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Caring for Mom & Baby After Discharge


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HAND WASHING is the best way to stop the spread of germs that cause illness and infection. Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand wash. Everyone must wash their hands before and after caring for you and your baby. ​

Caring For Mom

  • Sleep and periods of rest are important for healing.
  • Set visiting guidelines for your family and friends, and ask them to help with chores and household needs​

Vaginal Flow

  • You will have bleeding and discharge from your vagina for up to 6 weeks after giving birth. Use sanitary pads, not tampons. Change the pads often.
  • Over time, the amount of bleeding will become less and will stop. The colour of the blood will change from red to pink to brown.

Your Perineum

  • The area between your vagina and rectum (perineum) may be swollen, bruised and painful after vaginal birth. You may have stitches if you had a tear or episiotomy. The stitches will dissolve on their own within a week or two.
  • To prevent infection, keep this area clean. Shower daily.  Use the squirt bottle every time you pee or poo.

Your Breasts

Your breasts will feel full, firm and tender 1 to 3 days after baby’s birth. It will help to breastfeed or pump often. This will also help bring your milk in.

Pain Control

  • Take pain medication as directed by your doctor or midwife.
  • For perineum or hemorrhoid pain, use an ice pack for a few minutes at a time.
  • For tender nipples, use a warm or cold compress for 5-10 minutes before or after feedings.
  • For gas pain, use a warm blanket and walk around.​


Some medications that you may need to take:​​
Drug Name
Use for
Ibuprofen (Advil)

Follow the directions on the bottle/label
Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
PEG (PolyEthylene Glycol)
Stool Softener

After Caesarean Section

  • Remove the steri-strips on your incision after 7 days.
  • Keep your incision clean and dry. Gently pat your incision dry after a shower.
  • Move around as much as possible.
  • Take it slow and avoid strenuous activities. Avoid carrying anything heavier than your newborn for several weeks.

Your Feelings

25% of moms experience perinatal mood disorders (PMD) such as baby blues, depression and anxiety, and postpartum psychosis.

It is helpful to talk about your feelings with your partner, family, friends, and health care providers.

Baby Blues

  • 7 in 10 new moms feel “blue” within the first 2 weeks after giving birth.  These feelings go away.
  • Symptoms: crying, feeling sad, irritable, tired, trouble concentrating, and trouble sleeping.
Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

  • 1 in 7 new moms experience depression and anxiety for up to a year after giving birth. 
  • Symptoms: feeling overwhelmed and anxious, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, loss of appetite, difficulty bonding with your baby, constantly worrying about your baby, feeling out of control, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby* (*notify your doctor immediately).
If these feeling worsen or do not go away, call your doctor or​ midwife.

Postpartum Psychosis

  • 1 in 1000 new moms experience psychosis after giving birth. 
  • Symptoms: hearing or seeing things that are not there, believing people or things will harm you and baby, feeling out of touch with reality or confused, and thinking of committing suicide or hurting your baby.
Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.​

Health Concerns for Mom 

If you experience any one of the following symptoms, it is important to call your doctor or midwife immediately. DO NOT WAIT for your next appointment. If you are unable to reach a care provider, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. 

  • Your temperature is 38⁰ C (100⁰ F) or higher 
  • You have pain, redness or swelling in the area between your vagina and rectum that is getting worse. 
  • The discharge from your vagina starts to have a foul odour. 
  • You have the urge to pass urine all the time. 
  • You have trouble passing urine and it is painful. 
  • Your usual pattern of bowel movement has not returned in 2-3 days after a vaginal birth or 3-5 days after a cesarean birth. 
  • For caesarean births, the pain in your incision that does not get better with medication, or your incision is bleeding, draining or opening. 
  • If you have heavy vaginal bleeding, where you need to change your pad every 5-15 minutes, go to the emergency room. 


  • If your nipples are cracked or bleeding, breastfeeding is painful, or you need breastfeeding help, please contact Peel Public Health’s Breastfeeding Clinic at (905) 799-7700 or Telehealth Ontario. 

