Care of the baby in the hospital

Care of the baby after normal delivery

The baby will be weighed and measured as well as identified in the mother’s presence in the delivery room. The mother and the midwife then co-sign the baby’s record.

If the mother is going to breast-feed and depending on the condition of both mother and baby, the mother will be assisted in latching the baby onto her breast. The parents will be left to bond with the baby for a while. (The mother is advised not to be discouraged, if her baby does not latch immediately.) 


The baby will then be taken to the baby-room where it will be tended to by the neonatal unit staff. It might be put into an incubator to warm up or to be observed for some reason. As soon as the baby’s condition is satisfactory, it will be bathed and brought to the mother. The baby will spend the first night in the baby-room unless the mother wants the baby with her.

Care of the baby after caesarean section

he baby is identified in theatre in the presence of the paediatrician and the baby’s father / birthing partner who will co-sign the baby’s record with the midwife.

If the mother is awake, the baby will be shown to her and then placed in an incubator and taken to the baby-room. (Dad normally accompanies the midwife and the baby) The baby is weighed and measured in the nursery and handed over to the staff in the nursery.

A stomach washout will be done as prescribed by the doctor and the baby’s vital data will be monitored for + 4 hours. Once the staff members are satisfied with baby’s condition, it is bathed and brought to the mother. If the mother is going to breast-feed she will be assisted in latching the baby onto her breast.

N.B: Because the hospital has a rooming-in system, the baby will only spend the first two nights in the baby room.

Baby in neonatal ICU

If, for some reason, the baby develops a problem requiring special care, it will be taken to the neonatal ICU adjacent to the baby-room. If the mother is immobile e.g. after a caesarean section or spinal anaesthesia, she will be informed of her baby’s progress by the paediatrician and staff. She will be taken to her baby as soon as possible – normally the following morning.

N.B:The only visitors allowed in neonates are the baby’s mother and father or the birthing partner.

Baby's first bath

New dads normally love being part of the first bathing experience, an ideal opportunity for photos and videos. (Parents should remember, however, that no video cameras are allowed in the delivery room or theatres).

Feeding the baby

While in hospital, breast-fed babies are fed on demand every 2 to 4 hours and bottle-fed babies 3 to 4 hourly according to their weight. Babies should not be left without a feed for longer than 4 hours. If a baby has not fed for 4 hours, the mother should wake the baby for a feed by e.g. uncovering it or changing its nappy.

The mother is encouraged to ask for help if her baby does not want to drink or latch. The maternity ward staff members (not the baby room staff) are trained to assist new mothers in breast-feeding and bottle feeding techniques and can be approached at any time to provide assistance in this regard. Mothers are encouraged to request assistance regarding any aspect of the feeding process.

The staff will show the mother how and where to record the baby’s feeds.

Supplement bottle feeds are made daily and kept in a fridge in the maternity ward.

Baby weighing

The baby will be weighed every morning. The baby should be undressed this time, except for its vest and nappy and wrapped in a receiving blanket.

Baby chord care

It is extremely important to clean the baby’s cord after every bath and with every nappy change.

The staff will demonstrate the technique to the new mother. If she is unsure of how to clean the cord properly, she is welcome to ask the staff member to repeat the demonstration.

Baby bath

The mother is encouraged to bath her baby at the same time at which she plans to bath the baby once they get home.

Bath demonstrations are normally given in the baby-room at 13:30 each day but these times can be changed to suit the mothers and babies if an arrangement is made with the staff beforehand.

Baby nappy change

Mothers are requested to use the change area in the ward to change their babies’ nappies.

A staff member will explain the procedure if necessary. Cotton-wool balls can be used or wet wipes if preferred.

The soiled nappy should be neatly folded and secured with the sticky strips. It should then be discarded in the bin provided in the room and not in the wastepaper bin next to the bed.

Baby safety tips

The new mother is advised

  • To read and sign the baby safety protocol on admission
  • Not to remove the baby’s ID bands. (She should compare the baby’s ID bands with her own)
  • Not to turn her back on the baby when it is lying on a surface from which it can roll.
  • Not walk around with the baby in her arms but to push the baby in its crib.
  • Never to hand the baby to someone whom she does not know and to ask staff members to identify themselves if she does not know them.
  • Never to leave her baby unattended. If she has to go to the toilet or bathroom, she should leave the baby under supervision in the baby-room. She must, however, remember to inform baby-room staff if she leaves her baby there and not leave it there unattended.