For Parents

Parenting or raising a child promotes and supports physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual development. Being a parent comes with a share of challenges and achievements. Five positive parenting skills are to be encouraging, responsive, set positive examples, create boundaries, and be interactive.

The following tips can help parents and loved ones bond with the baby and gain the support that is needed through this new journey.     

Skin to skin contact is very important when the baby is born. Skin to skin can help with baby’s sleeping, body temperature, and mood. Speak to your partner’s doctor, midwife, or nurse about skin to skin contact with the baby right after birth. 
Massage is a great way to form a strong emotional bond with baby.  A massage can last 10-30 minutes depending on baby’s mood. Other benefits of massage may include:

  • Soothes baby to sleep
  • Calms baby when fussy
  • Helps ease tummy troubles
  • Helps build good muscle tone
  • Enhances body awareness

Baby massage tips and techniques:

  • Lay your baby down so they can see your face
  • Using a little oil in your fingertips, gently massage or rub baby’s tummy, head and face, chest, arms, legs, and back. * If you use oil, use one that can be eaten such as coconut, corn or olive.
  • Make strokes gentle but firm, not ticklish
  • Add massage into your baby’s daily schedule
  • Follow baby’s signals about when to stop  

How a partner can help support breastfeeding:

  • Wash the breast pump and accessories 
  • Make them feel comfortable 
  • Bring the baby over when it’s time to feed
  • Prepare a meal for your partner

If you or your partner are feeling sad, overwhelmed, or worried contact the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1.833.852.6262 to speak to a counselor (TTY users dial 711 and then 1.833.852.6262). It is a free hotline. If you are a L.A. Care member you can also contact Carelon Behavioral Health at 1.877.344.2858 to get a referral. 

Join a parenting support group. 

  • Expecting Fathers Group for Black Dads - This group will teach you how to advocate for yourself and your partner, what to expect during your partners pregnancy, and how your involvement can lead to a more healthy and joyous birth for both your baby and your pregnant partner. (L.A. County Public Health)
  • Black Daddy Dialogue Social Support Group - An open forum, drop-in platform for expectant, new and experienced fathers that propels their proactive engagement in their children’s and partners lives. The group creates a safe space for growth, feeding the mind, body and spirit of fathers as they raise their children and support their partners. (L.A. County Public Health)

Please visit the fatherhood page at the Black Infants & Families website for more information on both support groups. 

Love, Dad offers home visitation to fathers and their young children throughout Los Angeles County. These visits focus on: 

  • Building the father-child attachment 
  • Growing paternal competence and confidence
  • Supporting co-parenting
  • Reducing paternal stress

Smoking while pregnant can increase the risk of birth defects, having a miscarriage, or having a baby too early. Smoking around young children can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), learning problems, and illnesses such as ear infections, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis. If your partner, friend, or family member needs help to stop smoking, you can help! You can watch the How to Help Someone Quit Smoking video from Kick It California in English or Spanish.