Chapter 15: The first weeks after the birth
Baby does not gain weight or grow normally
It is normal for a baby to lose weight for a few days after birth. But she should
regain her birth weight by 2 weeks and continue to gain weight steadily. A baby
who does not gain weight or grow enough may not be getting enough milk. She
may also have an infection, diarrhea, or another health problem.
Watch how often the baby breastfeeds. The mother should feed the baby
whenever he wants, for as long as he wants — at least every 2 or 3 hours for at least
20 minutes, until the breast is empty. If the baby does not try to breastfeed often,
she may be very sick. Take her to a medical center right away.
Watch the mother’s health. If the mother is ill or not getting enough good food
or fluids, she may not make enough milk. Encourage the family to care for the
mother and give her extra food.
See Chapter 16 to learn more about breastfeeding. If the baby just does not
grow, get medical advice.
Baby “shoots” vomit
Most babies spit up (vomit a small amount). Usually, the vomit dribbles out of the
baby’s mouth, especially after eating.
If vomit “shoots” forcefully out of the baby’s
mouth each time she eats, she may have an infection
or something blocking milk from moving through
her body. Get medical advice.
Immunizations (vaccines) protect children from many
dangerous diseases. The most important vaccines for young
babies are DPT (for diphtheria, whooping cough and
tetanus), polio, hepatitis B, Hib (for Haemophilus
influenza), PCV (pnuemococcal vaccine), RV (rotavirus), and
BCG (for tuberculosis). Each country has its own schedule for
giving these vaccines and they are usually free. Most vaccines
are started when a baby is about 2 months old. Encourage
the mother to take the baby to the nearest health center.
If the mother has HIV
Giving ART medicines will protect a baby from becoming infected with HIV if his
mother has HIV. This medicine should be started within 72 hours after the baby
is born. See page 495 for more information. When the baby is 6 weeks old, he
should also start taking a medicine called cotrimoxazole to prevent infections.
See page 478.
A Book for Midwives (2010)