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Supporting new parents: Analyzing the effectiveness of the healthy families, healthy babies home visiting program

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Apr 24, 2023

Category: DataNB

Life can be stressful; this is something most New Brunswickers have experienced at one point or another. The rising cost of living, the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty about the future are just a few of the factors making life more challenging than it needs to be.

Now imagine the added pressure of starting a new family, including being pregnant for the first time, learning to breastfeed, and supporting an infant’s health and nutrition; these are some of the added stressors that new parents have to take on.

The Healthy Families, Healthy Babies home visiting program in New Brunswick provides first-time families with support to help them through the first two years after birth, and researchers at NB-IRDT have been working hard to gain insight into how being involved with the postnatal visiting component of this public health program affects participants’ health and childhood development.

In a recently released report, NB-IRDT researchers analyze the effectiveness of postnatal visits for qualifying families, including breastfeeding support and resource referrals.

They compare outcomes of children who received postnatal home visits to those who did not to determine whether participating in the Healthy Families, Healthy Babies program influenced the duration of breastfeeding and whether children experienced developmental concerns at 18 months and before entering kindergarten.

Because longer periods of breastfeeding have been linked to improved health outcomes, and early childhood development is associated with better academic and employment outcomes in the long run, examining breastfeeding and child development outcomes in participants helps us understand this program's short- and long-term effects on New Brunswick families.

Ongoing research at NB-IRDT is examining another aspect of the Healthy Families, Healthy Babies program: prenatal services for pregnant families. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when these results are available.