your baby might have a blister on his/
her lip. These things are normal and will go away.
Your baby’s eye colour will depend on his/her skin tone. Babies with fair skin are usually
born with blue-grey eyes. Babies with darker skin usually have brown or dark grey eyes.
Your baby’s eye colour can change within the first 6 months.
You might not see many tears when your baby cries. Your baby will shed more tears
when he/she is about 3 months old.
Your baby has weak eye muscles, so his/her eyes might look crossed. This will go away
over time.
Your baby’s skin might be coated in a creamy white substance called vernix. It protected your
baby’s skin while he/she was in the uterus.
You might also notice red marks and white spots that look like pimples on your baby’s face.
The white spots are called milia. If your baby is dark skinned, you might see dark spots on
his/her back and bum. These marks and spots are all normal and will go away.
Hormones may cause your baby’s genitals to swell for the first few weeks after birth. Your
daughter’s vagina might have a white discharge with a small amount of blood in it. Your
son’s testicles might be larger than normal.
Umbilical Cord
Your baby’s umbilical cord will be bluish-white at birth. It will dry up and drop off over the
next two weeks.
Call your baby’s doctor or health care provider if the umbilical cord oozes pus, has a
bad smell, or is red and swollen.
Taking Care of Your Baby
Every time you feed, bathe or diaper your baby, you have the chance to get to know him/
her better. Touching, talking, smiling and playing are important activities that help your
baby’s brain grow and help you bond with each other.
Bathing Your Baby
General Tips
Wash your baby’s face, neck, hands and diaper
area, in that order every day.
Give your baby a full bath at least 3 times
a week.
Help your baby adapt to a bathing routine by
giving him/her a bath at the same time each day.
• Always stay with your baby. Your baby can
drown in seconds in less than an inch of
• Use one arm to support your baby’s head
and neck at all times.
• Never add warm or hot water to the tub
while baby is in it.
• Don’t use baby powder or cornstarch on
baby’s skin.
• Never put anything inside baby’s eyes, ears
or nose (including cotton swabs).
Giving Your Baby a Bath
Getting ready
Gather everything you need for your baby’s bath ahead of time - baby soap, baby
shampoo, wash cloths, towels, clothes and diaper.
If you are washing your baby in a sink, place a towel at the bottom of the sink to
prevent him/her from slipping.
Make sure the room is warm and not drafty.
Wash your hands.
Test the bath water with your elbow to make sure it is warm, NOT hot.
Bathing your baby
Undress your baby and place him or her in the basin of water or on the folded towel if
a sponge bath is being given.
Use only water and a clean washcloth to clean the area around the eyes. Begin with
the inside of the eye and wash toward the ear. Use a clean part of the washcloth and
wash the other eye.
Wash your baby’s face with water only.
Use your little finger tucked inside a wet washcloth to clean the ears. Never use Q-tips
inside your baby’s ears.
To wash your baby’s hair, tilt the head back while supporting the head and neck. Wet
your baby’s head with water. Add some baby soap to a damp washcloth and work up
a lather. Apply the lather to your baby’s head. Gently rub the lather over the head from
front to back to keep suds out of the eyes. Rinse the head with clean water and dry
with a towel.
To wash the baby’s body, work up a lather with the washcloth. Start with your baby’s
neck and wash the back, stomach, arms, and fingers. Rinse the washcloth, then rinse
the area just washed with water. Repeat the rinsing and lathering of the washcloth
and clean the legs and feet.
Clean your baby’s diaper area last. Clean this area beginning with the front, and then
move towards the buttocks.
For girls, clean the genitalia from front to back. This avoids getting stool (poop)
into the opening leading to the bladder, which may cause an infection.
For boys, gently wash the penis with soap and water.
Rinse and dry your baby with a clean soft towel.
Finishing up
Use a towel to dry the area around your baby’s umbilical cord.
Use a towel to dry between your baby’s fingers and toes and under his/her neck.
Dress your baby in clean clothes.
Changing Your Baby’s Diaper
Change your baby in a clean, safe area.
To prevent a fall, never leave your baby alone on a change table, bed or other raised
Choose a diaper - cloth or disposable - that is right for you and your baby. If you
choose cloth diapers, use plastic pants to keep your baby’s clothes dry.
Change your baby often to protect him/her from getting a diaper rash.
Use warm water or baby wipes to wash the diaper area every time you change your
baby. Always wipe your daughter from front to back to prevent infection in the area.
Never pull back your son’s foreskin for cleaning.
Make sure the diaper does not rub against the umbilical cord.
(Fold diaper down if this is happening)
To finish up, wash your hands with soap and water.
Dressing Your Baby
Your baby cannot control his/her body temperature, you need to keep him/her warm,
not hot. These are signs that your baby is too hot:
• sweating
• red cheeks
• less active or alert
When dressing your baby use clothes that are soft with smooth seams. Cotton is a good
fabric for baby clothes. Inside you might use an undershirt or “onesie” plus a sleeper.
Babies also like a receiving blanket. In warm weather take off a layer. In cold weather add
more layers.
Looking After Your Baby’s Mouth
It’s a good habit to clean your baby’s mouth even before he/she has teeth. Wipe your
baby’s gums with a clean, wet wash cloth at the end of every day. The routine will make
it easier for you and your baby to adjust to dental care.
Most babies are born without teeth. However, it is possible for a newborn or a very
young baby to have teeth.
Your baby will sleep on and off for 12-20 hours a day for the first 3 or 4 months, and
less time as he/she grows. Your baby needs this sleep to help his/her brain and central
nervous system grow. There is no set schedule for babies and they will have awake time
both during the day and night. Since your baby has a very small stomach, he/ she will likely
wake up every 1 ½ - 3 hours to eat. Use this time to feed, change and cuddle your baby
during the day and night.
Your baby’s sleeping patterns will change as he/she gets older. He/she will sleep less and
stay awake for longer. Watch for changes in your baby’s sleeping patterns and call your
public health nurse/health care provider if you are concerned.
Remember to lay your baby down to sleep on his/her back.
Helping Baby Sleep
You can help your baby sleep by knowing when he/she is
tired and by providing a comfortable, safe sleep environment.
These are signs your baby may be ready to sleep:
rubbing his/her eyes
looking away
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is also known as crib death. It is the sudden and
unexpected death of a healthy baby under 1 year of age.
The cause of SIDS is unknown but doctors have identified ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Take these steps to help protect your baby from SIDS:
Put your baby to sleep on his/her back, NOT his/her stomach or side.
Put your baby to sleep on a firm, flat surface with no toys, bumper pads or pillow.
Make sure baby cannot fall out of the bed.
Keep your baby away from tobacco smoke before and after birth.
Keep your baby warm, NOT hot. Use only a light blanket to cover him/her.
Breastfeeding may help to reduce SIDS.
Do not sleep with your baby while sitting or lying on the couch, chair, or recliner as your baby
could fall and suffocate between the cushions.
Do not have a baby less than 1 month of age sleep in their car seat if not in the car.
Do not put your under 1 month old baby to sleep in a swing or hard plastic carrier.
Amount of Crying
Your baby may cry more than you expect. Babies show
they are uncomfortable using body movements, facial
expressions, fussing, and then crying as ways to express
their feelings or needs. This can be frustrating, especially
if you don’t know what’s wrong.
The first thing you should do is pick up your baby when
he/she is uncomfortable. This will NOT spoil your baby.
In fact, if you hold and cuddle your baby, he/she will cry
less and sleep more at night.
Reason for
Your Baby’s Signals
• eyes move quickly under the eyelids
as baby begins to wake up
What Might
Cries a lot,
especially at night
6 - 8 weeks
Cries up to
3 hours a day
12 weeks
Cries less often,
finds new ways to
What to Do
• feed your baby
• hands in mouth
• reaches for your breast with his/her
• moves around more
• clicks or sucks on his/her tongue
• makes small sounds
Gas Pains
• gasps and screams
• knees bend up and baby passes gas
• swallows air while feeding or crying
for a feeding
• squirms around
• does NOT want to eat
• burp your baby - hold him/her
against your body and gently rub
his/her back
• put your baby in a different
• give your baby a bath
• feed your baby before he/she cries
Reason for
Your Baby’s Signals
• fusses and squirms
• looks away from the person holding
• yawns
• baby is surrounded by activity - loud
sounds, people moving around
• baby is in a cool room or is outside
• skin feels cold to the touch
What to Do
• place your baby to sleep on his/her
• rock your baby to sleep
• talk gently, hum, or sing to
your baby
• try feeding your baby
• cuddle with your baby under a
warm blanket; your body will
warm the baby quickly
• wrap your baby in a snug blanket
• close open windows or turn up
the thermostat to warm the room
• dress your baby in warm clothes he/she may need one more layer
on top of what he/she has on
Wants to be held
Needs to suck
• whimpers
• hold and cuddle your baby
• stops crying when you pick him/her
up and cries when you put him/her
back down
• talk gently, hum, or sing to
your baby
• mouth opens and baby makes
sucking sounds
• help your baby suck on
his/her hand
• baby ate recently
• baby may still be hungry, try
offering to feed again
• show your baby an interesting
picture or object
All babies cry, however colic can cause your baby to cry for long periods of time no matter
what you do to soothe him/her. The cause of colic is unknown. It can start when your baby is
2 - 3 weeks old and usually lasts until they are 3 - 4 months old.
It can be very upsetting when your baby is crying and cannot be comforted. There are ways to
help your baby calm down.
Signs of Colic
Your baby cries at the same time every day for 3 - 4 hours for no apparent reason. He/she
stops crying for only short periods of time.
Your baby seems to have gas pains - bends his/her knees up and cries.
What to Do
Cuddle your baby before he/she starts to cry.
Keep your baby moving - rock your baby, walk with him/her
in your arms or a carrier, or take a car ride together.
Hold your baby face down along your forearm. Rest
the baby’s head in the bend of your elbow and grip
your hand between his/her legs. Hold the baby
in place with your other hand.
Mothers who have a lot of milk should let
baby finish the first breast before switching to
the second breast.
Occasionally changing what you eat may help to
decrease colic. Ask your health care provider for
information about foods that may increase colic.
Ask for help from someone you trust. Have them
come over and look after your baby so you can take a
Talk to other parents who have coped with a colicky baby.
Remember colic is not your fault.
Remember that colic will go away in time.
Get advice from your doctor or health care provider.
Shaken Baby Syndrome
It is normal to feel stress or anger when your baby cries for a long period of time. NEVER EVER
shake your baby. Shaking your baby for even a brief time can cause brain damage or death. If
you think you might lose your temper, put your baby in the crib, walk away and shut the door
behind you. Call someone to help you.
What You Can Do to Stay in Control
Learn your baby’s cues so you know what to do before the crying starts.
Try to calm your baby as soon as he/she starts to cry. Do NOT let your baby cry so hard he/
she cannot stop.
Have someone you trust come over and care for your baby so you can take a break.
Share your feelings of frustration or anger with a friend or family member.
Contact your doctor or public health nurse.
Feeding Your Baby
Feeding gives your baby more than just nutrition. It is an activity that can help you and your
baby form a close bond. Hold your baby close and talk to him/her in a gentle voice as you
feed. This will help your baby feel secure and loved.
Feeding your baby can be a very positive experience. It is important to learn the signs that
your baby is hungry so you can feed before he/she gets upset or cries loudly. Knowing the
signs will help your baby be calmer and swallow less air during the feeding.
