Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:29 AM
Before you read this blog entry, I suggest that you click on "Info for Montreal parents" at the top of this page; all the info from this page is there as well, and I update it when I find new information.
I've noticed that I get hits on this blog when people are trying to find information about giving birth in Montreal on google. I don't know how useful the information here is, since I've only given birth at one hospital and I've only shared my experience there. I've decided to do an information post about this and other things that might be helpful.
My local CLSC was a wonderful source of support when I had a newborn infant. A nurse came during the first week to weigh the baby and to ask me questions so she could assess what kind of help I would need. After her visit, I went to see her at the CLSC a few times so she could continue to weigh the baby and continue to help me.
One of the things that I needed help with was breastfeeding. The nurse did her best to help me improve my latch, and when I was still having difficulty, she gave me a list of lactation consultants and circled the ones who were able to speak English. The fees for lactation consultants aren't covered by the CLSC, but it's nice to be handed a list with a few specific recommendations so that you don't have to try to find one on your own. The CLSC also has a breastfeeding meeting once very two weeks. There's a nurse who runs it who can answer questions and you can also meet other breastfeeding moms.
The CLSC also set me up with an auxiliary nurse who would come to my apartment once a week for three hours to help out with the baby. While she was there, I was free to do whatever I wanted. I could do laundry, take a shower, etc. My son also gets his vaccinations for free at the CLSC. We were very lucky to find a pediatrician, but if we hadn't, we would have been able to take him to the family doctor at the CLSC too.
You can find your local CLSC by entering your postal code here. You can also contact the nurse's hotline by dialing 811.
Quebec's $7 a day daycares are nice if you can get into one. You can search for daycares here, but make sure you put your name on as many waiting lists as you can as soon as possible; my son is on one waiting list that is four years long! The shortest one that he's on is a two year waiting list.
If you can't get your child into a subsidized $7 a day daycare and you have to use alternate child care, you can file for a child care tax credit.
If you like the idea of using cloth diapers but you're daunted by all the laundry that you would have to do, then check out Baby Auric diaper service. They come to your place once a week to pick up your soiled diapers and bring you clean ones.
It costs $25 a week for the first six months and $20 a week after that. You also have to buy a diaper pail and diaper covers, which you can purchase from them, but you can sell these things back to them if they're in good condition. They sometimes have used diaper covers that you can buy from them for a lower price. When I did my calculations, I figured that it ended up costing around the same amount as buying disposable diapers.
A representative comes to visit you before you start the service to show you how to use the diapers and they also sell other natural baby products.
When you're looking after a baby full time, it's good to get out and do something. A mom and baby exercise class is a good option for doing something that makes you feel good while meeting other moms. I had good experiences with Cardio Plein Air and Yogaspace.
Cardio Plein Air is an exercise class that is held outside in various parks in Montreal. They have a mom and baby class where you can exercise while pushing your little one in a stroller (sleds are used in the winter.) It's good, vigorous exercise, and I would fondly refer to the class as "mom and baby boot camp."
Yogaspace offers pregnancy yoga and mom and baby yoga. The instructor, Clearlight, is just awesome. I didn't take the pregnancy class, but the mom and baby class is laid back with mothers frequently stopping to breastfeed. It's a good way to strengthen your core after giving birth.
From Tiny Tot to Toddler
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Babies don't come with a manual?" Well, in Quebec they do! A book called From Tiny Tot to Toddler is given to everyone in Quebec who will be giving birth to or adopting a baby. This book provides a lot of information, including information about breastfeeding, starting solids, and government services that are available.
Hospitals and birthing centres
As I said before, I've only given birth at one hospital so I can only tell you about what I experienced there and what I've heard from other people. The Royal Victoria Hospital has a reputation for being very good with high risk pregnancies and births. I know somebody who planned on having a birth with a midwife but ended up having a high risk birth and was rushed to the Royal Vic. From what I understand, they handled her situation very well even though she hadn't been going there for her prenatal care. I, on the other hand, had a very low risk pregnancy and had a different experience.
I've heard good things about the birthing centre at LaSalle Hospital. They're natural birth friendly; they have jacuzzis and you can bring a midwife.
If you would like to have a midwife, you can contact the Maison de Naissance which is affiliated with the CLSC in Côte-des-Neiges.
You can also ask your local CLSC for a list of hospitals with maternity wards.
We have it pretty good here when it comes to parental leave. There's maternity leave for the mother, paternity leave for the father, and parental leave can be for either of the parents or shared. There is also adoption leave. Everything you need to know can be found here.
I don't have very much advice to offer about finding a pediatrician, I'm afraid. My ex found our pediatrician and it was really just luck. The hospital where you're giving birth will have a list, and then it's a matter of calling all of them and finding out if any of them are taking new patients. If you can't find a pediatrician, you can still bring your child to a doctor at the CLSC for a check up.
I took a child birth class and infant CPR class with Bientôt Bébé at the Royal Vic. I thought that the instructor was fun and great. The child birth class had a bit of a natural birth slant, which didn't mesh with my actual birthing experience, but it still helped me feel prepared.
The CLSC also offers prenatal classes.