 Other Concerns 

  • You are unable to care for yourself or your baby. 
  •  You have pain or tenderness in your leg (calf) with swelling, redness or warmth. 
  •  You have trouble breathing or you have chest pain. 
  •  You have fainting or dizziness for more than a few seconds. 

For emergencies, go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911! 

Caring For Baby

When Babies Cry

  • Healthy babies cry. It is the way they express their needs.
  • Crying usually occurs more in the late afternoon or evening.
Why Do Babies Cry?

  • Hunger
  • Need to be close to people
  • Discomfort – too hot or too cold
  • Tired
  • Dirty diaper​

Never Shake your Baby!
A baby has weak neck muscles and a large heavy head. Shaking makes the brain move back and forth in the skull and may cause brain damage or death.

Ways to Sooth Your Baby

  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Feed and burp your baby
  • Change your baby’s diaper
  • Hold your baby (walk, rock in a rocker, massage your baby’s back)
  • Go for a walk or car ride
  • Play soft music, sing, and dance gently with baby in your arms

The Second Night​​

After the first day, expect your baby to always want to be skin-to-skin or breastfeed very often. Babies just want to be near their mothers and this is nature’s way of getting breastfeeding started. The “Second Night” stage can last for up to 48 hours.

Feeding Your Baby

Bathing Baby

  • You don’t need to bathe your baby every day.
  • A warm wash cloth will help to keep baby clean between baths.
  • Wash hands and face often and thoroughly clean the genital area after each diaper change.
  • When bathing, use mild and unscented soap. Rinse well to prevent irritation. Pat your baby completely dry with a soft towel.

Umbilical Cord Care

The cord will have started to dry and should fall off within 1-2 weeks. Until then, you should keep it clean and dry. Water is all you need to clean it each day. Keep baby’s diaper from rubbing the area by folding it over.

Contact your doctor if the umbilical cord appears red and swollen, oozes yellow pus, has foul smelling discharge, or bleeds.

Baby’s Safety

  • Car Seat Safety: by law, the driver is responsible to ensure that all babies and children are properly secured in an approved car seat. For more information visit the ”Parachute” website:​
  • Prevent Falls: never leave your baby unattended on a bed, couch or other surface.
  • Do not expose your baby to tobacco smoke.
  • Infant CPR and First Aid: Parents and caregivers are encouraged to learn from a qualified instructor in the community.
  • Supervised daily Tummy Time for your baby will strengthen their neck and back, and help prevent the formation of a flat head.

Health Concerns for Baby 

For any of these problems, it is important to call your baby’s doctor or midwife immediately. DO NOT WAIT for your baby’s next appointment. If you are unable to reach a care provider, take your baby to the nearest urgent care or hospital emergency room immediately. 


  • Baby does not want to eat – refuses 2 feedings in a row. 
  • Baby is feeding less than 8-12 times in 24 hours. 
  • Baby vomits 2 entire feedings in a row (The amount of vomit is about the same as the amount he/she ate). 
  • Baby’s vomit is green in colour. 

Pees & Poos 

  • Baby has fewer wet or dirty diapers than expected for his/her age (see the diaper chart in the “Getting Breastfeeding Started” booklet). 
  • Baby has bowel movements that are fully black and tarry after 3 days of age. Bowel movements should change colour from black to green/yellow by day 3-5. 
  • Baby has bloody bowel movements. 


  • Baby has a temperature 38.0 C or above. (Forehead thermometers are not recommended). 
  • Baby has a weak cry, looks pale or tired, and is not feeding well. 


  • Baby’s skin looks yellow or is becoming more yellow. 
  • The whites of your baby’s eyes become yellow. 
  • Your baby seems sleepy and is hard to wake. 
  • Your baby is becoming fussy all the time without quiet content periods. 

For emergencies, go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911!​​