Signs Your Baby is Hungry
Eyes move quickly under the eyelids as baby begins to wake up to feed.
Stretching and increased body movements.
Clicking and sucking movements of the mouth.
Puts hands in mouth.
Starts to squirm.
Makes small sounds.
Breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed your baby. Health Canada recommends that no other
foods besides breast milk be given to your baby until he/she is 6 months old. Infants should be
introduced to iron-rich solid foods at approximately 6 months with continued breastfeeding for
2 years or longer.
Breastfeeding Baby
Gives your baby food that is always fresh and available.
Protects your baby against illnesses such as childhood diabetes.
Protects your baby against infections and allergies.
Protects your baby against childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Protects your baby against coughs and colds, pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
Protects your baby against vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
Protects your baby against ear infections that can damage hearing.
Helps your baby’s jaw and teeth develop properly.
Might increase your baby’s protection against crib death, known as sudden infant death
syndrome (SIDS).
Breastfeeding for You
Brings you and your baby close together.
Saves you money by not having to buy formula.
Saves you time - no need to sterilize bottles and mix formula.
Protects you against breast and ovarian cancer.
Helps keep your bones strong.
Burns extra calories and helps you lose your “baby weight”.
Is better for the environment - no containers or packages to throw away.
Breastfeeding Positions
Cross Cradle
Try this position if:
• you are new to
Try this position if:
• you are new to breastfeeding
• your breasts are large
• your nipples are flat or sore
• your baby is small
• you had a caesarean
Try this position if:
• you are comfortable
with breastfeeding
Try this position if:
• you are comfortable with breastfeeding
• sitting is painful for you
• you want to rest while breastfeeding
Getting into position:
Put a pillow behind your back and under your arms for support.
Put your baby on a pillow to help raise his/her head and body up to your breast.
Place your baby’s chest against your chest.
Lay your baby on his/her back if you are using the football position.
Lay your baby on his/her side if you are using the cradle, cross cradle, or side-lying positions.
Pull your baby toward you to bring his/her mouth to your nipple. Do NOT lean over your
baby and push your nipple into his/her mouth. This can lead to back pain.
How to Breastfeed
Find a comfortable position that
works for you and your baby
(See “Breastfeeding Positions”
on page 30).
Hold your breast in your hand with
your thumb on top and your fingers
Pull your baby toward your breast.
His/her mouth should cover most of
the dark area around your nipple
(1 - 1½ inches).
Or gently wake your baby by
removing his/her clothes, making
a diaper change, or tickling his/her
ears or feet.
Run your nipple back and forth
across your baby’s top lip until your
baby’s mouth opens wide.
Check for signs that your baby is well
latched on your breast:
• mouth opens wide
• lips curl out
• chin pressed into the breast
• baby sucks slowly and you feel a
gentle tug on your breast
To remove your baby from your
breast, slip your finger between your
baby’s gums. This will break the
If your baby falls asleep at the
start of feeding, gently squeeze
your breast to help the milk flow...
Offer the second breast if your
breast feels soft or your baby’s
suck is not as strong. It is normal
for your baby to feed on the
second breast for only a short
Next time you breastfeed, offer
the breast that was fed on last.
This breast will usually be fuller.
Breastfeeding Tips
Start as soon as possible. Soon after your baby is born, she/he will be placed
against your skin with a warm blanket over both of you. Most babies are alert and ready
to feed 30 to 60 minutes after birth.
Get help. At the hospital, your nurse can get you started by helping you place baby at
your breast. Ask your nurse to watch you breastfeed and help you right away if you have
any problems. Once you get home, you can call your public health nurse if you need
help, or call the Breastfeeding Hotline - Info Santé Nurse at 788-8200 or toll-free
Breastfeed often. Most babies breastfeed at least 8 times a day (24 hours) for the
first month. It is common for babies to feed every 1½ - 3 hours. Your baby will not
always be hungry at the same time each day. Some days, your baby might need many
feedings in a short period of time. Other days, he/she might sleep longer between
feeds. Feed your baby whenever he/she is hungry. (See “Signs Your Baby is Hungry” on
page 28).
Do NOT use bottles or soothers. If you want to use bottles or soothers, wait until
your baby is breastfeeding well and is at least 4 - 6 weeks old. If you give your baby a
bottle or soother too early, your baby could become confused between your nipple and
the artificial nipple. Your baby may have problems latching onto your breast, which can
make breastfeeding more painful. Early soother use can reduce your milk supply and
cause early weaning. If you need/want to introduce an occasional cup or bottle of
pumped breast milk see “Expressing Breast Milk” page 38.
Give your baby only breast milk. Breast milk is all your baby needs in the first 6
months of life. Extra drinks or food such as water, juice, sugar water, formula and baby
cereal can affect your baby’s health and slow down your milk supply.
How to Tell if Your Baby is
Breastfeeding Well
Signs Your Baby is Breastfeeding Well
1. Long, slow sucks
Your baby will have short, fast sucks at the start of the feed. The sucks become longer and
slower as your milk starts to flow. Your baby will pause during the sucks to fill his/her mouth
with milk. Your baby’s mouth is open the widest at this time. The mouth will close as your
baby swallows. Your baby should have long, slow sucks for at least 10 - 20 minutes each time
you feed him/her.
You can feel a gentle tug on your breast.
You can hear your baby swallowing.
Mouth opens.
Mouth opens wider.
Baby pauses to fill his/her
mouth with milk.
Mouth closes as baby swallows.
2. Wet Diapers and Stools
What to Expect
Your baby’s pee should always be clear or pale yellow with almost no smell.
Breastfed babies might have many stools each day.
Breastfed babies 6 weeks or older might have 1 very large yellow stool once a week.
This is normal if the stool is soft and the baby is healthy.
Wet Diapers
Per Day
Diaper Weight
Stools (poops)
Per Day
Stool (poop)
1 day
1 or more
Light wet
1 - 2 or more
Sticky, dark green/black
2 days
2 or more
Light wet
1 - 2 or more
Sticky, dark green/black
3 days
3 or more
Heavy wet
2 - 3 or more
4 days
4 or more
Heavy wet
3 or more
5 days
5 or more
Heavy wet
3 or more
Getting more yellow
3 or more
*Large yellow, soft like
toothpaste or seedy and
watery. Baby should not
be passing any meconium
(sticky, dark green/black
poops) at this age.
6 days
or older
6 or more
Heavy wet
• A light wet diaper feels like 2 tbsp. or 30 ml of water poured on a dry diaper.
• A heavy wet diaper feels like 4 - 5 tbsp. or 60 - 75 ml of water poured on a dry diaper.
*A large stool is the size of a quarter or larger.
3. Weight Gain
Breastfed babies usually have a 5 - 7% weight loss during the first 3 - 4 days.
Your baby should reach his/her birth weight by 2 weeks of age.
Your baby should gain 4-8 ounces a week for the first 3 months.
4. Other Signs
Your baby has a strong cry and moves around a lot.
Your baby’s eyes are open and bright.
Your baby’s mouth is pink and moist.
Your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding.
Get help right away if your baby is not showing signs of breastfeeding well.
Call your health care provider/public health nurse or someone you trust.
Caring for Your Breasts
General Care
Wash your breasts every day. Do not use soap on your nipples. Soap might cause your
nipples to dry and crack.
Wear a comfortable bra that fits well. Do not wear a bra that is too tight or has
After breastfeeding, use your breast milk as a protective lotion for your nipples and the
dark area around them. Put on your bra once the milk is dry.
Your baby might have
trouble feeding if your
breasts are hard. This
is called engorgement.
Take these steps
to help soften your
Before feeding have a warm shower
or place warm wet washclothes on
your breasts. Massage your breasts
for a few minutes.
Use breast milk as a lotion to
soften your nipples and the dark
area around them (See “Expressing
Breast Milk” on page 38).
Get help right away if:
Breastfeed your baby until your
breasts are no longer hard.
Feed your baby at least every
2 to 3 hours. Nightime feedings
are important.
Place a cold, wet towel on your
breasts after you finish feeding.
Your breasts stay hard.
You have trouble
Your breast has a painful
red spot.
You have a fever.
You feel sick.
Sore Nipples
Your nipples might
be tender for the first
week after birth. The
tenderness should lessen
every day. Breastfeeding
should NOT hurt. Check
or try the following to
avoid sore nipples:
Baby is in the right position when
you breastfeed:
• head and body are raised to your
• you and baby are chest to chest
• mouth is facing your nipple
Remove your baby from your breast
by slipping your finger between his/
her gums to break the suction.
Creams and ointments might help
you. Ask your health care provider/
public health nurse for suggestions.
Use breast milk as a lotion to
protect your nipples and the dark
area around them. Apply the milk
after feeding. Put on your bra once
the milk is dry.
Avoid using bottles or soothers for
at least 4-6 weeks so your baby has
time to learn how to breastfeed.
Baby is well latched on your breast:
• mouth is wide open
• lips curl out
• chin presses into your breast
Try to keep nipples dry with loose
clothing, air exposure, and nursing
pads if available. Start feedings on
side that is not as sore.
If your nipples itch or burn, you
may have thrush, a common yeast
infection. Both you and your baby
would require treatment. See your
health care provider as soon as
Get help right away if:
You have pain in your
nipple even when your
baby is well latched and in
the right position.
Expressing Breast Milk
You might need to express breast milk if:
You are unable to breastfeed (ex: your baby is ill or in special care nursery).
Your breasts are hard and your baby has problems latching on.
You will be away from your baby at feeding time.
You need to increase your breast milk supply.
You are going back to work.
Expressing Breast Milk by Hand
Mothers usually find it easiest to express milk in the morning when their breasts feel the
fullest. Some mothers prefer to express milk right after breastfeeding. Do what works for you.
You might only express a few drops of milk when you first start learning how to express by
hand. The more you practise, the easier it gets. Here are the steps:
Prepare a clean glass or plastic
container for your breast milk. Wash
the container in hot, soapy water,
rinse it with hot water and leave it
to air dry.
Wash your hands with soap
and water.
Place a warm damp towel over your
breasts. Then, gently massage each
breast in a circular motion. Roll your
nipple between your thumb and finger
to help get your breast milk flowing.
Place your thumb about 1 inch
above your nipple and your first
2 fingers about 1 inch below
your nipple.
Pull your thumb and 2 fingers toward
your chest.
Move your thumb and 2 fingers
toward your nipple.
7. Repeat steps 4 - 6 for about 3 - 5 minutes until the milk flow slows down.
8. Switch to the other breast.
9. Express each breast a second time.
Breast Pumps
There are several types of breast pumps available. Before using a breast pump, always read the
instructions that come with it.
Electric Pump
A hospital grade breast pump is the best pump
if you cannot be with your baby right after birth
or if you plan to pump often over a long period
of time.
Saves you time because you can pump both
breasts at once.
Most expensive to buy.
Often available for rent.
Is often covered by work health insurance plans.
Good for occasional pumping or pumping for
only a short time.
Operates with just one hand.
Works fast.
Uses less muscle.
Easy to carry.
Batteries need to be replaced often, so it is best
to buy one that comes with a plug in.
Battery Operated Pump
Manual Hand Pumps
Good for occasional
pumping or pumping for
only a short time.
Some operate with a single
Takes more time.
Uses more muscle, so do
not use this type of pump
if you have problems with
Do not use a pump
your hands, wrists, or arms. with a rubber bulb. This
Easy to carry.
type of pump has a very
Least expensive to buy.
strong suction that can
harm your nipples.
