Last Reviewed April 2013
When it comes to having a baby, there are no silly questions!
A child’s early years – from before birth to age six – are very important. Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.
Ontario’s Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) Program helps children get a healthy start in life. The program helps families during pregnancy and after the baby is born by:
- Talking to parents about their child’s development during the first year of life
- Giving parents health information
- Telling parents about local community programs and resources, for example, breastfeeding, nutrition, parenting programs and family literacy programs.
How Does the Program Work?
HBHC offers in-home support by both Public Health Nurses and Family Visitors at no cost to families. Interpreters are available in many languages, including American Sign Language.
HBHC is voluntary for parents. After a person consents or says ‘yes’ to receive service from HBHC, a Public Health Nurse will call to find out more information about the family.
Families who have parenting goals and would like support are connected with services in the community. They may also be referred to the Home Visiting Program, which offers longer-term support from a Public Health Nurse and a Family Visitor. Families may choose to leave the program at any time.
All information is protected by Ontario Privacy Laws unless there are safety concerns which need to be reported to protect children and parents from harm.
In the Region of Peel, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program partners with Success by 6 Peel, a coalition of agencies and services dedicated to giving young children, under the age of six, the best possible start in life.
Who Should Connect with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program?
- Any parent with questions about their baby’s growth and development. When day-to-day parenting is a struggle, parents may benefit from both information and support.
- Any parent who wants help from a Public Health Nurse and Family Visitor can help families to build strong, loving relationships.
- Pregnant moms or families with children up to the age of six who have questions can call to ask about the Program.
Call the Region of Peel about the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program at 905-799-7700 if you are a parent or know of a parent who has challenges with:
- Adjusting to being pregnant or having a new baby
- Bonding with their challenging baby or toddler
- Coping with stressful life events, has anxiety, depression or Post Partum Mood Disorder
- Being alone and needs help to find supportive community services
- Accepting needed help
- Dealing with drug or alcohol dependencies with interfere with parenting
- Raising a child who needs special attention, for example baby has colic, feeding issues, low birth weight or birth defects
The role of Public Health Nurses and Family Visitors
A Public Health Nurse (PHN) is a Registered Nurse who specializes in children’s health and development. Your PHN can teach you about developing healthy habits during pregnancy, and how to manage emotional and physical challenges you may face as a mother with a new baby. A PHN can also refer you to other health professionals.
A Family Visitor has experience and training to support parents with young children. Family Visitors share parenting ideas and show you games and activities to help children grow and develop. A Family Visitor shares information about community supports and how to provide a safe, secure and loving home environment for your children.
What information will the Public Health Nurse and/or Family Visitor provide?
When you are pregnant, you will learn about:
- Changes in your body
- Emotional changes
- How your baby grows
- Healthy eating and physical activity
- Labour and birth classes
- Preparing to add a baby to your life and to your family
When your baby arrives, you will receive information about:
- Healthy parent-child relationships
- Feeding your baby
- Playing with your baby
- Keeping your baby safe
- Staying physically and emotionally healthy
- Being a parent
- Resources in your community
As your child grows and develops you will learn about:
- Activities for young children
- Providing a safe, secure and loving home environment
- Parenting topics such as feeding, positive discipline, toilet learning and immunizations.
- Building your parenting support system
Your PHN/Family Visitor can also connect you to community services:
- Ontario Early Years Centres
- Settlement Services
- Child Development Services
- Child Protection Services
- Medical Services
- Financial Assistance
For more information
To find out more about the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program contact:
Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
For Information about Healthy Child Development: