New Mothers: 5 Ways to Prevent Your Baby Falling Sick!

Vaccination

There is a high rate of child mortality in Nigeria despite various interventions from the government & NGOs. Most of this death occurs in children between the age of 1 & 5. This is when they are most vulnerable.

It is said that 1 in every 10 babies born in Nigeria, will not live long enough to see their 5th birthday. It is more painful that these babies die from causes that can actually be prevented. Reduction of this child & infants deaths require both government & personal efforts.

Children are the leaders of tomorrow, but they have to live to see tomorrow, before they can LEAD tomorrow.

Table of Content

Below are a list of of suggestions for mothers to do so as to ensure that their babies get to live beyond their 5th baby.

Antenatal/Natal Care

This is very important for all pregnant mothers. Some babies, & in fact mothers die due to complications that could have been prevented if the mother attended antenatal Care (e.g: ecclampsia). This is even more common in our villages & remote areas. Read on the causes of Pre-ecclampsia here.
These events that take place during the time your pregnancy is developing can determine if your baby would live or die, as well as the mother. Your baby can be affected through food & drugs you take in Pregnancy, especially during the first trimester as well as infections that can possibly occur during the period.

Pregnancy & delivery are an important period in the lives of women & families, and as such, should be managed by skilled personnel. This would help to prevent deaths of children later in life through complications of prematurity or improperly managed births, leading to disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, etc.

Tips

  • Register for your Antenatal Care as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed.
  • Be consistent with your antenatal visits & ensure you take your medications as directed.
  • Have a Birth Plan. (What to do when labour starts, & which hospital to be taken to)
  • Buy your baby things already.
  • SAVE MONEY FOR CS: in case of any complications. Those that deliver by CS are also Hebrew women.

Proper Nutrition

Diarrhea is a major cause of infant death especially in their first year & and malnutrition also does it part in causing a lot of illnesses. It also lowers immunity increasing the risk of infection.

Tips

  • Exclusive Breastfeeding. ONLY Breast Milk for the first 6 months. This is very important. Most mothers do not understand the benefit of Exclusive breastfeeding. Your breast milk alone is all your child needs to grow up & be healthy for that first 6 months. It contains everything required to protect your child from infections.
  • After first 6 months, then you would need to start introducing other foods in addition to breast milk. Your child should get a variety of nutrients and micronutrients. They need a BALANCED diet (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc).
  • If you feel they aren’t growing well, seek help. See a doctor immediately to know why. It could be a sign of congenital heart disease or other conditions.

Don’t say you do not have the time for 6 months exclusive breastfeeding. Create that time for your child, He/She deserves it.

Immunization/Vaccination

The importance of immunization cannot be overemphasized. You should know by now that the recent lockdown in the whole world is because there is no vaccine for coronavirus. That is how important vaccines are in preventing diseases. Your child should be taken for vaccination at the closest health centre or government hospital nearest to you. You should know that this vaccines are FREE. Why then wouldn’t you take your child for vaccination?. See the vaccinations you should take from birth to adulthood here.
Also keep your cards so as not to miss any immunization day.

A baby being Vaccinated against infectious disease. Image Credits: UN

Immunization ensures your child has protection for life against some deadly diseases like; Hepatitis, Influenza which causes meningitis & other respiratory diseases.

Tips

  • Ensure you Vaccinate your Child. Most Hospitals keep a Card. Make sure to keep this safe.
  • Be Familiar with the Schedule and when your next appointment is due. Set reminders.
  • Know the adverse effects that could occur. Be informed.

Hygiene

Some Illnesses can be prevented by ensuring food hygiene, washing hands and a good toilet hygiene.
In addition, to Hygiene, it is important to know when to seek care. Presenting at the hospital early improves their chances

Tips.
-You must know first aid for your child and when to seek care.
-High Fever, Fast Breathing, Convulsions, and Persistent Diarrhea are Red Flags. Go to the Hospital

– Have a basic first aid kit at home. Must include ORS and a Thermometer

You Are Important Too

Your child is much more likely to live till 5 if you are there for them to give them all the care & protection they need. It is not about putting your children in the hands of a nanny or maid, & you wouldn’t know if the nanny is feeding the child or eating all the child’s food. We’ve seen a situation where a nanny was eating all the food (milk) & stuffs bought for a child, and it is until the mother came with her child to the clinic due to malnutrition that she was exposed.

A parent, especially mother’s attitude towards health usually reflects on their children. Take care of yourself too, and be more health conscious. They learn a lot from you.

Tips:

  • Healthier Habits!. Quit smoking, Eat Healthier, Exercise.
  • Get Health Insurance. Babies do not contribute money. Don’t let Finance prevent care. Learn about health insurance here.
  • Family Planning! Contraception!. Plan your children so that you can have the time & resource to care for them. Practice child spacing.

Let us continue to create the awareness & ensure that we reduce the rate of child mortality in Nigeria, so that our children can grow up to be leaders of tomorrow.

Authors

  • Dr Abosede Lewu is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. She is an Expert on Women's Health, (Fibroids, Infertility, Menstruation & Pregnancy issues). Dr. Abosede Lewu holds an MBBS Degree from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria. You can follow Dr. Lewu on twitter: @NaijaObgyn for all Obstetrics and Gynaecology related complaints.

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