Storing Breast Milk
Use the following to store your breast milk:
• glass or hard plastic containers that close tightly - small bottles and jars with lids work well
• breast milk freezer bags
Cleaning the Containers
Follow these steps to keep your baby healthy:
1. Wash containers in hot, soapy water.
2. Rinse containers with hot water.
3. Let containers air dry.
• Label each container with the date the milk was
• Store the milk at the back of the fridge or freezer
where it is coldest.
• Throw away the milk if it reaches its expiry date.
Storage Places
1-Door Fridge
In the freezer back
top shelf:
2 weeks
In the back
of the fridge:
3 days (Best)
8 days (Acceptable)
2-Door Fridge
In the freezer
back top shelf:
-18°C 6 months
In the back
of the fridge:
3 days (Best)
8 days (Acceptable)
Deep Freezer
-20º C
6 - 12 months
Storage Tips for Breast Milk
Store milk in single serving sizes of 2-4 ounces.
Cool the fresh milk before adding it to milk that is already cool or frozen.
Add a smaller amount of cool milk to frozen milk to prevent the frozen milk from thawing.
Leave 1 inch at the top of the container for the milk to expand when it freezes.
Store thawed milk in the refrigerator for no longer than 24 hours.
• Do not use bottle liners. These are plastic bags made for bottle feeding only.
• Never refreeze thawed milk.
• If your baby is premature or in the hospital, talk to your nurse about how to store your
breast milk.
Thawing Frozen Breast Milk
Check the date on the container and
use the milk with the earliest date.
Leave the milk in the fridge for 4
hours to thaw or...
Run cool water over the container.
Run warm water over the container
once the milk begins to thaw.
Place the container in very warm
water until the milk is warm.
Do NOT thaw milk at room temperature.
Do NOT heat milk on the stove or in the microwave.
Feeding Tips
Test the temperature of the milk on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to your baby.
The milk should feel warm, NOT hot.
Use a cup or spoon to feed expressed milk to your baby.
Hold your baby when feeding him/her expressed milk.
Smile and talk to your baby to make feedings enjoyable.
Burp your baby every few ounces or as needed.
Throw away leftover milk after each feeding.
Frequently Asked Questions About
When should I take my baby for a breastfeeding checkup?
Your baby should see a breastfeeding specialist 1 - 2 days after leaving the hospital.
Nurses, doctors, midwives and lactation consultants are all breastfeeding specialists.
Your baby should see your doctor or health care provider for a full checkup within 14 days
after birth.
When will I start making enough breast milk for my baby?
Mothers usually have more milk than their babies can eat. You will make a small amount
of colostrum (first milk) during the first few days of breastfeeding. Your milk will start to
increase after 3 - 5 days. Your milk production changes to meet your baby’s needs. You
will make more milk when your baby breastfeeds more often.
What are growth spurts?
Growth spurts are times when your baby grows quickly and needs more breastmilk
than usual. Your baby will have a growth spurt when he/she is about 3 weeks, 6 weeks,
3 months and 6 months old. Each growth spurt will last for 2-3 days. Feeding frequently
will increase your supply of milk to meet your baby’s needs. Your breasts will make
enough milk to supply this growth spurt.
My baby spits up. Is this normal?
Babies often spit up after eating or when they are burped. This is normal if your baby is
feeding well (See “Signs Your Baby is Breastfeeding Well” on page 33). Most babies spit
up less when they reach 4 - 6 months of age.
How long should I breastfeed for?
How long you breastfeed is a personal decision. Health Canada recommends exclusive
breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. They support feeding your baby
breast milk AND solid food starting at 6 months of age and continuing until your baby is
2 years or older. Some mothers will breastfeed longer.
Does my baby need vitamin supplements?
The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that breastfed babies should receive a daily
supplement of vitamin D drops. Ask your health care provider about this.
Can I breastfeed if I am sick or taking medicine?
In most cases, it is safe to breastfeed if you are sick. If you require or are taking
medication however you should check with your health care provider or pharmacist
to make sure it is safe to take this medication while you are breastfeeding. Some
medications will pass into breastmilk while others do not.
Should I be on a special diet when I am breastfeeding?
It is uncommon for foods to affect your baby, so you can continue to eat the foods you
enjoy. Follow “Canada’s Food Guide to Health Eating.” for breastfeeding and pregnant
women. Call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) for a free copy.
Formula Feeding
It is rare that a woman is not able to breastfeed or is advised by her health care provider
not to breastfeed her baby. It you are not sure about breastfeeding and are considering
formula feeding, contact your health care provider.
Information on formula feeding is available on request and can be picked up at your local
Healthy Baby Program or call at 1-204-945-2266 or toll-free: 1-888-848-0140.
Playing and Learning
Your baby’s brain is still developing when he/she is born. You help your baby’s brain
grow through everyday activities like feeding, smiling, talking and cuddling. You can help
your baby’s brain develop by giving him/her new things to see, hear, touch, taste and
smell. These early experiences will have a positive effect on how your baby learns, feels
and acts later in life.
Your newborn can see as soon as they open their eyes.
He/she can focus on things that are 8 - 12 inches away.
Your baby likes to look at faces and shapes and
patterns that are black and white.
You can:
• Hold your baby 8 - 12 inches from your face as you
smile, talk, or sing to him/her.
• Hold toys 8 - 12 inches in front of your baby’s face.
• Surround your baby’s crib with objects that have black and white patterns.
Your baby can hear well at birth. He/she will respond well
to all kinds of sounds, but the human voice is his/her favorite.
You can:
• Talk to your baby, look into your baby’s eyes.
• Smile at your baby when you feed, diaper and
bathe him/her.
• Read aloud to your baby.
• Sing to your baby or play soft music in the background.
Your baby likes and needs physical contact and affection.
Your touch will make him/her feel secure and loved.
You can:
• Hug, snuggle and hold your baby close to you.
• Gently rub or massage your baby while you feed, bathe,
or diaper him/her.
• Rock your baby to sleep.
Taste / Smell
Babies can taste and smell at birth. Your baby knows who you are by your smell.
Your baby likes the taste of sweet things such as breast milk.
Baby Equipment Safety
Safety is the most important thing to think about when buying or borrowing baby
equipment. Use the tips below to help you pick out safe equipment for your baby.
made in 1976 or later
in good shape
sturdy floor
thin foam pad
secure hinges that cannot pinch
fine mosquito type netting mesh sides with no rips or tears (if mesh is larger, buttons
or hooks from clothing may get caught and cause strangulation)
• Never leave an infant in a drop-sided playpen with the side down. The infant can roll
into the space between the mattress and the mesh side and suffocate.
❒ stamped with a date of 1986 or later
❒ sturdy - built with screws and bolts, NOT hooks or clamps;
tighten screws regularly
❒ mattress fits snugly - mattress is NOT snug enough if you can
fit more than 2 fingers between the mattress and the crib;
replace mattress if it is not firm or is worn out
• Never tie your baby in the crib and do not let baby wear a necklace or a soother on a
cord around the neck.
• Place the crib away from the windows, curtains, blind cords, lamps, electrical plugs
and extension cords.
• Health Canada recommends that soft mattresses, pillows, stuffed toys and bumper
pads should not be used in the baby’s crib.
• Do not place a pillow inside the crib.
Car Seats
❒ use a car seat every time your baby travels in a car
❒ car seats are required by law and must meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety
❒ the recommended car seat for a child birth to 1 year old is a rear-facing car seat
❒ the safest place for the rear-facing car seat is the rear seat of the vehicle
❒ install the car seat using the directions provided by the manufacturer
❒ in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Fire Department offers free drop in visits to make sure
that you have put the car seat in your car the correct way. You can call 1-204-985-7133
for times and locations in your area. Outside Winnipeg call 1-888-767-7640
If you use an infant car seat carrier outside of the vehicle:
• Keep your child buckled in.
• Don’t put the seat on a raised surface, such as a table, because it may fall.
• Don’t leave your baby in a car seat to sleep when not in your car as it is not safe. Your
baby’s head can fall forward because of under-developed neck muscles and can make
it hard for your baby to breathe.
Baby Seats
❒ wide, sturdy, non-slip base
❒ safety straps
• Use on floor only - do not put on table.
no hanging pieces such as cords or ribbons
fit is snug
sleepwear is fire-retardant to reduce burn injuries
check for loose buttons or other small parts that could be a choking hazard
check for loose threads as these can wrap around your baby’s finger and cause injury
High Chairs
❒ wide, sturdy base so chair does not tip over
❒ safety belt and harness used whenever child is in high chair. The chair
should have a strap that fits between the child’s legs
❒ tray is smooth with no sharp edges or parts that can pinch
• Do not seat baby next to the stove or counter as the child may push
himself/herself over.
• Wash with water and soap after each use.
should be one-piece
nipple firmly attached
too big to swallow
in good condition - no cracks or tears
replace every two months
• Clean pacifier with warm water.
• Do not put pacifier in anyone’s mouth but baby’s.
• Use only after baby is 4-6 weeks old if you are breastfeeding.
• Do not tie pacifier around your baby’s neck.
• Never dip the soother in honey or other sweeteners.
❒ sturdy
❒ correct size for your baby’s height and weight
❒ safety harness and lap belt properly attached and used each time child is in the
❒ brakes work
❒ make sure stroller wheels are securely attached
• Do not overload the stroller with goods or extra children.
• Do not use pillows or blankets as padding.
❒ DO NOT use a walker. All walkers are unsafe and are not
legal to use in Canada.
❒ select only toys recommended for child’s age group
❒ do not have toys with cords that are long enough to wrap
around a child’s neck
❒ repair or throw away broken toys
❒ do not have loud toys as the loud noise can damage your baby’s hearing
❒ keep small toys and balls out of reach of children under 3 years old as these can be a
choking hazard
Used Products
If you are buying or inheriting a used crib, playpen, stroller, or other children’s product
make sure that:
• The product is in good condition and meets the current safety regulations.
• All safety features of the product are present and working.
For more information on product safety call Health Canada at 1-866-662-0666
Or check the website at www.hc-sc.gc/cps-spc/pubs/cons
Baby’s First Checkups
See a breastfeeding specialist 1 - 2 days after leaving the hospital with your baby. Nurses,
doctors, midwives and lactation consultants are all breastfeeding specialists.
Your doctor or health care provider will want to see your baby for a full checkup within
the first 2 weeks of birth. Prepare for the checkup by writing down your questions or
Here is what your doctor or health care provider will probably do during the checkup:
weigh your baby
measure how long your baby is
measure your baby’s head
ask how your baby is feeding
give your baby a physical exam
check your baby’s umbilical cord
might test your baby’s blood
ask how everyone is adjusting to the new baby
answer your questions and talk about your concerns
explain how to tell if your baby is sick
Call your doctor or health care provider if you have any concerns about your baby. This is
especially important if you think your baby might be sick.
Signs Your Baby is Sick
Call your doctor or health care provider if your baby:
is throwing up
will not eat
has no bowel movements (see “Wet Diapers and Stools” on page 34)
has diarrhea (loose, smelly stools)
has fewer wet diapers than usual (See “Wet Diapers and Stools” on page 34)
has pee that looks or smells unusual
has a fever - temperature of 38º C (100º F) or higher
blue or very pale lips
is very thirsty
has trouble breathing
has a strange rash
sleeps more than usual
does not wake up to feed
has a loud, sharp cry or a weak cry or whimper
has low energy and is NOT alert
* If you are not sure whether to call your doctor you can call Health Links - Info
Santé 1-204-788-8200 to help answer your questions and decide what you
should do. Toll-free number for rural and northern moms 1-888-315-9257.
1-6 Months
It is hard to believe your baby is already 1 month old. He/she is growing and doing
new things. By now, your baby has probably settled into more of a routine for feeding,
sleeping, bathing and playing. This makes it easier to plan some time for yourself. You
deserve it!
This section is all about what happens when your baby is 1 - 6 months old. You will find
answers to the following questions:
What is my baby like?
How do I form a tight bond with my baby?
How does my baby’s brain grow?
How do I get my baby into a sleeping routine?
How do I cope with my baby’s crying?
How can I make time for myself?
How do I find a babysitter and child care?
How do I keep my baby safe from common dangers?
How do I protect my baby from illness?
Getting to Know Your Baby
Not all babies are alike. Your baby is born with his/her own temperament or way of
behaving and reacting to the world. Watch how your baby responds to people, places
and events to figure out what your baby’s temperament is. He/she might be active or
easygoing, shy or cautious. His/her temperament might be very different from yours.
If you learn about and respect your baby’s temperament, you can help him/her through
different situations. You will develop a healthy relationship if you work with his/her
temperament rather than fight it.
Types of Temperaments
The information below will help you develop ways to respond to your baby’s
Your baby has a lot of energy and is always on the move:
• Have many things for your baby to do.
• Have a lot of room to play.
Your baby easily falls into a routine (ex: eating, sleeping or soiling diapers):
• Keep your baby’s routine.
• Arrange your activities around your baby’ schedule.
Generally, babies feel more secure when they are in a routine.
Your baby always appears happy and quick to warm up to new things:
• Give your baby new things to explore, new people to meet and new things to do.
Your baby needs time to get used to new things:
• Introduce new things slowly.
• Hold and comfort your baby when meeting new people,
going to new places and doing new things.
• Keep outings short.
Your baby is sensitive to noises, smells, temperature, sights and touch:
• Keep noise levels down.
• Follow a routine.
• Focus on one activity at a time.
• Learn to tell when your baby has had enough (ex: cries, turns away, falls asleep).
Very Sensitive
Your baby often appears sad or anxious:
• Smile and show positive feelings around your baby.
• Hold and cuddle your baby to help him/her feel safe and secure.
Your baby sticks to one thing and does not like being stopped:
• Be patient.
• Move on to new activities slowly.
Your baby has strong emotions and extreme reactions to things:
• Smile and show your baby you are happy around him/her.
• Stay calm and hold your baby when his/her emotions flare.
• Try to figure out why your baby is scared/angry and solve the problem together.
• Take things slowly.
• Distract your baby when he/she is scared or angry.
• Remove your baby from situations that scare or anger him/her.
Your baby is easily distracted and new things catch his/her attention:
• Play in a quiet place.
• Plan a quiet activity every day.
Why My Baby is Special
Building a Close
Relationship with Your Baby
You can give your baby the best start in life by building a close relationship with him/
her. When you care for your baby in a warm and loving way, you give him/her the tools
to relate to other people, learn at school and cope with stress. Children who experience
close relationships with their parent(s) or caregiver(s) also appear to have fewer
behavioural problems.
You can build a close relationship with your baby by getting in tune with his/her needs.
Your baby uses sounds, actions or facial expressions to tell you what he/she wants or
feels. Watch your baby closely to figure out what he/she is “saying,” so you can read your
baby’s cues and respond in a way that meets his/her needs.
Baby’s Cues
“I need attention.”
makes sucking sounds
looks at you
“I need a break.”
pulls or turns away
falls asleep
Your baby also has ways of telling you his/her needs are met. If your baby was hungry,
he/she will be content after a feeding. If your baby wants attention, he/she will get excited
by your voice and facial expressions. If your baby is fussy or tired and you hold him/her
quietly, he/she may settle or fall asleep in your arms.
Your relationship with your baby grows with time and practice. The more you understand
your baby and care for his/her needs, the more secure your baby will feel. You and your
baby are learning how to trust and love each other. Holding and hugging your baby and
expressing your love for him/her will also help build your relationship. Remember you
can’t spoil a baby in the first 9 - 10 months of life. The more responsive you are as a
parent to your baby, the less demanding and more self-reliant your infant will be as they
grow older.
Your Baby’s Brain Development
Most of your baby’s brain development occurs after he/she is born. This means you and
the people who look after your baby are very important teachers.
You help shape how your baby will feel, think, learn and behave now and later in life. You
can help your baby’s brain grow by showing love, taking care of his/her needs and giving
him/her new things to do.
Helping your baby’s brain development does not require fancy toys or special training. It
is done by your minute by minute, and day by day interactions with your baby.
Things You Can Do to Help Your Baby’s Brain
Talk to your baby
Language is important for brain development. Talking to your
baby helps your baby to hear language. Talk to your baby when
you are doing diaper changes, driving in your car, during playtime,
bath time and all throughout the day.
Sing to your baby
Babies like music and singing to your baby is a good way to
engage and entertain your baby. Your baby will like the way
your voice changes and the different beats. It helps with baby’s
memory, imagination and language.
Read to your baby
Read to your baby everyday. Let the baby touch the pages of the
books you read, and help turn the pages if he/she can. Reading the
same book over and over helps your baby to make more connections
in the brain between what is written and what is spoken.
Play with your baby
Babies learn and experience their world through play. Spend time playing with your
child on the floor and watch your child as they play. You can provide colorful objects of
different shapes, sizes and textures which stimulate the brain.
Touch your baby
Touch is important for your baby and lets your child know
that they are loved. It is a source of comfort and reassures
your baby when they are trying new experiences. Touch sends
signals to the brain telling it to grow. You can massage your
infant, hold them close, rub their back and toes.
Let your baby sleep
Help your baby have naps and a good sleep at night. Their
growing brains need time to rest especially at night.
During the first 3 months babies usually only sleep 2 hours at a time and seldom more
than 3 or 4 hours at a time. Babies’ sleep patterns can continue this way for 5 to 6
months, although some may sleep through the night sooner.
Here are some things you can do to help your baby
settle into a sleep routine:
• Keep your home light and bright during the day.
• Do not worry about noises in the house such as
ringing phones, radios, televisions and dishwasher
during the day.
• Talk and play with your baby when he/she is awake.
• Keep night time feeding quiet and your voice and
actions low.
• Turn down the lights during feeding.
• Follow a nighttime routine before putting your baby to bed.
• Make sure your baby is comfortable and relaxed.
• Make sure your baby’s room is warm, NOT hot or cold.
• Keep the light dim/dark when you come to your baby at night.
Remember: Baby should be on his/her back when going to sleep to reduce the risk of
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Babies rely on someone else to provide them with the food, warmth, and comfort that
they need. Crying is a baby’s own way of communicating one of those needs. As your baby
gets older you will learn to recognize your baby’s different crying patterns and be able to
help him/her with their needs before they cry sometimes. As babies grow they also learn
to communicate in other ways such as better eye contact, making noises, and smiling.
Remember: Responding to a crying baby will not spoil him/her, it is what he/she needs
you to do.
Give Your Baby Attention
At 3 months, your baby is awake for longer periods of time. He/she needs company and
things to do. Give your baby toys to play with. Position your baby safely in the room with
you as you go about household tasks like cooking or laundry. Sing to your baby or talk
about what you are doing.
Taking Care of Yourself
Becoming a parent and taking care of your baby is a life-changing experience. Suddenly,
everything revolves around your baby and it takes a lot of effort to balance this with
household chores and going to work or school. Many parents focus so hard on their
baby’s needs that they forget to make time for themselves. You need to take care of
yourself so you can take proper care of your baby.
Here are some ways to meet your own needs:
• Share parenting with your partner.
• Get enough sleep.
• Eat healthy foods and exercise.
• Spend time as a couple with your partner.
• Ask someone you trust to help out and watch
your baby so you can enjoy a short break.
• Take time for yourself every day.
• Go out with a friend.
• Take your baby for a walk in the stroller/
baby carrier/sling.
Choosing a Babysitter
As your baby gets older, you might be comfortable using a babysitter so you can have
some time to yourself. It is important to think carefully and ask a lot of questions when
choosing a sitter.
Things to think about:
• Does the sitter have experience with babies?
• Who has the sitter worked for in the past? Ask the sitter for names and telephone
numbers. Call the families to ask questions and find out if they were happy with
the sitter.
• How does the sitter act with his/her own children? Is he/she patient and caring?
• If your sitter is younger how does he/she act with his/her siblings?
• How does the sitter act around your baby?
When the sitter comes over to look after your baby, make sure you take some time to talk
with him/her before you leave.
• Tell the sitter where you will be and how to
reach you by telephone. Leave the number
by the telephone.
• Make sure the sitter knows how to get help
in an emergency.
• Leave the numbers for emergency help and
poison control by the phone.
• Make sure the sitter knows any special rules
and routines you have for your child (ex:
bedtime, what your child is allowed to eat,
• Let the sitter know what time you will be
Choosing Child Care
It is important to plan ahead and make sure you have someone to take care of your
baby if you go back to work or school, look for a job, attend training or have a special
medical need. Most parents use one of the following:
• family member
• child care centre
• child care provider who works from home or inside your home
The two types of child care you need to think about are:
Licensed (listed or recognized by government)
Licensed child care is offered in centres or in the homes of child care providers. If
licensed, the centre or home needs to follow certain rules. These rules tell them the
• size of space they need
• number and age of children they can care for
• hours of care they need to provide
• number of staff they need
• qualifications staff must have
• types of food they need to provide
• programs/activities they need to provide
Unlicensed child care is offered in your home or in
the homes of child care providers. You and the
child care provider will make the rules for your
baby’s care.
What to Look For
Visit a variety of child care centres and homes before deciding where to place your baby.
The visits will help you see the difference between the two types of care. They will also
help you compare one place to another.
Use this checklist to help you find good quality care:
Centre or home providers
clean and safe environment
healthy snacks and meals
daily schedule with activities that are right for each age group of children
a lot of room to play - space to read, rest, do crafts, go outside
licence is clearly posted
security plan
❒ happy and having fun
❒ small number of children for each child care provider
❒ children constantly supervised
Child care provider(s)
spend time playing with children
talk face-to-face with children
have received Early Childhood Educator (ECE) training
respond in a consistent and warm way
share information with parents and listen to parents’ concerns
discipline techniques
Choosing good quality child care will help your baby develop better social, language and
learning skills.
For more information about child care, including available space, subsidies, etc., contact
Child Care Information Services 204-945-0776 or toll-free 1-888-213-4754.
Playing and Learning
Playing is the main way your baby learns about himself/herself and the environment.
When you play with your baby, you help him/her develop new skills like thinking, hearing,
talking and feeling. Play is not only important for your baby’s brain growth. It also gives
you a chance to build a loving relationship with your baby while having fun. Remember,
all babies develop at different rates.
Babies love to play when they are having fun. Follow your baby’s cues. When your baby is
tired, hungry or bored, simply stop playing. Continue to play when he/she is excited.
Playing with your baby
Play with colourful toys that are simple and right for your baby’s age.
The floor is a safe place to play with your baby.
Sit face to face with your baby.
Change toys or games if your baby loses interest.
Take your baby outside to play.
Babies like noise.Talk, sing and read to your baby and let your baby respond.
Babies come with built-in playthings - toes, fingers, hands, legs and feet. Clap the
hands together, touch their feet. They love to have you touch them.
