In the first few days and weeks after the birth, the mother’s
body will start to heal. Her womb should get smaller and
stop bleeding. Her milk should come in. The baby should
learn to breastfeed normally and start to gain weight.
The mother and baby will still benefit from your care
after the birth. Visit them at least 2 times — the day after
the birth, and then again at least once in the following
week. If you visit even more, you may prevent more
problems. Visit every day if there are signs of problems in
the mother or baby.
What to do for the mother
Mothers need care after birth just as babies do.
Help the mother care for herself
After birth, the mother’s body is tired and her womb is open. It is easy for her to
get infected, but she can stay healthy by:
• getting plenty of rest.
• eating a variety of nutritious foods (see pages 33 to 42).
• drinking plenty of fluids.
• staying clean — washing her hands, genitals, and breasts.
In some cultures, women rest in bed with their babies for 2 weeks or more after a
birth. This is a healthy custom because it helps the mother heal, helps her and her
baby to be closer, and keeps the mother away from germs outside of her home.
If possible, the mother should not do difficult work for about 6 weeks. But she
should be sure to walk around a little each day even if she is mostly resting.
Remind the woman and her partner that they should wait until the woman
stops bleeding before they have sex. Also be sure to talk to the couple about family
planning because the woman can become pregnant again soon.