Baby Friendly Manitoba:  Information for Parents

Breastfeeding:  Baby Care

Vitamin D Supplement

Health Canada recommends that all breastfed, healthy, full term babies get a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day. You should start giving your baby vitamin D supplement at birth. Continue giving it until your baby’s foods include 400 IU of vitamin D each day.

  • Your baby needs vitamin D to build strong, healthy bones and teeth.
  • Not enough vitamin D increases the risk of your baby getting rickets—a disease that affects the way bones grow and develop.
Vitamin D and Sunlight

Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D for all humans, but wearing sunscreen prevents vitamin D from being formed. Canada’s northern location and our use of sunscreen to lessen the risk of skin cancer means we can’t count on getting enough vitamin D from being in the sun. Children and adults can get additional vitamin D from foods. See BC Health File #68e, Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D at

  • Infants under one year should be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • Sunscreen should not be used on babies less than 6 months of age.
  • For infants over 6 months who are exposed to sunlight, sunscreen is recommended.
  • See: Baby's Best Chance PDF (page 126)
Feeding the First Solid Foods

Your baby does not need any food except breast milk for the first six months. Babies should be able to sit up with some support, open their mouths when they see food coming, and move the soft food from the front of the tongue to the back of the mouth to swallow. If you wait until your baby can do these things, your baby will feel more confident about learning to eat and will give you signals about hunger, fullness, likes, and dislikes by turning her head away.

Emotional Attachment

Emotional attachment is one of the key factors in raising a happy and confident child. A healthy attachment is when you and your baby become bonded into a close and connected relationship. When your baby is attached to you in this healthy way, she feels safe, secure, and protected on physical, emotional, and mental levels.

Attachment between you and your baby occurs gradually over time, through day-to-day actions and routines. To build a healthy emotional attachment with your baby:

  • Listen, watch and try to understand her cues about what she needs and wants
  • Respond to her in a loving way
  • Respond to her as quickly as you can
  • Be consistent.

These actions will build her trust that you are there for her and that she is safe and secure.


For the first month, your baby may sleep for about 15 hours of every 24 hours. She will usually not sleep longer than two or three hours at a time. In the early days, it is common for babies to wake up several times at night. Getting enough sleep can be a big issue for many parents.

Breastfeeding is the best way to get your baby back to sleep. Over time, your baby will gradually sleep longer during the night.

Here are a few tips:

  • Have a clear difference between daytime and nighttime sleeping. When you are up at night to feed your baby, keep the room darkened and do not turn on the TV or music. Try not to play with or stimulate your baby before putting him back down to sleep. During the daytime, let your baby sleep in a lightened room with normal daytime noises. In the daytime sing to him, play, and generally get on with your day.
  • Have enough nap time during the day. An over-tired baby will not sleep better at night.
  • Make sure your baby is warm but not hot.
  • Put your baby to sleep in a safe sleeping environment.
  • Have a routine that you follow at night. This may not be possible in the first few months. As your baby gets older, have a warm bath at night followed by rocking or singing and quiet time. This routine signals to your baby that sleep is coming.
Is Baby Too Warm or Too Cold?

The best guide for how many clothes or blankets a baby needs is to dress your baby as you would dress yourself. Your baby needs to be comfortably warm or cool, depending on the temperature outside and inside your house.

In the house, babies need about the same number of layers of clothes as an adult to stay warm. When putting your baby to sleep, it is recommended that you use a sleeper and a light blanket or a blanket-weight sleeper. Keep your baby’s head uncovered when sleeping. This is so your baby does not get too hot. Avoid using heavy blankets, quilts, and duvets.

If your baby is overdressed or is wrapped in too many blankets, she may develop a rash that looks like clusters of tiny pink pimples surrounded by pink skin. Your baby may also get sleepy and sweaty.

Infants who are too cold will usually fuss until the problem is fixed. Cold hands and feet don’t necessarily mean that the baby is cold. Feel the warmth on the upper arms or thighs. Add a sweater or a light blanket.

A large portion of an infant’s body surface area is on their heads. In other words, their heads are large in comparison to their bodies. Because of this, they can lose a lot of heat through their heads. When outdoors, it is wise to use a hat to keep your baby warm when the weather is cool. In summer, protect your baby’s head from the sun by using a light, wide-brimmed hat, keeping her in the shade and out of the mid-day heat.

Safe Sleeping for You And Your Baby

You need to carefully choose where your baby sleeps. 

There are many ways to help you and your baby sleep well and safely.

Room sharing refers to the sleeping arrangement where the infant sleeps in the same room as a parent, but not in the same bed. Room sharing is recommended for the first six months of life.

Bedsharing means the baby shares the same sleep surface with another person, usually a parent. In many areas of the world it is a common practice for mothers to sleep with their babies so they can watch them, breastfeed them, and be near them.

You need to know the benefits and risks of co-sleeping and bedsharing, and consider them each time you choose where your baby sleeps. Having your baby in bed with you makes breastfeeding easier and your baby can feed more often. It is best to put your baby on his back when not breastfeeding. Having your baby share your room, particularly at night, may help lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Being close can also help to calm your baby if he is unsettled.

The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) released recommendations in 2004 that discourage bedsharing for the first year of life. Sharing a bed with your baby can increase your risk of smothering your baby, especially if you are very tired or have been drinking alcohol or using drugs.

You should not share a bed with your baby if you (or any other person in the bed):

  • are a smoker, or your baby is exposed to second-hand smoke
  • have been drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • have taken any medicines that could make you extra sleepy
  • are very tired, to the point where you would not be able to respond to your baby
  • are ill or have a medical condition that might make it difficult to respond to your baby
  • have long hair that is not tied back
  • are very heavy (obese)

There are other things you need to know when choosing where your baby sleeps:

It is safest to put your baby on his back to sleep. This is very important!

  • Your baby should sleep on a firm, flat mattress. Do not put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sagging mattress, feather bed, air mattress, pillow top mattress, sofa, couch, daybed, or any other surface that is very soft.
  • Be sure your baby will not fall out of bed. There should be no spaces between the mattress and the headboard, walls, or other surfaces that can trap your baby.  
  • Do not sleep with your baby while sitting or lying on a sofa, recliner, or chair. Your baby could fall between the cushions and suffocate, or fall on the floor.
  • Make sure your baby does not get too warm. Use only a light blanket to cover him. Do not swaddle or wrap your sleeping baby tightly in a blanket or cover his head.
  • Do not put your baby down to sleep on or beside a pillow.
  • Use a crib that meets safety standards and don’t use pillows, bumper pads, sheepskins, or comforters, or have stuffed toys in the crib.
  • Do not leave your baby alone on an adult bed or let other children sleep in the same bed as your baby.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

SIDS, also known as crib death, is the sudden and unexpected death of a healthy baby. No one can explain why a baby dies of SIDS but there are steps you can take to lessen the risk.

  • Babies should sleep on their backs on a firm surface.
  • When your baby can turn over on his own, there is no need to continue to place your baby in the back sleep position. When your baby is awake, allow some tummy time to help develop arm and neck strength. See page 121 for more information on tummy time.
  • No one should smoke inside your home.
  • A smoke-free home is important – not only for your baby’s health but also to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Keep your baby warm, not hot. To check if your baby is too hot, place your hand on the back of the neck. Your baby should not be sweating.
  • Breastfeeding may help to prevent SIDS.
What do I need to know about cribs?

Your baby can sleep in a crib, cradle, bassinet, basket, or even a box as long as the surface is firm and not soft. When your baby becomes active you may find that a crib is needed.

Only use cribs that meet the federal government’s Cribs and Cradles Regulations. Be sure that each part of the crib is properly and securely in place at all times. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when putting the crib together.

Cribs should also have double locks for securing the drop side. Do not use a crib made before 1986 or that does not have a label with the date it was manufactured.

What do I need to know about mattresses?

The mattress should be firm, no more than 15 cm (6 inches) thick, fit the frame properly, have no gaps greater than 3 cm (1 1/8 inches) along the sides or ends of the crib. If spaces are larger than this, your baby can get his head stuck in any gaps between the mattress and the frame and suffocate. If the mattress is worn or has a tear, it is dangerous. Do not use it. The mattress support should hold firmly and be checked often. You can do this by shaking the mattress support, thumping the mattress from the top, and pushing hard on the sup port from underneath. Make sure all screws, locks, and clamps are tight.

What do I need to know about bedding?
  • To protect the crib mattress, you can use either a quilted crib pad (one side waterproof) or a mattress cover, placed under a bottom sheet. Do not use plastic sheets as they can get in the way of breathing.
  • Pillowcases can be used as a bottom sheet for a bassinet or carriage mattress.
  • You can use some bottom sheets (can be fitted) for the crib mattress.
  • In a warm room, a sleeper and a light blanket or a blanket- weight sleeper should be enough to keep your baby comfortable.
  • Your baby should be warm but not hot.
  • Top sheets are not recommended until your child is an older toddler. Babies can get tangled in a top sheet.
  • Never cover your baby’s face or head with blankets.

What are immunizations?

Immunizations help to protect your child from many diseases before they have a chance to make him sick. Other words for immunizations are inoculations, vaccinations, needles, boosters, and shots.

Why should I have my baby immunized?

Immunization is the best way to protect your child against many serious diseases. Many diseases are not common in Canada because of immunizations. The germs that cause these diseases still exist.

When should I have my child immunized?

Your child’s first immunizations begin at 2 months of age. Some immunizations are only given once or twice, and some need to be given over a period of time. Children are usually immunized at: 2 months of age, 4 months of age, 6 months of age, 12 months of age, 18 months of age, 4 – 6 years of age, 11 years of age (Grade 6 level), and 14 years of age (Grade 9 level). The immunization schedule can change. To find out more about the current immunization schedule, visit

Talk to your doctor, public health nurse or call Health Links – Info Santé :
204-788-8200 toll-free - in Winnipeg
1-888-315-9257 - outside Winnipeg

Healthy Eating for Infants and Children
  • Breastmilk and Other Drinks for Babies
    The Raising Our Healthy Kids nutrition videos have been produced in conjunction with Dietitians of Canada and Alberta Health Services.

Baby Friendly Manitoba
  • Ten Steps to Effective Breastfeeding:

NEXT:  Healthy Eating for Infants and Children