Check what is available in your community for you and your baby. Many communities
have activities and programs for you and your baby to play and learn new songs and can
also be a good place to meet other families.
Stages of Development - 1 Month
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• form a fist
• give baby a touch adventure - rub
his/her hands over things that are
soft, bumpy, smooth, rough, etc.
• stretch arms and legs when lying
on tummy or back
• loosen baby’s clothes and blankets
to give him/her room to move
• look at mother’s face
• look at objects 8 - 12 inches away
• hold baby close to
your face
• decorate the
crib area with
pictures or objects
that are black or have
white stripes or checks
and Talking
• startle to loud or sudden noises
• gently sing songs and move
to the rhythm
• talk to baby and tell him/her what
you are doing (ex: I am changing
your diaper)
• stop sucking to listen to
mother’s voice
• talk and sing gently
to baby
2 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• lift head and chest when lying on
tummy and back
• place baby on his/her tummy and
back during playtime
• put brightly-coloured toys in front
of baby
• gently clap your baby’s hands
• gently move your baby’s legs as if
pedaling a bicycle
• follow moving objects with eyes
• hang a mobile over baby’s crib
• pay attention for short periods
of time
and Talking
• gurgle, coo and make noises
when talked to
• talk and sing gently to baby
• turn head toward sounds
• start to understand that when he/
she smiles, people smile back
• smile at baby
3 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• put things in mouth
• give baby safe things to hold onto
and put into his/her mouth
(ex: squeaky toy)
• play simple games
• try playing a game like peek-a-boo or
watch the rattle
• turn head to look for toys that fall
out of sight
and Talking
• make vowel sounds like ooh
and aah
• talk and sing gently to baby
• smile when he/she sees
mother’s face
• smile at baby
4 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• lift head and chest and rest on
• move a toy from side to side above
baby’s head
• roll from back to side
• lay baby on a blanket when he/she
is on the floor
• turn head from side to side to
follow moving objects
• put baby in different sitting, feeding
and sleeping positions
and Talking
• babble, squeal and make voice go
up and down
• imitate your baby’s sounds
• get scared by loud or sudden noises
• hold baby close
• know who his/her mother is
• talk gently to reassure baby in
new situations
• try different ways to soothe baby
• be patient
5 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• roll from tummy to back
• move a toy from side to side near
baby’s head
• lay baby on a blanket when he/she
is on the floor
• touch your hand when he/she
wants to re-start play
• take baby for a walk outside
• focus on objects that are far away
and Talking
• coo in response to other sounds
• play music for baby
• look up when his/her name
is called
• say baby’s name when playing
• smile at self in mirror
• play in front of a mirror - smile and
point to you and baby
6 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• sit up for a short time with support
• hang or hold toys above baby so he/
she can hit, grab and kick
(ex: mobile, soft ball)
• reach, grab and splash with hands
• use hands to push up and lift chest
when lying on tummy
• play with a toy for several minutes
• talk, smile, read and sing to baby
• look when a family member’s name
is called
and Talking
• make sounds in response to
other sounds
• give baby soft toys that make noise
• tell baby what you are doing as you
change, feed, dress and bathe
y is c
“Dadd aper”
• respond to his/her name
• smile or make happy sounds when
given attention
• know when mother is away
• cuddle and comfort baby as you
change, feed, dress and bathe
• call baby by his/her name
• show baby pictures of people in
his/her life
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Protecting your baby is a concern of every parent. The best way to keep your baby safe
is to know what the dangers are. The following information will help you make your
baby’s world a safer place.
Children most often get hurt from:
• falls
• poisonings
• burns
Children most often die from:
• car crashes
• drownings
• fires
Lay your baby to sleep on his/her back.
Put emergency phone numbers in a place where you can quickly reach them.
Never leave your baby alone with a young child or pet.
Remind young children that your baby is NOT a toy.
Make sure your baby’s rattles or soft vinyl teethers do NOT contain DINP. (DINP is
a harmful chemical and is used in PVC products to make them soft and flexible.)
Keeping Baby Safe from Common Injuries
• Keep an eye on your baby at all times while he/she is awake. Place your baby in a
crib or playpen if you need to leave the room.
• Keep one hand on your baby at all times as you change, bathe and dress him/her.
• Always secure safety belts on strollers, high chairs and shopping carts.
• Install safety gates at tops and bottoms of stairways.
• Turn your hot water heater down to 48º C (120º F). This will help keep your tap
water at a safe temperature of 43º C (110º F) or lower.
• Test your baby’s bath water to make sure it is warm, not hot.
• Seat your baby away from the faucet handles in the bath.
• Do not smoke around your baby.
• Do not hold your baby if you are cooking or drinking a hot drink.
• Have pot handles turned inward away from a child’s reach when using the stove.
Important: Children have thinner skin than adults. A child will burn 4 times more
quickly and deeply than an adult at the same temperature.
• Medicines, cleaning products and other poisons need to be locked up in a place
high up and out of your baby’s reach.
• Always read the label and check the dosage each time you give your child medicine.
• Keep medication in child-resistant packaging.
Choking and Strangling
Keep small objects away from your baby.
Use only sturdy toys that are washable and have no small parts.
Do not prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth.
Never tie anything around your baby’s neck (ex: string or necklace to hold a
• Keep blind and curtain cords out of reach of your baby and young children.
• Keep plastic bags away from babies and children so they do not put them over their
heads or faces.
Keeping Baby Safe from Common Deaths
Car Crashes
• Choose the right type of car seat for your child.
• Make sure your baby’s car seat meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Standards.
• Install your baby’s car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Always place your child in the back seat.
For car seat safety information, contact Manitoba Public Insurance at 985-1619 in
Winnipeg or toll-free 1-888-767-7640 or 1-800-333-0371.
Do NOT use bath rings.
Always keep one hand on your baby as you bathe him/her.
Always supervise your baby near water.
Do NOT leave your baby alone in the bathroom. Babies can drown in toilets.
Empty buckets/containers after use and store them upside down.
Always use approved life jackets when boating.
Fire / Poison Gas
• Have a carbon monoxide detector and make sure the batteries are charged.
• Have fire detectors on all floors and make sure the batteries are charged.
• Keep a fire extinguisher in your house.
Your Baby’s Checkups
Your doctor or health care provider will need to see your baby for regular checkups
during the first 6 months to see how your baby is developing. He/she will give
your baby needles at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months. These needles are called
immunizations. They protect your baby from the following serious diseases:
Haemophilus Influenza type B
Pneumococcal infection
The flu shot is recommended for healthy babies 6 to
23 months of age and for the people who live with them.
These needles are free. Your doctor or health care provider will tell
you which immunizations your baby needs and how to take care
of him/her after each one.
Keep a record of your baby’s immunizations. Your doctor or health care provider can
give you an immunization card to keep at home.
Your Growing Baby
How my baby is growing:
What did I do to help my baby grow…
I feel…
Special moments to remember…
The next 6 months is an exciting time for your baby. He/she is growing stronger and
getting better control of his/her movements. Your baby is also growing more curious
about the world around him/her. He/she will want to move from place to place and
touch everything in sight.
This exploration will definitely keep you on your toes! Your job is to keep your baby safe
while he/she explores. Try taking your baby to programs in your community. The nice
thing is that you can talk to other parents while your baby explores a safe new place.
This section is all about what happens when your baby is 6 - 12 months old. You will
find answers to the following questions:
How can I help my baby fall asleep at night?
How can I help my baby cope with the new things that make him/her cry?
How do I start my baby on solid foods?
How do I start my baby on meats and alternatives, fruits, vegetables and
family foods?
How do I deal with teething and caring for my baby’s teeth?
How can I help my baby grow and develop?
How can I help my baby explore safely?
How can my doctor or health care provider help me?
At 6 months old your baby may nap a couple of times a
day. Often that will mean 1 nap in the morning and
1 nap in the afternoon. At night your baby may sleep for
about 11 hours. That is not to say that your baby will not
wake up during the night, as most babies still wake up
at least once a night. Some babies can fall back to sleep
by themselves and some may need you to help them
back to sleep.
How to help your baby fall asleep at night
• Create a relaxing bedtime routine (ex: give your baby
a bath, read or sing to your baby after feeding).
• Have baby go for naps and to bed at night at the
same time every day.
• Play soothing music.
• Dim the lights.
• Spend time in your baby’s room after you place him/
her in the crib (ex: tidy the room).
• Encourage baby to fall asleep
by himself/herself.
• During the night if baby wakes
up it is a time to comfort and
re-settle your baby, not a time
to play.
At 6 months, your baby is probably crying less than before. But now, your baby cries for
different reasons, especially when faced with new things or when separated from you.
These include:
Feeling Scared
Your baby is probably scared of things that never bothered him/her before. He/she might
cry when you vacuum or make loud noises. Your baby might love his/her bath but cry at
the sight of water going down the drain.
How to help:
• Hold your baby close. • Talk gently to reassure him/her.
Feeling Helpless
Sometimes your baby will cry for help. For example, your baby might crawl into a tight
space and not be able to get out and be frustrated.
How to help:
• Learn your baby’s cues so you can help before he/she starts crying.
Feeling Angry / Frustrated
Your baby wants to do new things on his/her own. Sometimes, he/she will try to do
things that are unsafe or too hard for his/her age. When this happens, your baby might
cry in frustration or anger.
How to help:
• Move your baby into a safe area.
• Distract him/her with a new activity.
Facing New Things
Your baby might cry when you change his/her routine or introduce something new.
How to help:
• Prepare your baby for things that are new (ex: look at pictures of animals before
taking your baby to the zoo).
• Introduce new things slowly so your baby has time to adjust.
Being Away from You
At around 6 months, your baby begins to understand that he/she is separate from you.
Your baby will cry when you are out of sight or gone away. This is normal and is called
“separation anxiety”.
How to help:
• Take your baby with you when you go from room to room.
• Always say good-bye to your baby. Do not sneak out.
• Always leave your baby with someone he/she knows and trusts.
Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Around 6 months your baby
is ready for new foods and will need to learn to eat solid foods.
When will my baby be ready for solid foods?
Your baby is ready to start eating small amounts of puréed/semi-solid food at 6 months
of age. By this age, your baby can swallow this type of food. Solid foods will give your baby
the extra iron he/she needs. Here are the signs your baby is ready for solid foods:
• Sits up with a little help.
• Holds head up on his/her own.
• Takes food from a spoon.
• Opens his/her mouth when food is offered.
• Turns away to show he/she is full.
• Closes his/her mouth and refuses food.
How much should I feed my baby?
Trust your baby’s instincts. He/she will eat as much and as often as he/she needs. Follow
these cues to make sure your baby is getting the amount of food that is right for him/her:
Hunger Cues
Baby is Full
• reaches for your breast with his/her mouth
• relaxed body
• reaches for food
• open fists
• moves around more and is excited
• lets go of breast
• clicks or sucks on his/her tongue
• turns away from breast
or spoon
• makes small sounds
• opens mouth when sees spoon comes toward him/her
• eating slows down
• pushes food away
• arches back
What foods and beverages should I start with for my baby?
Breast milk should still be your baby’s number one food. Babies drinking formula should
still take in more formula than food. Over the next few months your baby can learn to eat:
• infant cereal
• poultry
• iron-rich meat puréed (blended)
• cooked egg yolks
• tofu
• fish (boneless)
• well-cooked and mashed legumes (lentils, chickpeas, blackbeans, etc.)
