Caring for the Mother and Baby after Bir th 95
Caring for the mother just after the birth
Encourage the mother to breastfeed her baby, which will help her
to stop bleeding sooner. Also:
• Feel the top of the mother’s womb. It should be hard and
rounded, at about the level of her navel. If the womb feels soft, ask
the mother to pass urine, then rub her womb until it gets hard. Keep
checking the womb to see if it gets soft again. Check for bleeding.
Teach the mother how to feel her womb and rub it if it gets soft.
• Look at the mother’s vagina. If she has a long, deep tear, or a
tear that will not stop bleeding, she should have it stitched by
someone who knows how.
• Give her plenty to drink and eat if she is hungry.
Make sure the mother knows that breastfeeding is the best
food for her baby. Keep the baby with the mother so it can suck
the breast and stay warm. Encourage the mother to keep the baby
warm and clean and to let it suckle as often as it likes.
Babies often have a little yellowish mucus coming from their eyes
in the first weeks after birth. You can wash out the eyes with breast
milk or cool, boiled water and a clean cloth. If the baby’s eyes get
red, swollen, and have a lot of pus in them, see a health worker.
If the mother has HIV, giving HIV medicines to the baby after
birth can protect the baby from becoming infected (see page 520).
Care of the cord
Keep the cord stump on the baby clean and dry. If possible, clean
it with alcohol and a clean cloth with every diaper (nappy) change. It
will turn black and fall off during the first week. You do not need to
cover it with anything unless there are flies or dust. Then you can use
a very clean piece of gauze or cloth to cover it loosely.
If you notice redness or pus around the cord, the baby may have
an infection. The baby should be seen by a health worker and be
given antibiotics right away.
Tetanus of the newborn
Danger signs of tetanus in the newborn
• baby cries all
• baby cannot
suckle the breast • fast breathing
• baby’s body
What to do:
Take the baby to a health center or hospital right away.
If the hospital is more than 2 hours away and you know how, first
inject the baby with 100,000 Units of benzylpenicillin.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012