The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that nothing is more valuable than good health.
In times of social distancing and confinement to the house, follow these health and hygiene routines to keep your baby or toddler safe and healthy.
Breastfeeding is your superpower during this pandemic. Prioritize breastfeeding over anything else in your daily routine if you are breastfeeding. Start breastfeeding within an hour of birth and continue for as long as possible. Feed on demand for good physical and mental health.
Do not allow your fear of COVID-19 to keep you from protecting your baby from other deadly diseases. Give all vaccines according to schedule. If you have missed vaccines because of the lockdown – consult with your doctor and do a catch up.
3. Follow respiratory, hand and surface hygiene protocols
As the pandemic rages on and weeks turn into months – don’t give up on hygiene protocols..
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds as often as possible. Use a soap that lathers well.
Avoid touching your face with your hands. And never touch your baby with unwashed hands.
Clean all surfaces thoroughly with soap and water. Clean delicate surfaces that cannot be washed with an alcohol based cleaner.
Launder clothes and bedclothes frequently using hot water if possible.
Wear a mask as much as possible outside the house and inside.
4. Take care of teeth
As new teeth appear in your baby’s mouth – brush the new teeth twice a day with a rice grain sized smear of toothpaste. Dentist visits are to be avoided during the pandemic – but you can video chat with your dentist about your baby’s teeth.
5. Wean with super foods
Weaning is your golden opportunity to introduce healthy eating habits to your child and ensure life long good health and strength. Don’t miss it. Make time to take full advantage of this opportunity. Serve super foods cooked at home. That means serve fresh, natural, unprocessed, whole locally grown and seasonal food. Wean with a rainbow to ensure that your baby gets vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in adequate amounts. Eating like this from the beginning will build immunity.
6. Exercise in fresh air
Make time to take a short walk every day with your baby. When you step out, make sure you have your masks on. Carry a alcohol based sanitizer with you and clean hands frequently. Try to ensure that your baby does not touch surfaces like door knobs or staircase railings. Maintain social distancing. And wash your and baby’s hands with soap and water as soon as you come home.
Make sure both you and your baby get enough sleep. Try to sleep and wake up at regular times.
You are your baby’s world. Whenever possible hold your baby skin to skin. Look into your baby’s eyes. Talk to your baby. Knowing that you are there will keep your baby in good mental health. Also make time to talk to understanding adults virtually and get a good laugh sometimes. However, avoid overuse of devices.
Have faith. The pandemic will soon be over. Use this time to build routines that will help you keep your baby healthy and happy always.
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr. Debmita Dutta is a practicing doctor, a parenting consultant and the founder of the website WPA whatparentsask.com – She is based in Bangalore and conducts Parenting workshops at schools and corporate organizations. She also conducts prenatal classes for expecting parents and infant care classes for new parents.