(See “Baby’s First Solid Food” on page 84).
What foods and beverages are not good for my baby during the
first year of life?
Some foods can make your baby sick or cause choking or an allergic reaction. Check the
list below before you give your baby something new to eat or drink.
Do Not Give your Baby
• bacon
• cakes
• candy
• sugar-coated cereal
• chocolate
• cookies
• cough drops
• gum
• honey
• nuts
• pickles
• processed meats
• popcorn
• raisins
• Give your baby only 1 new food at a time to make
sure you can tell which food is the cause in case
of an allergic reaction. Stop feeding that food until
you see your doctor or health care provider.
• Cut foods into small bite-sized pieces to prevent
• snack foods (ex: chips,
pretzels, French fries)
• coffee
• drink crystals
• pop
• sports drinks
• tea, herbal tea
Signs of Allergic Reaction
• rash
• diarrhea
• breathing problems
• vomiting
• tummy pains
Baby’s First Solid Food
At 6 months, your baby’s number one food will still be breast milk or iron-fortified
formula. Start your baby on solid foods by spoon feeding him/her these iron-rich foods:
• infant cereal mixture
• puréed meats that are low in fat and salt
• puréed meat alternatives (see next page)
Give your baby 1 - 2 tablespoons of iron-rich dry cereal mixed with breast milk, ironfortified formula or water. Make the mixture very thin. Do this for 2 - 3 days and then try
another infant cereal. Barley cereal, oatmeal cereal, and rice are some of the types you can
give your infant. You can make the mixture thicker and feed more of it to your baby once
he/she is used to eating cereal.
How to Spoon Feed Your Baby
After you breastfeed or bottle feed your baby, let him/her try a little dab of food on the tip
of a very small spoon. Put the spoon to your baby’s lips and let him/her suck the food
from it. Your baby might gag or spit out the food. This is a normal part of learning to
eat. Don’t worry about the mess. With practice, your baby will learn to eat what’s on the
Your baby needs to learn to chew and swallow. Do NOT put cereal in his/her bottle.
Drinking cereal can cause your baby to choke. Studies show that adding cereal to a bottle
does NOT help your baby sleep through the night.
Iron-Rich Meats and Alternatives
Give your baby 1 - 2 tablespoons of puréed (blended) chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb,
pork or wild meat once a day after you breastfeed or bottle feed. Make sure you do not
give your baby meat that is high in fat and salt, like bacon. Or, try 1 - 2 tablespoons of
meat alternatives such as puréed beans, peas, lentils, tofu or mashed, cooked egg yolk
mixed with breast milk, formula or water. Avoid egg whites until after your baby is 1 year
Feed your baby only one type of meat or alternative for 4 - 5 days before trying another
type. This way, you can tell if he/she has an allergic reaction to the new food (See “Signs
of Allergic Reaction” on page 83).
Once your baby is used to eating puréed meats and alternatives, you can mash them up
and start feeding more to him/her.
Feed your baby only small amounts of beans, peas, lentils and tofu to avoid gas and
Sample Menu
6 - 7 Months
Early morning
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 4 tablespoons dry infant cereal mixed with breast milk,
iron-fortified formula or water
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
Early evening
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed meat and/or alternatives
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
* Most babies under a year will breastfeed 6 or more times in a 24 hour period even when eating solid foods. Some of these
feedings will be snacks, some will be for comfort, and others a meal. Watch your baby’s cues and breastfeed when your baby
indicates he/she wants to breastfeed.
Baby’s Next Solid Foods
At 7 months, your baby’s main food will still be breast milk or iron-fortified formula with
cereal, meat and alternatives. Now that your baby is used to eating these iron-rich
foods, he/she is ready for some new tastes and textures. Your baby is learning to chew
and needs to try the following foods rich in vitamins:
• puréed (blended) vegetables
• puréed (blended) fruit
Increase texture (lumpiness) of vegetables and fruits as your baby gets used to and wants
to chew.
Start your baby with puréed (blended) peas, green and yellow beans, sweet potatoes,
squash and broccoli.
Start by feeding your baby 1 - 2 tablespoons of vegetables twice a day after you breastfeed
or bottle feed.
Give your baby vegetables before feeding him/her fruits. Your baby might reject the
stronger taste of vegetables if he/she picks up the sweet fruit taste first.
Once your baby learns to eat vegetables, try feeding him/her puréed (blended) apples,
bananas, nectarines, pears, plums, apricots and peaches.
Start by feeding your baby 1 - 2 tablespoons of fruit twice a day after you breastfeed or
bottle feed.
Feed your baby only 1 vegetable or fruit for 2 - 3 days before trying another type to make
sure he/she is not allergic to any of them. (See “Signs of Allergic Reaction” on page 83).
Once your baby is used to eating puréed vegetables and fruit, you can mash them up and
start feeding more to him/her.
Sample Menu
7 - 8 Months
Early morning
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 4 tablespoons dry infant cereal mixed with breast milk,
iron-fortified formula or water
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed fruit
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed vegetables
Early evening
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed meat and/or alternatives
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed vegetables
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed fruit
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
8 - 9 Months
Early morning
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 4 - 6 tablespoons dry infant cereal mixed with breast milk,
iron-fortified formula or water
• 2 - 3 tablespoons mashed fruit
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 1 - 2 tablespoons puréed vegetables
Early evening
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
• 2 - 4 tablespoons puréed meat and/or alternatives
• 2 - 4 tablespoons mashed vegetables
• 2 - 4 tablespoons mashed fruit
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula
* Most babies under a year will breastfeed 6 or more times in a 24 hour period even when eating solid foods. Some of these
feedings will be snacks, some will be for comfort, and others a meal. Watch your baby’s cues and breastfeed when your baby
indicates he/she wants to breastfeed.
Finger Foods and Beyond
At 9 months, your baby’s number one food will still be breast milk or iron-fortified
formula. Now he/she is ready to try finely chopped family foods and finger foods.
Your baby will enjoy the challenge of using a spoon or picking up small pieces of food to
feed himself/herself by hand.
What to Feed Your Baby
Start by feeding your baby finely chopped family foods and finger foods without added
sugar, salt, butter or margarine. Give your baby new foods 1 at a time and slowly add
different ones to his/her diet.
At this age, many babies do not have a lot of teeth, so make sure the foods are soft and
easy for your baby to gum. This reduces the risk of choking.
At 9 months, your baby can be given homogenized whole (3.25%) milk. Do not give your
baby skim, 1% or 2% milk until he/she is 2 years old. These milks do not have enough fat
to meet your baby’s needs. Do not let your baby have more than 720ml (3 cups) of milk
per day.
9 - 12 Months
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula or homogenized milk
• 4 - 6 tablespoons dry infant cereal mixed with breast milk,
iron-fortified formula or water
• 2 - 4 tablespoons soft fruit
• cheese cubes
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula or homogenized milk
• 3 - 4 tablespoons dry infant cereal mixed with breast milk,
iron-fortified formula or water
• 1 -3 tablespoons mashed meat and/or alternatives
• 3 - 4 tablespoons cooked vegetables
• 3 - 4 tablespoons soft fruit
• apple sauce and water
• *breast milk or iron-fortified formula or homogenized milk
• 2 -4 tablespoons mashed meat and/or alternatives
• 3 - 5 tablespoons cooked vegetables
• 2 - 4 tablespoons soft fruit
• ½ carrot muffin
• unsalted soda crackers or dry toast strips
* Most babies under a year will breastfeed 6 or more times in a 24 hour period even when eating solid foods. Some of these
feedings will be snacks, some will be for comfort, and others a meal. Watch your baby’s cues and breastfeed when your baby
indicates he/she wants to breastfeed.
Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months old, but there is no set schedule. Your
baby’s first tooth might come in as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. He/she
might feel pain or discomfort weeks before the new teeth start to poke through. Don’t
worry. The pain of teething is normal and your baby will get through it just fine.
Signs Your Baby is Teething
biting and chewing on things
not wanting to breastfeed because sucking hurts the gums
waking up at night
pulling on his/her ear
crying and rubbing his/her face
red cheeks
What to Do
Give your baby love and attention.
Give your baby dry toast, unsweetened teething biscuits and unsalted bread sticks or
crackers. Chewing will help ease the pain.
Let your baby chew on a frozen wash cloth/teething ring. Cold will help soothe baby’s
Ask your doctor or health care provider for help if nothing works.
Do NOT give your baby a teething ring that contains PVC. PVC is part of DNIP which is a
harmful chemical.
Looking After Your Baby’s Teeth
Even babies can get cavities. Formula and fruit juice and other drinks left in baby’s mouth
can cause tooth decay. Germs that cause tooth decay can be passed from parent to baby
by kissing, sharing spoons or putting the baby’s soother in your mouth. You should begin
caring for your baby’s teeth as soon as they start to come in.
What to Do
Wipe your baby’s teeth with a clean, wet wash cloth at the end of every day.
Limit foods that are high in sugar.
Do NOT let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in his/her mouth.
Teach your baby to use a cup at 6 - 9 months.
Do not put baby’s soother in your mouth to clean it.
Playing and Learning
Now your baby is really on the move! He/she is discovering new ways to get around and
touch everything in sight. Let your baby safely explore the world around him/her. Exploring
is his/her way of learning.
Your baby is also learning to understand some words, make new sounds and use his/her
hands more.
Here is what you can do to help your baby explore, discover and learn:
• Create a safe place for your baby to explore.
• Watch over your baby as he/she moves around and explores.
• Play games your baby enjoys.
• Give your baby new things to see and hear.
• Take your baby out to new places.
• Spend time around other people.
Stages of Development - 7 Months
What Baby Can Do
• pull himself/herself up using furniture
• sit up without help
How You Can Help
• give baby strong things to hang
onto when he/she wants to stand up
• follow fast moving objects with eyes
• put baby in a place where he/she
can see you moving around
and Talking
• copy sounds that he/she hears
• read to baby - point to pictures as
you say the words (ex: dog)
• show fear of things that never
bothered him/her before
• stay close to baby when he/she
is afraid
• play give and take games
8 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• crawl forwards and backwards
• give baby a safe place to crawl
and play
• let baby explore
• reach over things to grasp objects
• help baby pick up, squeeze and
bring toys to his/her mouth
and Talking
• make babbling noises that sound
like words
• sing to baby
• teach baby simple words that sound
like babbling (ex: mama, dada, bye-bye)
• want only his/her mother to do
things for him/her
• easily go from laughing to crying
• be positive around your baby
9 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• point at things
• take baby for a walk and point out
the interesting things you see
• stand for a short time by holding
onto things
• throw things
• understand “no”
and Talking
• respond to his/her name
• give baby things to pick up and
drop into containers (ex: blocks)
• say baby’s name often
ou Sa
ow ar
• give baby strong things
to hang onto when
he/she wants to
stand up
• show fear when left alone,
especially at bedtime
• stay in baby’s line of sight
• create a bedtime routine
10 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• take steps when held
• hold baby up in a walking position
for short periods of time
• wave bye-bye
• help baby wave bye-bye
and Talking
• imitate sounds
• teach baby new words (ex: point to
dog and say “dog”)
• talk to baby and listen when he/she
talks back
• show off new skills to mother
(ex: makes splashes in bathtub)
• express pleasure and pride in
baby’s new skills
11 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• walk when both hands are held
for support
• hold baby’s hands to help him/her
walk for short periods of time
• move around by holding onto
• play games with baby - give baby
colourful toys to move around and
different kinds of containers to put
them in (ex: balls to roll, cars to
• pick up and place things into
• play peek-a-boo
• remember people who have
left an area
• play simple hiding games - hide
toys halfway
• try to reach for
things that are
far away
and Talking
• say mama or dada when he/she
sees a parent
• respond to baby’s words by
repeating them in simple sentences
(ex: “Mama is playing.”)
