Newborn Care Week: How To Protect Your Newborn Amidst The Pandemic
Newborn care week: Newborns are extremely delicate. It is important to follow all necessary precautions to safeguard the baby. Read here to know tips to keep newborns safe during the pandemic.
Breast milk provides all essential nutrients to the newborn
- Wear a mask while handling the newborn
- Breast milk can boost immunity of the baby
- Always wash your hands before touching the baby
As COVID-19 continues to spread, people are learning more about the virus and ways to protect themselves from it. While precautionary measures like washing hands regularly, sanitising one's self and surroundings and maintaining social distancing have become an integral part of the new normal, parents with small children, especially infants may be a bit more worried about protecting their newborn.
Becoming a parent is one of the most wonderful and life-changing experiences and with this feeling comes a strong sense of responsibility to protect and safeguard your child against all odds. When a baby is born, their immune system is weak and they require adequate nutrition for strong growth and a healthy foundation. This nutrition can be provided through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits and is extremely effective against infectious diseases because it helps in directly transmitting antibodies from the mother, thereby enhancing the baby's immune system. Therefore, all babies must be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. In case the mother is affected by COVID-19, she should continue breastfeeding while undertaking all the necessary precautions. The World Health Organisation recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue breastfeeding as it helps the baby fight against viruses and bacteria.
Children who are under the age group of one year appear to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as compared to older children. This is because of their weak immune system and smaller airways, which make them more likely to develop breathing issues with respiratory virus infections. Therefore, the caregivers for the baby including the medical staff in the hospital and family members once the baby comes home must follow all precautionary measures. Frequent follow ups with the paediatrician is also recommended every 14 days to monitor the baby for possible infections.
1. Make protection a priority
Many parents may be thrilled to introduce their new-born to their friends and relatives but social distancing is the best strategy to keep your baby safe from the virus.
2. Breast feeding is important
Breast feeding is mandatory for a new born as it helps to build their immunity and resistance against infections. Breastfed babies are likely to get minimally impacted by the virus. If the mother tests positive for coronavirus, she should wear a mask and continue to breastfeed the baby.
3. Consult a doctor when needed
If you wish to see a doctor for your new-born, consult him over a video call before making a trip to the hospital.
4. Follow good hygiene and sanitation
When coughing or sneezing, covering the mouth and nose is a must. Also, ensure that anyone who enters your home, mandatorily sanitises themselves before attending to the baby and wears a mask at all times. Also, follow a safe and hygienic preparation of food for your little one such as using separate chopping boards and washing your hands between handling raw and cooked food.
(Dr. Saurabh Khanna, Department of Neonatology & Paediatrics at The CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon)
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