What to do for the baby
Baby has signs of dehydration
If the baby is not breastfed enough, if she has diarrhea or vomits, or if she has a
fever, she can become dehydrated. Dehydration happens when there is not enough
water in the body. It is very dangerous, and can kill a baby.
Signs of dehydration:
• sunken soft spot
• sunken eyes
• dry mouth or cracked lips
• urinating less than 4 times a day
• dark-colored urine
• fast pulse and breathing
• skin that is not stretchy
To check the stretchiness of the skin,
pinch the skin on your own arm and let
it go. Watch how quickly it goes back to
normal. Now pinch the skin on the
baby’s belly and let it go. If the baby’s
skin goes back to normal more slowly
than yours did, she is dehydrated.
To help a dehydrated baby
Encourage the mother to breastfeed often — every 1 to 2 hours. Also give the baby
rehydration drink (see page 160) — a few drops each minute until the baby is
Dehydration can be caused by infection (see pages 277 to 279). If the baby is
not better in 4 hours, get medical help.
Bottle-feeding causes dehydration
A common cause of diarrhea and dehydration
is giving formula to a baby. If possible, the
mother should breastfeed. If she cannot
breastfeed, the family must use clean water
and the correct amount of formula powder.
Bottles and nipples must be boiled to be safe.
See page 281 to learn more about formula.
A Book for Midwives (2010)