• take part in routines
• create routines for baby (ex: read to
baby before bedtime)
12 Months
What Baby Can Do
How You Can Help
• stand up for a very short time
without support
• let baby pick up and eat finger foods
• pick up things using thumb and
index finger
• push toys around
• understand colour
• understand size
and Talking
• understand simple instructions or
questions (ex: Is Hayley full?)
• use sounds to tell you what
he/she wants
• explore with adults nearby
• give baby toys that have different
shapes, sizes and textures
• give baby push toys or toys with
strings to pull
• give baby simple directions
• tell baby what you are doing as
you do it
y is c r”
n‛s di
• let baby play alone while you are in
the same room
Keeping Your Baby Safe
At this age, your baby is full of wonder. He/she is crawling around, pulling up on things
and reaching for everything in sight. Your baby can move around without your help but
he/she depends on you to keep him/her safe.
Here are some things you can do to make learning and playing safe for your baby:
• Child-proof your home (See “Child-proofing Checklist” on page 98).
• Give your baby toys that are right for his/her age.
• Keep small objects out of your baby’s reach. If it fits in the mouth, your baby can choke
on it.
• Move cords from blinds and curtains up high where your baby can’t reach them.
• Tuck lamp and telephone cords behind tables.
• Cover all electric outlets with child-proof covers.
• Secure your drawers and cupboards with safety latches.
• Put corner bumpers on furniture.
• Lock all windows.
• Block stairs from top and bottom with baby gates that bolt in place.
• Clean up party leftovers. Alcohol is poisonous to small children even if they have just a
• Keep all detergents, medicines, sharp objects out of your child’s reach.
• Hang Christmas ornaments out of your baby’s reach to avoid cuts or lead poisoning.
• Do not use tablecloths that hang within your baby’s reach.
• Never leave your baby alone EXCEPT in a crib or playpen.
Child-proofing Checklist
Use the checklist below to help make your home a safe place for your baby.
Pots are placed at back of stove.
Pot handles are turned in.
Stove is clear of things that can easily catch fire.
Chairs and step stools are away from the counter and stove.
Electrical appliances are unplugged and away from water.
Cords are tucked away from baby’s reach.
Sharp knives and utensils are out of baby’s reach.
Household cleaners and chemicals are stored up high in a locked cupboard or closet.
Fire extinguisher works.
Ironing board and iron are put away.
Keep plastic bags out of child’s reach.
Door is always closed.
Toilet lid lock is installed.
Drawers and cabinets are secured with child-proof locks.
Use electrical appliances carefully.
Install ground-fault circuit interrupters on outlets near sinks and bathtubs.
Bathtub has a non-skid strip or mat.
Hot water heater is turned down to 48º C (120º F) to keep tap water at a safe
temperature of 43º C (110º F) or lower.
❒ Never leave a young child alone in the bathroom.
Child’s Bedroom
❒ Cords from blinds and curtains are moved up high.
❒ Non-toxic paint is used on walls and furniture.
❒ No bunk beds for children under 6.
Adult Bedroom
❒ Personal care products are out of baby’s reach (ex: make-up, deodorant, hair pins or
❒ Electrical appliances are out of baby’s reach.
Halls and Stairs
Baby gates are secured at the top and bottom of stairs.
Stairs are well lit.
No small rugs or clutter to trip over near the stairs.
Night light is on in the hallway between bedrooms and bathrooms.
Basement and Storage Areas
Laundry products are out of baby’s reach.
Paints, chemicals and poisons are stored up high or locked away.
Tools are out of reach or locked away.
Power tools are unplugged and put away.
Doors and shelves are removed from any unused fridge or freezer.
❒ Items children can climb on are far away from balcony rail (ex: chairs, toys,
❒ Balcony rails are vertical (go up and down) and close together.
❒ Children are always supervised by an adult when on the balcony.
❒ Windows and doors that lead to the balcony are locked.
Your Baby’s Checkups
Your doctor or health care provider will need to see your baby for regular checkups
from 6 - 12 months so he/she can see how your baby is growing. He/she will check
your baby’s growth and development and make sure your baby can do things such as
reach, imitate, listen and laugh.
Your baby might get a cold or flu before his/her first birthday. Ask your doctor or health
care provider about the signs and what to do if your baby is sick.
Your Growing Baby
How my baby is growing:
What did I do to help my baby grow…
Special moments to remember…
1-2 Years
Your little one has grown so fast! As a parent, you will experience many new and
exciting challenges as your baby becomes a toddler. Your baby will test out many new
behaviours. One minute he/she will be full of joy and the next minute, kicking and
crying. Your job is to stay patient and learn ways to build on the caring relationship you
have developed so far.
This section is all about what happens during the toddler stage. You will find answers
to the following questions:
How do I help my toddler with sleeping issues?
What do I feed my toddler?
Is my toddler’s behaviour normal?
How can I help my toddler deal with stress and fear?
How and when do I toilet train?
How do I discipline my toddler?
What skills will my toddler develop over the year?
How do I keep my toddler safe?
How do I care for my toddler’s health?
Most toddlers between ages 1 and 2 require 10-13 hours of sleep a day. Your toddler will
still have naps during the day, especially after an activity like going to the park. Many
parents feel that getting their toddler to sleep at night can be a challenge. Other concerns
are coping with your toddler’s bad dreams and moving him/her from the crib into a bed.
Sleeping at Night
Your toddler might have problems falling asleep at night. It is hard for him/her to settle
down after a busy day filled with excitement.
How to help:
• Create a 15 - 30 minute bedtime routine.
• Follow through with the bedtime routine even if your toddler is fussing.
• Give your toddler a toy to cuddle in bed.
Bad Dreams
Your toddler might wake up crying because of a bad dream. It is important to comfort
your toddler so he/she feels safe and can fall back asleep.
How to help:
• Cuddle your toddler.
• Show your toddler the room is safe.
• Talk about happy things.
• Give your toddler a toy to cuddle.
• Leave on a night light/hall light.
Moving From the Crib into a Bed
If your toddler can climb out of his/her crib, he/she is probably ready to make the move
into a bed. This is a big step and your toddler will need time to adjust.
How to help:
• Go slow and talk to your toddler about the move.
• Keep bedtime routines the same (ex: story, bath, etc.).
• Let your toddler practise sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
• Take your toddler on the shopping trip to pick out his/her new or used bed.
• Keep the crib in your toddler’s room for a little while.
• If the crib is no longer available, put your toddler’s bed in the same place his/her crib
used to be.
• Put up a guardrail to prevent your toddler from falling out of bed.
Feeding is a way for you and your toddler to interact. A positive
feeding relationship is necessary for your child’s proper nutrition and
growth. In addition, how you interact with your child during feeding
has a powerful impact on how they feel about themselves and the
world. Feeding depends on the abilities and temperaments of both
parent and child.
Babies grow fast and eat a lot of food. Toddlers grow slower and tend
to eat less. Your toddler is developing eating habits that will stick with
him/her for a lifetime, so it is very important that your toddler learns to enjoy eating many
different types of foods. Below is what you need to know to help him/her eat healthily now
and for life.
A golden “Rule” for feeding children is:
Parents decide what foods to offer, when to offer food and where to offer food.
The child decides whether to eat and how much to eat.
Parents decide what foods to offer:
Parents do the grocery shopping and decide what food will be brought home and put
on the table.
Try new foods. Offer a small amount first. It may take 15 - 20 times before a new food is
Serve food in a form that your child can eat. Eating with their hands is okay.
Offer healthy food choices to your child. For information on healthy choices look at the
Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. It will help you and your family know how much
food you need and what types of foods are better. For a free copy of the food guide call
1-866-225-0709, online:
Parents decide when to offer food:
Children need the routine of regular meals and snacks to grow well (usually 3 meals
and 2-3 snacks a day).
Plan meals and snacks at regular times so your child knows when to expect meals and
Parents decide where to offer food:
Children should eat meals and snacks at the table.
Sit and eat meals with your child.
Make mealtimes a fun time with good food and good feelings.
Turn off the TV and radio during mealtimes.
Child decides whether to eat:
Children’s appetites change from day to day. Some days your child will not eat much,
other days they will eat more. This is normal.
Make mealtime a happy time and do not force your child to eat.
Children can turn down or ignore foods they do not want to eat. Do not force a child
to eat food they do not want.
Child decides how much to eat:
Children know when they are hungry and when they are full. Do not make your child
finish his plate, or tell him/her to “take just 1 more bite”.
Children’s portion sizes tend to be smaller than adult’s portions. Children have small
stomachs and need to eat small amounts more often during the day.
Your child’s steady growth is the best way to tell if your child is eating enough.
Remember to make mealtime fun!
Breastfeeding Your Toddler
Health Canada recommends breastfeeding continue until your baby is 2 years or older.
Children who are allowed to breastfeed until they wean themselves often will nurse at
least 2 years. Toddlers breastfeed for many of the same reasons infants breastfeed: for
nutrition, comfort, security, for a way to calm down and for reassurance.
Mothers breastfeed their toddlers for many of the same reasons they breastfeed their
infants: they recognize their child’s needs, they enjoy the closeness, they want to offer
comfort, and they understand the health benefits.
Commonly a breastfeeding toddler will ask to nurse by pulling on your shirt or lying in the
nursing position.
Tips for Breastfeeding Your Toddler
• Make up a code word for breastfeeding so that your baby can ask to nurse discreetly.
• Have small amounts of food with you for distraction if you would rather nurse
privately and your child is hungry.
Toilet Training
Toilet training is a big step in your toddler’s life. He/she will be ready to toilet train
anytime around age 2 or later.
When to Start
These are some of the signs your toddler is ready to be diaper free:
• fewer wet diapers - wakes up dry from naps but still wets at night.
• can tell when he/she needs to go.
• can walk to the potty and sit on it.
• can pull his/her pants up and down.
How to Toilet Train Your Toddler
Show him/her a potty chair and explain what it is used for.
Dress your toddler in pants he/she can easily take
down and pull up.
Tell your toddler to let you know when he/she has to go.
Stay with your toddler while he/she uses the potty.
Read books or tell stories while he/she goes.
Praise him/her for using the potty or trying to go.
Teach your toddler to wash his/her hands after using
the potty.
Do not try toilet training during a big time of change in your toddler’s life (ex: new
sibling, starting daycare).
If toilet training is NOT working, stop and try again a few weeks later.
Do not get upset or punish your toddler if he/she has accidents. Accidents are
normal, especially at night.
How Toddlers Act
Your toddler is figuring out who he/she is and what he/she can do. All this “discovery”
can lead to some challenging behaviour. Your job is to be patient as your toddler acts out
and tests his/her new skills.
Running Away From You
Being away from you is a skill your toddler needs to learn.
He/she will develop this skill by running away from you for
short periods of time.
How to help:
• Turn it into a game and let your toddler run to a safe place and back.
• Keep a close eye on your toddler and remind him/her where to run to.
He/she will quickly forget the rules of the game.
• Carry your toddler or hold his/her hand in dangerous places
(ex: sidewalk, parking lot, near stairs, malls).
