The health of the baby is one of the most outstanding concerns for the expectant mother. Having a baby is her crowning glory. To the woman, this is the end all that measures her femininity to the world. She wants to have a baby; this child is to be healthy and normal in every aspect. Yet, she is likely to know that her baby’s health depends on her health. It also depends on how she executes her responsibilities as a mother.
In my area of work, I have seen and felt the anxieties of women in pregnancy. In some cases, the anxiety started even before conception. Many questions are asked before conception and during pregnancy. One can imagine the “what ifs” and the “how can I know if” and “what will be done if?” Even though all questions cannot be answered, some of these major concerns will be summed up.
The baby’s health depends on the mother’s health, quality of life, her antenatal care, her response to this care and environmental factors. In other words, the baby is under the health care of mommy’s health and her health care providers and other factors. However, this focus will address baby’s health after delivery.
At delivery, the Midwife or doctor will make every effort to ensure a safe landing for mother and baby. Inventory of a safe delivery will be taken. In this, any abnormalities will be checked and noted for referral to the paediatrician. Then the little traveller will be taken care of and probably goes to sleep.
The birth attendant will see to it that baby is put on the breast at the earliest possible time. Even though, mommy is tired after labour. This aspect is important for baby and mother. This ensures that bonding between mother and child will be achieved. In addition, there is the powerhouse of nutrients waiting to be fed to the baby from mother’s breast. (See breastfeeding, food and nutrition) Breastfeeding will cause the contraction of the uterus and ensures the womb to get back to its normal size as early as possible.
After delivery, it is interesting to note that the baby has nothing to do but sleep, suck and cry. The newborn baby emphasizes relaxation by sleeping or staying awake and peering through widely opened or half closed eyes. As the baby gets older it will move its head from side to side, watching mommy or any other moving object(s).
Below are some tips to ensure baby’s health and well-being.
- Facilitate baby in breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery.
- Feed baby exclusively from the breast for six months.
It cannot be over emphasized that, a well-balanced meal is very important to the pregnant and nursing mother. Babies must be fed with breast milk from birth to six months old. There is no need to give the baby water or anything else since water is adequately contained in breast milk for the baby. It is packed and package with all the necessary nutrients to fight against diseases. It provides the baby with antibodies thus building baby’s immune system.
A breastfed baby is a well-fed baby. A baby that is exclusively breastfed for at least five months by a healthy mother has super ability to fight against diseases even after the period of exclusive feeding.
Breastmilk encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines and fights against hostile bacteria that could cause illness. Babies that are exclusively breastfed are less likely to develop ear infection and diseases such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Breastfeeding puts up a standard against adolescence and adulthood obesity, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Breastfed babies are less likely to have these, other diseases, including allergies. (Research findings)
Human milk is for human babies. It is believed that babies that have been breastfed for longer than six months, it is said, do very well academically. Breastfeeding also sets the way for good dental health.
I am convinced that daddy will support mommy well in her breastfeeding responsibility. I say that to say this, that after a rough day with baby and other duties maybe daddy will help in putting the baby to the breast. I am sure baby will love him for that. He too is in the program.
It must be borne in mind that all women will be able to breastfeed. This is mainly due to the fact that some mothers may be unable because of the situation that they are in at the time of delivery. There may be a case of being too ill to undertake this duty. During this time of serious illness, the baby might have been fed with formula. At recovery, depending on length of time the baby was away from the breast, the baby may not want to suck on the breast. There are also other cases of medical reasons including the matter of prevention of mother to child transmission of disease.
Some Myths and Facts on Breastfeeding
- Do not take myths on breastfeeding for facts.
Below are some facts and myths regarding breastfeeding
Myth: Many women do not produce enough milk to do breastfeeding
Fact: The vast majority of women produce sufficient milk for breastfeeding. Once the baby is properly latched on the breast, frequently there will be sufficient milk. The mother must also have a desire to breast feed.
Myth: A breast fed baby needs extra water during hot weather
Fact: Breast milk has all the water a baby needs
Myth: Baby should be on the breast for a specific period of time
Fact: Baby should be kept on the breast until it is empty
Myth: Breastfeeding makes the woman’s breast stretched out, long and attractive
Fact: Breastfeeding does not do this. Women should always wear well-fitting and supporting bra
Myth: Breastfeeding inconvenience the mother. She has to be always with the baby.
Fact: A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime and this can be done discreetly. There is no need to carry bottles and formula. There is no need to mix and warm up the feed. There is no need to have to think about sterility. Expressed milk can be given to the baby.
Myth: There is no way to know the amount of breastmilk the baby is getting.
Fact: The best way to know is that the baby drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding. There should also be some noticeable weight gain and the baby should be having six wet diapers and six stooled diapers.
Myth: A woman does not have enough milk for multiple births.
Facts: Eating and drinking well will cause her to have enough milk for each baby
Baby Continued Food and Nutrition
- Baby is now six months old. It is no longer necessary for baby to be exclusively breastfed. Continue breastfeeding baby. The baby will also need to get other foods such as porridge, fruits and fruit juices. The child will also need food from the family pot.
- Give baby chance and time to adjust from breastfeeding
If you desire to wean your baby from the breast, giving the child other foods now will help you to wean the baby gradually. Do not do it suddenly, if there is no reason for an immediate withdrawal of breastfeed. Consider yourself getting a sudden news or seeing something undesired that you did not expect. If you do sudden weaning, it is likely to cause emotional disturbance to the baby and may also trigger off a refusal to take any other food.
By the way what would you consider the best way for weaning the baby? Please let me hear from you.
• Take baby to clinic or private doctor(whichever is convenient) for immunization
Immunization is a key to good health. It is in the best interest of you and your baby.
Immunization offers the child insurance against serious communicable diseases.
Your child may need verification of immunization to attend nursery or day care facilities and school.
By giving your child this protection, you will protect others.
Immunization for some babies starts at delivery to six years. Overtime babies are given multiple doses of vaccine in order that the immune system will be maximized against serious diseases. In some areas emphases are placed on some diseases because of the occurrence or likelihood for the diseases in these areas.
However, these are the most common diseases which children are immunized against:
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Congenital Rubella Syndrome(CRS)
Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis