Father baby


At Home with Your Newborn

Being home with your new baby can be both exciting and scary. You are the center of your baby’s world. He depends on you for everything.
Take as much time as possible to be with your baby. Talk, cuddle, and play with him from his very first hours. You help his brain grow when you talk, read, and sing to him.

Where to Find Help

Family PACT
Referrals for family planning services.

First 5 California
Referrals to family services and home visits, from local First 5 commissions.

Postpartum Support International
24-hour support for new mothers with depression.

Zero to Three
Information on early childhood.

More Resources

Things You Can Do

Talk About How to Care for Your Baby

Children do best when parents agree on how to raise them.

  • Agree on routines for your baby.

  • Share tasks and talk about who does what.

  • Talk about how to handle crying and other issues.

  • If you argue, try to stick to the main problem. Listen carefully and try not to blame each other.

  • Give each other little breaks—like time for a bath or a nap.

If You Have Other Children

  • Try to spend some time alone with each child, so each one feels loved.

  • Try to keep routines like meals and bedtime.

  • Try not to change child care or start toilet learning for an older child right after your baby is born. Do it while you are pregnant. Or wait a few months after the birth.

Sex After the Birth

  • Talk to your doctor about when you can start having sex. A new mother’s body needs time to heal. Many new parents are tired and stressed, so they are not in a hurry to start having sex again. Tell your partner how you feel and what you need.

  • You can get pregnant again soon after you give birth. Breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy. Ask your doctor about birth control that is safe to use while you breastfeed. Contact Family PACT for information.


Home Safety Checklist

Use this checklist to make your home ready for your new baby.

A Baby and Your Relationship

When you have a baby, your relationship as a couple changes. You have less time for each other. Both of you may be tired and cranky. Remember to be patient and to show your love for each other. Soon you will make new routines and feel more confident as parents.


Both Parents Have Important Roles

Babies need to be close to both parents. If you are not the mother, you can still hold your baby and take care of him. You are part of a parenting team. Here are some ways you can help care for your baby:

  • Apply for family leave. Both parents can take time off work to care for a new baby.

  • Share baby-care tasks. Research shows that when both parents care for their children, the children do better in school.

  • If mothers have their partners’ support for breastfeeding, they are more likely to stay with it. Do what you can to give emotional and practical support, especially in the first few weeks.

Growing close with your baby is more important than doing chores.

Postpartum Depression

Mothers often feel sad, afraid, or anxious after giving birth. Postpartum depression is when these feelings last more than a few weeks. This can start any time in the first year after the birth. To learn more, see Emotional Health.

Get Help at Home

You may be able to have home visits from a person trained to help new parents. For example, you can get help with feeding and home safety. Contact your county First 5 commission or your baby’s doctor to learn more.