Care for the baby after birth
Shortly after birth
- Your baby is weighed and measured.
- Care is given to the baby’s belly button.
- The doctor checks the baby’s respiration, skin colour, muscle tension, heartbeat and reaction to stimuli.
- The baby is dressed or wrapped in a blanket.
- You or your partner can hold the baby. After a surgical delivery (caesarean section) the baby is given to your partner.
- The midwife helps you breast-feed the baby for the first time about 1 hour after birth. If you had a caesarean section, the baby may feed several hours later.
- You are washed and taken to your room together with your baby. You and your baby can stay in the hospital for several days and be cared for if you want to. In many hospitals, your partner can also stay there at night. Or you can choose to go home with the baby a few hours after delivery, if there are no medical problems.
The following weeks
- A few days after birth, the doctor thoroughly examines your baby. The doctor checks its heart and lungs, body, spine, reflexes, hips and eyes.
- For up to 5 days after birth, your baby may lose weight. This is normal.
- In the first week the baby is tested for rare metabolic diseases. The doctor or nurse takes some blood.
- After about 8 weeks, the baby will get several vaccines, for example against polio.
More information or help needed?
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Community health centre (wijkgezondheidscentrum)
You can visit a family doctor in a community health centre. Other care professionals such as nurses and social workers also work at community health centres. Care is provided free of charge. Find a community health centre in your neighbourhood:
CAW - Centrum Algemeen Welzijn
Centre for general well-being - Help with all kinds of issues: a difficult relationship, medical, financial, administrative, legal or material problems, family problems,... CAWs also provide assistance to victims of violence and abuse. Find a CAW in your neighbourhood:
Prenatal and postnatal care for women who migrated to Belgium
02 535 47 13
Kind en Gezin
Assistance to (prospective) parents with information, practical tips and medical follow-up until the child is 3 years of age. Services are for free.
078 150 100
A midwife helps pregnant women before, during and after delivery. Find a midwife in your neighbourhood:
Free social and medical monitoring during pregnancy and monitoring of the child. ONE works throughout French-speaking Belgium. Contact the local ONE branch: