COVID-19 FAQs for New Parents - Community Nutrition Program

Public Health Nursing continues to offer supports for new moms and babies as part of their essential service delivery. However, some services may be provided in a slightly different way during COVID-19. We recognize in-person care is preferred, but to protect the health and safety of babies and mothers and respond to health care systems demands related to the pandemic, it has been necessary to change service delivery for some programs. 

Some services may be provided by telephone, virtual care, or in-person appointments. 

What happens after I leave the hospital? Do I still get to see a Public Health Nurse after I leave the hospital?

  • All new mothers and families continue to be contacted by a public health nurse within 24-48 hrs of discharge from hospital. This includes weekends and holidays.
  • The nurse will ask questions to help determine how things are going after you are discharged from hospital. This may include but not limited to things such as the amount or frequency of feedings, how your baby responds to feedings, other behaviours you may notice with your baby, and how you are managing with a new baby in your home. The nurse will use this information to offer additional information or support as needed. 
  • All families will be offered an in-person assessment which may include a home visit or office visit based on individual needs. Information packages will be provided to you by the public health nursing office. 
  • Parents can speak with a public health nurse by calling their local Public Health Nursing office if concerns/questions arise.

Public Health Nursing Services for New Families

  • Families continue to be seen by Public Health Nursing for immunizations as per the PEI Immunization schedule (2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years of age).  
  • Public Health Nursing is continuously looking at ways to offer services to our families during this time. At this time, we continue to offer the following services: 
    • Developmental and Nutritional screening for children 18 months and 4 years of age. Packages will be mailed out to families that include the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and NutriSTEP questionnaire (screen for nutrition risk). These tools can be completed and returned to Public Health Nursing office, a nurse and/or community dietitian will review and call parents to discuss the information provided.  
    • Full assessment for infants at their 2 months of age visit. This appointment may include but not limited to growth monitoring, postpartum depression screening for new mothers, vision/hearing screening, information about various health topics and immunization.  
    • Families will be offered the opportunity to have their child weighed/measured at specific ages while attending their immunization appointment. This growth monitoring will be completed by a Community Dietitian or Public Health Nurse.
    • Screening for the Best Start Program is offered by Public Health Nursing. 
Many resources are available at Public Health Nursing.

What do I do if my baby is having challenges? Is there support available?

  • Public Health Nurses can help answer your questions – they may be able to provide support in a variety of ways (telephone, virtual care, or in-person). Please contact your local Public Health Nursing office to speak with a Public Health Nurse. 
    • Souris 902-687-7049
    • Montague 902-838-0762
    • Charlottetown 902-368-4532
    • Summerside 902-888-8160
    • Wellington 902-854-7259
    • O’Leary 902-859-8720
  • Community Dietitians are available to answer questions on healthy eating for mothers or children. You can speak to a Registered Dietitian by calling our toll free number at 1-844-887-0320 or by emailing publichealthnutrition@gov.pe.ca 
  • If you or your baby doesn’t have a family physician or nurse practitioner and you have concerns or questions, you can speak with a Public Health Nurse by calling your local Public Health Nursing office: 

I’ve been having challenges with breastfeeding. What supports are available to assist me?

  • Public Health Nurses have the knowledge to assist you with your breastfeeding needs and have access to Community Lactation Consultants when necessary.
  • Community Lactation consultants continue to offer support throughout the pandemic to families that are experiencing challenges with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants are able to connect with families via telephone, virtual care, or in-person appointments.
  • Lactation consultants will ask questions about your situation and the challenges you are facing. This assists them when providing information and suggestions to you. To speak with a lactation consultant, talk to your Public Health Nurse or call your local Public Health Nursing office. 

Are there still supports available through the Community Nutrition Program? 

  • Services are currently being provided by phone and through videoconferencing. In-home visiting and in-office appointments may be considered appropriate by the dietitian.
  • Nutrition assessment and counselling is available to help promote a healthy pregnancy. This is done over the phone or by by video conference, and in some instances in-home or in-office visits may be necessary. 
  • Nutrition advice on healthy eating for new mothers and guidance on infant feeding is also available over the phone or through video conference, and in some instances in-home or in-office visits may be necessary. 
  • The Milk Ticket Program is available for some pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers up to 6 months post-partum who experience financial challenges. This program provides 1 litre of milk per day for the duration of the program to eligible pregnant and postpartum women.
  • Parents can speak to a registered dietitian or can self-refer by calling our toll free number at 1-844-887-0320 or by emailing publichealthnutrition@gov.pe.ca
There are also many resources available at Community Nutrition Program.

Information about Prenatal Classes/Education through Public Health Nursing

  • Public Health Nursing is currently not offering group prenatal classes. This is due to limitations for physical distancing and gathering in numbers, as well as the need to shift some of our staff resources to respond to COVID-19 responsibilities. 
  • If you are looking for information about your pregnancy, we may be able to answer your questions on an individual basis and provide information in written materials or electronically. You can speak to a public health nurse by contacting your local public health office. 
  • Some Family Resource Centres may be offering some prenatal sessions – check with your local family resource centre to see what services may be offered.
For a list of centres in PEI, visit Family Resource Centres.

Is there someone I can contact if I have concerns about my own health while I am taking care of my family?

With all of this stress and fear about COVID-19, I’m afraid I’m not properly bonding with my baby. This is my first baby, so I don’t know what’s normal and what isn’t.  Is there anyone to talk to?

  • Pregnancy and life with a new baby may not always be what you expect. Pregnancy, the birth of a baby, or an adoption brings physical, emotional and social changes. Adjustments to the new roles and relationships are not always easy. It can be a time of emotional change and transition for new parents, their partners and families. 
  • There is help for you and your family:
Published date: 
August 31, 2021
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Health PEI
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Phone: 902-368-6130
Fax: 902-368-6136

healthpei@gov.pe.ca

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If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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