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Dec 2, 2021

How to take care of a baby’s health during a pandemic

Giving birth to your newborn during a pandemic can seem like a scary thought but thanks to the relentless efforts of doctors and nurses, it is becoming more normal with each passing day. After all, this is the day you have been waiting for ever since you saw the two pink lines on the Prega News test kit. But what about when you bring your baby home? Well, you will be glad to know that with a few precautionary measures you can take good care of your baby even during the pandemic. While all previous health advisories are still in place, taking a few extra steps can ensure that your newborn is healthy even in these current circumstances. Ways to keep the baby healthy There are some things you can do to keep your baby healthy during a pandemic - follow these easy steps to ensure a healthy and happy baby! Breastfeed your baby: Unless otherwise advised by doctors, always breastfeed your baby. Breastfed babies are less susceptible to infections and are healthier and more immune to harmful viruses.

  • Get vaccinated: After consulting your doctor, get all the recommended vaccinations for yourself and your baby. Flu shots, COVID-19 vaccine and some others are often recommended to both pregnant and new mothers.
  • Skin to skin contact: Skin contact with babies has proven to be beneficial for both mothers and babies as it helps develop the bond and also promotes healthy growth in babies.
  • Postpartum care: Your well-being directly affects your baby’s health so ensure that you indulge in good postpartum care to be your healthy self for the baby.
  • Ensure your baby gets enough sleep: Sleep is essential for everyone, more so for newborns. You can take a few measures like a good massage, setting the right temperature, soft but firm bedding etc. to ensure a good sleep for your little one. As the baby gets older, you can include bedtime routines like lullabies and warm baths to help them sleep better.
  • Schedule regular health check-ups: It’s a good idea to schedule health check-ups for you and your baby, regularly. You should also consult the pediatrician to know more about caring for your newborn. They will keep you updated on vaccinations and other measures to keep your baby safe during the pandemic. Precautions that parents need to take While you are taking care of the baby, there are some steps you can take to further ensure that your baby is not exposed to COVID-19 or other viruses:
  • Limit your bubble: Your baby’s immunity is not fully developed so it’s best to limit your social bubble to the immediate members who are staying with you. You can make use of social media and other video calling apps to introduce your newborn to friends and family.

Limit your outdoor exposure: Apart from getting exercises and running essential errands, ensure that you limit your outdoor exposure. Opt for online delivery services for groceries and baby care items and never step out without a mask.

● Maintain good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially before and after caring for your baby. Keep all surfaces clean and properly sanitize baby’s items before using them.

● Maintain 6 feet distance: If you have to interact with members outside of the household, ensure that you maintain a 6 feet distance with them.

● Know the signs and symptoms: Being aware of all the symptoms and signs of COVID-19 is helpful as you can immediately take precautions. Also, consult your doctor and pediatrician on what to expect during the first few months - to be prepared at all stages. Breastfeeding while infected with COVID-19 Breast milk has not shown any transmission of COVID-19 virus, yet, in the limited studies that have been conducted on it. So it is generally considered safe to breastfeed your baby even when you are infected. However, it’s best to consult your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician before doing so. If the doctor gives the go-ahead, you can use the following measures to keep your baby safe from COVID-19:

● Always wear a mask around the baby: Even if you are several feet away but in the same room, always wear a mask while being around the baby. As the infection spreads through the droplets during a cough or sneeze, a good quality medical mask can prevent the spread to your baby.

● Maintain good hand hygiene: Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after holding/breastfeeding your baby.

● Keep the house and baby’s room hygienic: You may not be able to use sanitizers and harsh cleaners in the baby’s room so you can use sanitizing baby-safe wipes and milder solutions to keep the baby’s room, all surfaces and things clean.

● Sleep separately: Even if you are breastfeeding at night, ensure that your baby sleeps separately in his/her cot, post feed.

● Use pumps and bottles: If you are still skeptical, you can feed pumped breast milk to your baby. Make sure you wear a mask even during pumping and sterilize the bottle and pump well. You can give the bottle to a non-infected member to feed the baby.


Can I touch and hold my baby if I have COVID-19?

Yes, contact with newborn is always encouraged from mothers as it promotes bond and health. If you have COVID-19, it’s best to wear a medical mask at all times when you are near the baby. Maintain good hygiene, wash your hands thoroughly before and after holding the baby and keep all the surfaces clean and hygienic. However, always consult your doctor before taking care of your newborn if you have COVID-19, as they will be able to give you the best way to do so.


How can parents protect newborns once they go home?

When you bring home your baby, there are some ways to protect your baby from infections and the pandemic. The first and foremost being, limiting exposure to people. It is advisable to only have members of the family or caretaker care for the baby, who are living with you in the same house. Siblings and other members who care for the baby should always maintain good hygiene - washing hands frequently, wearing masks near the baby and limiting their exposure to others. Opt for online deliveries for essentials and step out only when absolutely necessary and with masks. Always consult your doctor for best practices when it comes to caring for your newborn during the pandemic.


If mom gets COVID-19 and she’s breastfeeding, will it transfer to the baby?

Breastfeeding has not yet shown traces of transmission during COVID-19, however all precautions must be taken to protect your baby. Always consult a doctor if you have COVID-19 or have symptoms. COVID- 19 usually spreads through bodily fluids when you cough or sneeze so it’s best to maintain good respiratory masks when you are near the baby. If you are breastfeeding, always wash your hands thoroughly before and after. Maintain clean surfaces and always practice good hygiene measures. You can also try pumping your milk into a bottle and giving the bottle to a non-infected family member to feed the baby.


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