Temper Tantrums
Your toddler wants a say in what goes on around him/her. But he/she doesn’t have the
skills to say it. This can lead to frustration, anger... and temper tantrums. Temper
tantrums are your toddler’s natural way of acting out to tell you he/she is frustrated.
Don’t be alarmed if he/she falls to the floor, stomps, kicks, cries, screams, bites, hits and
throws things. With your help, your toddler will eventually learn how to control his/her
How to help:
• Stay with your toddler until the temper tantrum is over.
• Be calm.
• Do not try to reason with your toddler.
• Do not try to stop the fuss by giving your toddler what
he/she wants.
• Hold your toddler to protect him/her from physical harm
(ex: head banging).
• Praise your toddler for stopping.
• Distract your toddler with a game or activity once the tantrum ends.
• Prevent temper tantrums by making sure your toddler is well fed and rested.
• Help your toddler express his/her feelings with words (ex: “I can see that you are
Saying No
Your toddler has a mind of his/her own and wants to show it.
He/she will say “no” to everything.
How to help:
• Offer choices to give your toddler control (ex: “Do you want to eat the apple or the
• Do not ask your toddler yes or no questions (ex: “You are getting dressed now”, NOT
“Do you want to get dressed?”).
• Praise your toddler’s agreeable behaviour (ex: “Mommy is proud of you for getting
dressed so fast.”).
Not Sharing
Your toddler will learn how to share when he/she is about 2 ½ years old. For now,
your toddler will simply act his/her age and not share. Your toddler will often use the
word “mine.”
How to help:
• If your toddler takes someone’s toy, quietly tell him/her to give it back.
• Move your toddler to another play area if he/she continues to take toys away
from others.
Fear is a normal part of your toddler’s development. These are the most common things
toddlers are afraid of:
• dogs
• monsters
• insects
• loud noises
• strangers
How to help:
• Be understanding and let your toddler know it is okay to be scared.
• Show your toddler there is nothing to be afraid of.
• Keep scary things away from your toddler.
• Tell your toddler you won’t let anything hurt him/her.
• Give your toddler time to overcome his/her fear. Do not force him/her to face it
head on.
Your toddler is growing independent and going through a lot of changes in his/her life.
This can cause stress. Stress is normal for toddlers. It helps them learn to cope.
Signs of Stress
more temper tantrums
tummy aches for no reason
loss of appetite
more nightmares
has accidents even though he/she is toilet trained
Too much stress can be unhealthy. If your toddler shows 2 or more of signs of stress, try
to figure out what is causing the problem. Look to see if there have been changes in his/
her routine or if there are other reasons he/she is stressed. If your toddler continues to
show signs of stress, talk to your health care provider.
Your toddler wants to be independent, loves to explore and does not know right from
wrong. Your job is to set clear and consistent limits that keep your toddler safe. Your
toddler’s job is to test those limits in order to learn how to behave. It is easier to be
patient when you know what to expect from your toddler and realize some misbehaviour
happens for a reason (ex: thirsty, tired, scared).
Your toddler will start to obey your rules at around age 3.
Toddler Behaviour You can Expect
Does things without thinking about it (ex: drops a cup without realizing it could
Only understands simple rules (ex: “Put your mitts on to go outside.”).
Does not remember what you told him/her.
Pays attention for only short periods of time.
Ways to Discipline
Child-proof your house (See “Child-proofing Checklist” on page 98).
Pick up your toddler and move him/her away from danger.
Always keep an eye on your toddler.
Try to distract your toddler when he/she misbehaves.
Tell your toddler how his/her behaviour is unacceptable (ex: “It is okay to be angry but
not okay to yell in the store.”).
Give your toddler choices and follow through on the choices (ex: “Do you want to
hold my hand in the store or go home?”).
Praise your toddler when he/she behaves well.
Be patient with your toddler.
Some parents believe spanking is a good way to discipline children. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
There are many reasons why children should not be spanked.
When you spank your child/toddler:
• You are telling him/her it is okay to hit, especially when you are bigger.
• You may spank too hard and badly injure/hurt your child.
• You are not teaching your child how to behave.
• You damage your relationship with your child.
• You make your child feel bad about himself/herself rather than think about
what he/she did.
Child Abuse
Child abuse is any act that hurts a child on purpose or fails to protect him/her from
harm. The major forms of child abuse are:
Physical abuse
Any non-accidental injury to a child’s body (ex: shaking, hitting, burning).
Sexual abuse
Any sexual act between an adult and child (ex: fondling, pornography).
Failure to provide for a child’s needs (ex: lack of food, clothing or care).
Emotional abuse
Any behaviour that hurts a child’s mental health or social development (ex: verbal
threats, name-calling, ignoring).
If you think your child is being abused, call All Nations Coordinated Response Network
(ANCR) at 204-944-4200 or toll-free at 1-866-345-9241.
Fear of Hurting Your Child
Parenting is a stressful job. Many parents have days when they feel like they have reached
the end of their rope. Follow these steps if you think you might hurt your toddler:
• Put your toddler in a safe room, walk away and shut the door behind you.
• Express your feelings in a safe way (ex: cry, hit a pillow).
• Have someone you trust come over and care for your toddler so you can take a break.
• Share your feelings with a friend, family member, health care provider or public
health nurse.
Asking for help is a sign of strength.
Playing and Learning
Your toddler learns from exploring. From 1 - 2 years old, he/she will become more mobile
(walk), start doing things themselves and express a wide range of feelings. Push toys
teach him/her about balance and how to walk. Reading teaches him/her new words.
Stacking blocks teaches him/her about movements, shapes and weight. It is important to
provide your toddler with activities that encourage learning.
Ways to encourage learning:
• Give your toddler a safe place to play inside and outdoors.
• Talk to your toddler and listen when he/she talks to you.
• Read to your toddler and point out pictures to match the words.
• Help your toddler test out his/her new skills (ex: show him/her how to stack blocks).
• Let your toddler spend time around other children.
• Be patient when your toddler is frustrated.
Stages of Development - 14 Months
The toddler stage is full of exciting milestones like walking, talking and drawing. It is
amazing to watch your toddler learn one skill and quickly move onto the next. You can
help your toddler master new skills if you know what he/she is working on. These next
few pages explain what to expect at different ages.
Baby is Learning to:
How You Can Help
• walk by himself/herself
• take toddler for walks
• stack 3 blocks together
• give him/her blocks and stacking
rings to play with
• bring spoon to mouth and
turn it over to eat from
• point to things
and Talking
• say 1 - 2 words
• make noises when pointing
• give toddler a spoon and bowl
• ask him/her to point to things in
the house, outside and in books
• name people, places and things
for your toddler
• speak clearly
• sound out words
• hug and kiss
• use sounds and words to express
• ask toddler how he/she feels
18 Months
Baby is Learning to:
How You Can Help
• walk downstairs one step at a time
with one hand held
• help toddler practise
walking downstairs
• push and ride toys without pedals
• give him/her toys
without pedals
• pretend
• enjoy messy activities
• show toddler how to make-believe
with play food and toy phones
• give him/her pails and shovels to
use in a sandbox
• sing with toddler
and Talking
• say no
• try to sing songs
• teach him/her to make motions to
familiar songs
• enjoy routines
• create and follow routines
• take off simple clothes
(ex: socks, pants)
• encourage toddler to make decisions
• ask him/her to take part in tasks
(ex: dressing, bathing)
24 Months
Baby is Learning to:
How You Can Help
• walk upstairs while holding rail
• supervise toddler on stairs
• try to draw lines and circles
• give him/her drawing toys (ex: large
crayons, finger paints)
• point to body parts
• give toddler names of his/her
body parts
• play beside other children, not
with them
• let him/her spend time
around other children
• give him/her time
to play alone
and Talking
• say mama or dada when he/she
sees a parent
• look at picture books with toddler
• expand on what toddler says
(ex: toddler says ball, you say big
ball goes bounce)
• give simple answers to
his/her questions
• show affection and try to
comfort others
• get frustrated easily
• encourage toddler to think of others
(ex: feed a doll, cuddle a stuffed
• help him/her through temper
tantrums (See “Temper Tantrums”
on page 108)
• respect his/her feelings of
frustration and anger
• teach him/her how to express
frustration and anger using words
and faces
Keeping Your Toddler Safe
Your toddler is very curious and bursting with energy. He/she wants to test out new skills
and do things for himself/herself. This means walking, climbing, opening drawers and
exploring without your help. The best way to keep your toddler safe is to watch him/her at all
times. But it can be hard to keep up when your toddler is always on the move. You can prevent
accidents by making sure your house is child-proof (See “Child-proofing Checklist”
on page 98) and your toddler has a safe place to play inside and outside.
The following information explains the dangers and what you can do to make your toddler’s
world a safer place.
Lock up all medicine and household cleaners.
Never refer to medicine as candy.
Store bath products out of your toddler’s reach.
Never leave pills in your purse or pockets.
Keep emergency phone numbers on your fridge or by the phone.
Keep an eye on your toddler at all times.
Make sure playground equipment is right for your toddler’s size and skills.
Check playground equipment to make sure it is safe (ex: no sharp edges or splintering
Most serious playground injuries happen when children fall onto hard surfaces. Make sure
equipment has a safe landing pad (ex: sand, wood chips).
Dress your toddler in safe clothing - no cords or strings.
Tie your toddler’s shoelaces tight and tuck in his/her scarf.
NEVER let your toddler go down a slide head first.
Make sure your floors are not slippery.
Clear your floors of things your toddler can trip on.
Block stairs from top and bottom with safety gates that bolt in place.
Put corner bumpers on furniture and cover all sharp edges with padding.
Lock all windows and keep furniture away from them so your toddler cannot climb up.
Your Toddler’s Checkups
Your toddler will need to see your doctor or health care provider for more needles after his/
her first birthday. These needles are called immunizations. They protect your toddler from
the following serious diseases:
• Measles
• Mumps
• Rubella
At 18 months, your toddler will need more needles to protect him/her from:
• Diphtheria
• Tetanus
• Pertussis
• Poliomyelitis
• Haemophilus Influenza type B
• Pneumococcal infection
• Keep a record of your baby’s immunizations.
• Visit your doctor or health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your
toddler’s health.
Your Toddler
My toddler is growing...
How have I helped my toddler grow?
Some special moments were...
A Final Note
Congratulations on all your successes in parenting from the newborn to toddler years! We
hope you found this book helpful when you had questions about how to care for your little
one and teach him/her about the world. Parenthood is a journey filled with joys, thrills
and challenges. It is so important to stay informed and understand what lies ahead. Keep
learning and remember there are many places and people who can help you care for your
child in a loving way.
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Emotional Well-Being of Children in Child Care Centres and Family Day Care Homes, 2nd edition.
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and Control for Children and Youth, 3rd edition.
Duggan, Deborah (n.d.). Children and Play. Retrieved September 25, 2007, from
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Development Profiles and Activities for Infants and Toddlers. Arizona: Communication Skill Builders.
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series). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.
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Work Institute.
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Ideas For You and Your Child. [Booklet].
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Whaley, L.F. and Wong, D.L. (1991). Nursing Care of Infants and Children, 4th edition. Missouri: MosbyYear Book Inc.
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We would like to extend a sincere thanks to those whose guidance and expertise helped shape
this book. We appreciate your generous contribution.
3rd Fl - 332 Bannatyne Ave.
Winnipeg, MB
R3A 0E2
T: 204-945-2266
Toll-free: 1-888-848-0140
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