Winter can present unique challenges to the new baby - and his or her parents. Here are some great tips to help you cope.
The flu shot is your friend
Sister Hannetjie Smith is a registered nurse at Eldoraigne Pharmacy in Centurion, Pretoria, and uses her 26 years of experience to advise hundreds of parents. She advises that both you and baby get the flu shot. ‘Everyone, from the age of six months old, can get the flu-shot.’ She says: ‘It's more effective to be vaccinated against the flu than pay for medication for it.’
Breastfeed if you can
Another way to make sure your baby stays healthy during the winter months is to breastfeed if you can. Mum & Baby, powered by Siyakha, suggests: ‘Breast milk is the healthiest food for your baby. Your breast milk has over 400 nutrients, as well as hormones and antibodies that help fight illness.’ If you are breastfeeding, it's important to eat plenty of foods rich in omegas, such as tinned fish (sardines, pilchards, tuna), says Sister Smith. Your omega-rich breast milk will then act as more protection for your baby from colds and flu.
Up your veggie intake
Sister Smith also suggests cooking things such as hearty soups and stews with lots of veggies for your little one if she has started eating solids. ‘If you can, add some meat to the soup or stew,’ Sister Smith says.
Sneeze into a tissue
Make sure you cover your nose with a tissue or your hand if you sneeze and try as best you can to always cough into your elbow. This will prevent germs from spreading to baby. Sister Smith advises: ‘Use tissues, not fabric hankies so that you can throw the tissue away when done.’ Keeping a dirty hanky in your pocket is a breeding ground for germs.
Wash your hands
Sister Smith also stresses the importance of washing your and baby's hands. Wash your hands after changing his nappy and remember to wash baby's hands before eating when he starts to eat on his own. This will go a long way in preventing spreading germs to your child.
Keep vaccinations up to date
Make sure baby's immunisations are up to date. If your child has been vaccinated, you can be sure that whatever they pick up will be short-lived.
Dress baby appropriately
‘Dressing baby in layers so that he stays warm is also a good idea,’ explains Sister Smith. But be careful not to dress him too warmly. If baby does appear to be getting sick and has a fever, Mum & Baby, powered by Siyakha, suggests: ‘If you notice any of the following signs it is better to visit the clinic: 1. A fever that won’t come down or lasts more than two days 2. A cough that just gets worse 3. Pulling or rubbing his ear.’
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