After Baby Arrives
Safe Sleep

In partnership with Cuyahoga County’s Child Fatality Review Committee the Cleveland Department of Public Health’s MomsFirst Project provides Safe Sleep education to all participants and promotes the ABC’s of Safe Sleep campaign in the community.

Click Here, to watch a video on how your baby can sleep safely!

Sudden Infant Death Sudden Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a syndrome marked by the symptoms of sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant aged one month to one year.

Most deaths due to SIDS occur between 2 and 4 months of age, and incidence increases during cold weather. African- American infants are twice as likely and Native American infants are about three times more likely to die of SIDS than Caucasian infants.

Other potential risk factors include:
  • smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy
  • poor prenatal care
  • prematurity or low birth-weight
  • mothers younger than 20
  • tobacco smoke exposure following birth
  • overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding
  • stomach sleeping
  • sleeping with your baby
Sleeping with your baby can be dangerous because:
  • Adult beds have soft mattresses and lots of blankets, covers, and pillows
  • Young babies cannot turn over yet and cannot get themselves out of danger if their noses and mouths get covered
  • Parents of young babies can be exhausted and might not wake up or realize that their baby is in danger if his/her nose or mouth gets covered
  • Babies can get wedged between the mattress and wall or mattress and headboard
  • Parents or siblings may roll over onto the baby while asleep
  • Babies may fall off of the bed
To reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, here are some tips:
  • Place your baby on his/her back to sleep at nighttime and naptime
  • Place your baby on a firm mattress ALONE, such as in a safety approved crib, pack ‘n’ play, or bassinet
  • Remove all fluffy and loose bedding from baby’s sleep area
  • Make sure baby’s head and face stay uncovered during sleep
  • Don’t smoke before or after baby’s birth
  • Don’t let baby get too warm during sleep
  • Make sure everyone who watches baby also follows these guidelines
If you have questions regarding safe sleep environments, talk with your MomsFirst Community Health Worker or visit

Family Planning

It is never too early to think about birth control and birth spacing. Babies are healthiest when they are born at least 18 months-2 years apart. Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Click Here, to find a method that works for your lifestyle.

Ages and Stages Developmental Screening

MomsFirst provides free developmental screenings for children of program participants. The earlier a concern is identified, the more success can be seen with intervention.

If you have a child under the age of 3 and you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your MomsFirst Community Health Worker or contact Help Me Grow at (216) 698-7500 or


The benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby are incredible.

Breastfeeding benefits for baby:
  • Baby gets antibodies that protect him from colds, ear infections, allergies, and other illnesses
  • It is easier to digest than formula, so baby will have less constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • It is the ideal food with all the right ingredients
  • Holding baby against your skin helps him feel secure
Breastfeeding benefits for mom:
  • It is free and convenient – no shopping, preparation, or bottle washing
  • May help mom lose pregnancy weight
  • Helps the uterus to return to its normal size
  • May prevent breast cancer
  • Gives mom a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and helps mom bond with baby
Not all women should breastfeed. Women who are HIV positive should not breastfeed because the virus can be contracted through breast milk. If you use drugs or consume a lot of alcohol, you should avoid breastfeeding because those chemicals can pass through the breast milk to the baby.

A goal of the MomsFirst Project is to increase the number of moms that choose to breastfeed their babies. Breast for Success was created to provide additional supports for moms to overcome breastfeeding barriers and includes a new breastfeeding curriculum, access to Certified Lactation Counselor services, resources for dads and 24 hour phone support. If you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding, talk to your MomsFirst Community Health Worker or contact the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office at
(216) 778-4932

Interconceptual Care

Once you have given birth, it is important to take care of you. A few things to plan for are:
  • Attending your 6 week postpartum check-up
  • Finding and practicing a family planning method, Click Here to find the best method for you
  • Two years between pregnancies is recommended for your health and the health of your children
Family planning services are provided by Planned Parenthood and the City of Cleveland Health Centers.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead poisoning is a serious problem in the City of Cleveland. Lead poisoning prevention applies to all family members, not just children. Exposure to lead during your pregnancy can affect your baby-to-be. Lead enters the body through ingestion or inhalation.

Some effects of lead poisoning in children:
  • Nervous system (ex: cerebral palsy)
  • Growth and development (ex: delayed neuro-development (sitting up, walking)
  • Cognitive development (ex: IQ level decrease, decreased educational performance)
  • Behavior (ex: aggression, attention problems, ADD)
  • Hearing
  • Sight (ex: retinal degeneration)
  • Movement (fine motor skills)
  • Digestive system (ex: colic)
  • Anemia
  • Even death
Ways to minimize lead risk include:
  • Move out during home renovation
  • Maintain good hygiene by washing hands before eating or preparing food
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Wash hands after playing outside or touching animals
  • Wet wipe surfaces before preparing food or drinks
  • Wet mop rather than sweep
  • Wet wipe windowsills, ledges, and flat surfaces at least weekly after vacuuming
  • Use a door mat to trap lead dust
  • Leave shoes outside of door
  • Maintain a healthy diet
Learn more about lead poisoning and programs that provide lead testing for your home and family

Medical Home

Find a doctor for your baby that you will see on a regular basis. Babies have a lot of appointments, especially during the first year, and they are all very important. Ask friends or family for recommendations for a pediatrician that is close to home.


It is very important that your baby receives all of his/her immunizations. Contact your doctor to ensure that you are up to date with your baby’s shots.
Find out more about immunizations


Babies are like sponges, soaking up everything in their world. You can shape what your baby takes in everyday by singing, talking and reading. The more words your baby hears, the better his or her brain will develop. Visit your local library for more information.