Preparation & Learning


Circumcision is the practice of removing the foreskin from the penis of infant boys. Circumcision is no longer covered by Manitoba Health as it is an optional surgery. There are no health benefits or medical reasons for routine removal of the foreskin on a newborn. In fact, the Canadian Paediatric Society does not recommend circumcision as a routine procedure for infant boys. Some people may have personal, religious or cultural reasons for wanting their newborn circumcised, though the majority of men world-wide are not circumcised. There is a very small chance that your son may have to have a circumcision later in life due to his foreskin tightening, though this is very rare. It is best to speak to your partner and health care provider or midwife about the risks of circumcision.


Breastfeeding provides you and your baby with great health benefits. Breast milk provides your baby with the perfect balance of nutrients that he needs to be healthy. It can also be more convenient and less expensive than sterilizing bottles and preparing formula.

Breastfeeding is a natural experience but that doesn't mean it's always easy. If you have breastfed before, you will know what worked for you with your last child, but remember that each baby is different and what worked well last time may not work the same way with your next child. When you first attempt to breastfeed, you may have the assistance of a midwife, nurse or lactation consultant to show you how to get your baby latched properly. You can also ask your health care provider for assistance or materials on breastfeeding.

While there isn't much you can do to prepare for breastfeeding while you're pregnant, you can learn about breastfeeding techniques, challenges and resources in advance of your child's birth.

It's always a good idea to plan ahead by learning about breastfeeding and getting a few items that might help you during the first few weeks. For example, many women find the use of a breastfeeding pillow (or regular pillow) as a support for their arm to be comfortable and helpful in preventing muscle strain.

If you do experience difficulty breastfeeding, you can contact your public health nurse or call the Breastfeeding Hotline – Info Santé nurse at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257. Remember, once established, breastfeeding can be a very pleasant experience for both you and your baby.

The Breastfeeding Hotline – In Manitoba, call 204-788-8667; toll-free 1-888-315-9257.

Baby Equipment

It's a great idea to get organized for baby's arrival now, while you're pregnant, so you have what you need for the first few months after your baby is born. Essential items include a car seat; a bassinet, cradle, or crib with a firm, flat surface for sleeping; diapers – either cloth or disposable; and clothing to keep your infant warm (not hot). There are many other items you can buy that will add convenience or help you care for your child, but these are not items that are essential to your child's healthy development.

Don't feel pressured to buy every item that is available and remember that you can purchase second-hand items from friends, family or community-area clothing and toy swaps. Be sure you check with Health Canada's Consumer Safety website before using any second-hand equipment to ensure it has not been recalled.

Likely before you leave the hospital, a nurse will check your infant in her car seat to ensure she is properly restrained. The safest place for your infant's car seat is in the middle seat of the back row. Make sure you read the car seat manual prior to installing the car seat in your vehicle. Manitoba Public Insurance has a Free Car Seat Inspection program where a professional will check your child's car seat to ensure it is installed and used properly. For more information, click the links below.

Prenatal Education

Prenatal education classes and courses are offered by regional health authorities, community-based programming, community clubs and private organizations. Prenatal education can focus on the birthing process, hospital orientations, caring for a newborn and many other topics. If you are interested, contact your local health authority, health care provider or parenting group to find out if there are classes being offered. This is a great opportunity to learn, have fun and meet other parents.