Looking After Your Child

Because the first years of a child’s life are the most important (these are when people develop the most), it’s crucial that your baby is raised in a healthyand secure environment. Here are a few practical matters to remember as you become a parent:

Have a place to call home. Having a home is an important part of feeling secure in your new role as a parent. It’s also important foryour child to have a stable home. While it’s necessary to have a “roof over your head,” a home is more than just four walls.

Keep your baby healthy. It’s important that you find a pediatrician for your baby before he or she is even born. You will need to beginseeing your own doctor while you are pregnant for prenatal care. Prenatal care monitors the progress of pregnancy and makes sure your baby will be healthy.Once your baby is born, he or she should see a doctor regularly every few months for “well-baby” visits. Your baby’s first checkup should be within a fewweeks of birth.

Feeding your baby. During your well-baby visits, you can talk to your pediatrician about the best way to feed your baby. Newborns needto eat every two to four hours, depending on whether you (and your partner if you have one) decide to breast feed or use formula.

Find extra support. If you plan on working or returning to school after you’ve had your baby, you’ll need to use some form of child careto ensure that your child is cared for while you’re at work. If you live near or with your family, you might want to ask a relative that you trust to watchyour child while you’re working. You might also need to hire child care or a full-time babysitter.

Set up a support network. It takes many people to raise a healthy, happy child, so enlist your loved ones to help out. Remember thatparenting isn’t just for moms. Dads are a crucial part of children’s lives! To find out more about how to emotionally prepare for parenthood, check outthe Preparing for parenthood fact sheet.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

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