As a parent your wish is to always see your baby happy and healthy. You only want the best for them. If someone’s health state depended on their parents’ desire for them to be well, no one would ever get sick. Even though there are many things out of your control, the good news is that there is a lot you can do to protect them.
Is there any way to keep my baby from getting sick?
Babies up to six months do not have a fully developed immune system yet, so it is important to be extra careful. It is essential to stay up to date with medical appointments, not only so your baby’s growth and developed is properly maintained, but also to prevent simple conditions from escalating. Many of the habits acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic can help you keep your baby from sickness. Some of the things you can do are:
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Keeping your home clean.
- Limiting the amount of people that are in close contact with your baby, especially during flu season.
- Not kissing your baby on the face or on the mouth if you or your partner is not feeling well.
- Keeping toys, pacifiers and bottles clean.
Especially when your baby is a newborn, it is important to protect them even from the weakest cold. However, the truth is you will not be able to protect them from everything forever. But do not worry, as your baby grows older and stronger, their bodies will be ready to fight what comes in their way. For that to happen, some preparation is needed. Some of the things you can do include:
- Staying up to date with vaccination. Vaccines will not only prevent your child from getting sick, but they will also protect other people in the community, especially the more vulnerable ones, including children who have not been vaccinated yet.
- Breastfeeding. If you breastfeed, your breastmilk contains important nutrients and antibodies.
- Making sure your baby is getting enough sleep.
- Establishing a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Letting your child play outside, get dirty and interact with other children. Getting exposed to certain viruses and bacteria can help build your child’s immunological memory.
- If you are smoker, avoid at all costs smoking near your child. Second hand smoke can be very harmful for their health.
Monitor for jaundice
It is always important to watch your baby closely, so you do not miss out on signs and symptoms they may show. One of the most fundamental conditions to monitor is jaundice. But what is jaundice? And why it is so important to watch out for it? Jaundice is quite common in newborns and normally appears less than a week after birth. It makes their skin, and the white part of the eyes turn yellow due to the excess of bilirubin in their blood. There are many causes to this condition, and two of the main reasons you should monitor it are:
- It can be a sign of an underlying disease.
- If treated properly it will not escalate to a severe case, and therefore, will not result in complications.
To identify jaundice, examine your baby in good lighting, by pressing gently on their nose and forehead. If you notice that the spot where you pressed is yellow, your baby probably has this condition. If it only gets a little lighter than their skin colour, it is unlikely that your baby has jaundice.
What can I do if I have identified the condition?
Jaundice can be controlled by feeding your baby, so the excess of bilirubin can be excreted quicker, and by sunbathing your baby a couple of times a day for around 20 minutes. Even though exposing your baby to sunlight is not recommended, these few minutes of sunbathing will break down the bilirubin faster. Remember that you should always talk to your health care provider to know how and when to act upon something.
There are many things you can worry about when you are a new parent. You want your baby to stay well and safe at all times. It is good to remember that you cannot control everything, but by being attentive and loving your baby, you are doing the absolute best you can do.
References: - Gordon, S. (2021, September 14). 7 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immunity. Parents. - Infant jaundice - Symptoms and causes. (2020, March 17). Mayo Clinic. - Jaundice in the Newborn | The Birth Center Holistic Women’s Health Care (2016, September 1). The Birth Center Holistic Women’s Health Care.