Hello Hello! first-time parents and all my readers out there passionate about kids and family stuff. Maternal Moments series is back! This time taking it further from where we paused last time. I’ll help you juggle your memory on what we covered last. If you recall, we brushed deeply on deconstructing myths and mending information gaps relating to pregnancy; The importance of choosing your delivery-hospital way in advance; And challenges that follow post -pregnancy for both parents be it – breastfeeding tips, what the mother should feed on to boost the milk levels and help the body recover quickly and efficiently, changing diapers, lulling the baby amongst many other topics.
Now, today we will cover challenges that come around in the first couple of months in parenting (2 – 5 months). At this stage, the crucial-most priority is to ensure immunisation dates and advice are followed to the letter. Parents should never afford to miss an immunisation date since the monitoring of an infant’s health progress is conducted through the scheduled dates. Above that, nothing should be of more importance than honouring these dates. Speaking of immunisation, injections are the scariest. This is because the infants are mostly very tender and delicate. At weeks 6, 10 and 14, injections are administered coupled with other oral dosages of vaccination just to uplift the infant’s immune. The next injection happens at the ninth month usually for measles otherwise in between week 15 to the 9th month, babies normally go for weight checkups while Vitamin A oral dosage is dispensed at the 6th month.
To a greater extent injections come with lots of challenges commonest of all being fever. And how do you tell an infant has fever? The recommended method is to use a thermometer. Speaking of which, all parents should endeavour to purchase a thermometer since they are never at a loss in estimating the body temperature of the baby. Usually, 37.2 degrees C. and above is an indication of a fever development and a reason for the parents to start worrying. Other ‘crude ways’ of diagnosing if a baby has fever is by placing one’s palm on the forehead or around the armpit. An experienced parent will realise if the temperature is unusually high.
There are home remedies that parents are encouraged to administer to lower the fever before they embark to the nearest hospital. One remedy I can guarantee with my kidney is Calpol syrup. It offers reliefs from pain and fever associated with vaccination, teething, cold & flu and other childhood infections. Any unmanaged fever beyond that should be rushed to the nearest hospital. Speaking of hospitals; Parents should be extremely cautious about where they present their kids for medical attention. With all due respect to Clinical Officers, Physicians and all other Medical practitioners, if possible please identify a credible and reputable paediatrician to be handling your infant’s medical journey. Their medical history requires a specialist and consistent one for that matter. And since kids medical attention is highly sensitive and complex, you can only bet it with a paediatrician and not any other medical practitioner, not unless its an emergency that can’t wait.
During the scheduled immunisation dates you may realise the following; That your baby weight is not consistent or the injection was either administered wrongly or reacted with your baby’s skin. On matters weight – An infant’s weight is one of the major indicators of his/her health progress. I can promise you that you’ll have trouble with your MCH (Mother/Maternal Child Health) personnel if your baby is underweight or overweight. You see, once you commence the antenatal clinics you are issued with a booklet that is a record-keeping tool for the mother and child health journey up to the first 5 years of the child. In it is a graph that gives a guideline of an infant’s weight progress from the time of birth all the way to five years. The graph can easily indicate if the baby is under or overweight on a monthly basis.
It’s important to appreciate a baby is considered underweight at birth if he/she weighs less than 2.5 kilograms and overweight(obesity) if he/she has 5 or more kilograms. Underweight conditions for babies between the periods of birth to 6 months are mostly associated with the following; Poor quality of sucking either via breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, Inadequate number of feeding, Incorrect formula preparation, Poor feeding interactions (vomiting after feeding or care-giver assuming the baby is full), Poor quality mother’s milk mostly associated with low nutrition intake, Underfeeding, Underlying medical problems amongst many others. On the contrast, babies that struggle with obesity are mostly associated with feeding on formula-fed products as opposed to exclusive breastfeeding. This is because the former have a tendency of being overfed. Normally, breastfeeding is protective against obesity. Pregnancies that had gestation diabetes are also very much likely to lead to an obese child. Another interesting fact is that parents that start weaning relatively earlier than the recommended stage of six months can lead to causing obesity to their kids or distorting their expected normal growth curve. Babies that are less active have a higher likelihood of being obese too.
On injections – An infant may develop a hard lump and redness at the injection site which means the body cannot process some or all types of the vaccine ingredients. The body may also be trying to fight the ‘toxins’ administered to it from being absorbed into the body and blood. The hard lump may disappear in a couple of days and one can massage the area with a warm hand towel to make it less severe. Most vaccine reactions fade away within 3 – 7 days otherwise one should seek medical attention beyond that.
As fast time parents, you’ll encounter so many myths about baby rashes and be made to believe they have everything to do with high temperatures and excessive body sweat. While there is rash known as sweat rash, as a parent it’s critical to demystify half-truths and realise there are over 20 types of rashes. For instance, we have rashes associated with food allergies that are resisted by the baby. This may include excessive consumption of wheat or egg products by the mother. There are rashes associated with the teething stage, Eczema which is a more long-term skin disorder requiring specialist treatment, Nappy rash, Impetigo rash, Milia rash, Newborn rash, Ringworm, Baby acne, rashes associated with woolen clothes and many more. Some skin rashes are also caused by parents who experiment with their babies on the many varieties of baby-products be it diapers, wet wipes, petroleum jelly and baby soaps. The more you try the latest or ‘cheapest’ product with your baby, the more reactive the baby skin behaves. Please note your baby is not a litmus paper to be tested on everything that is on offer. Be consistent and you’ll have less trouble. Bottom line on rashes: Visit your paediatrician after a week or so if the rashes don’t seem to disappear.
To mothers who are obsessed with appearing fit, shapely and in the ‘right size’ or what is termed as bouncing-back after pregnancy, it can have a heavy toll on the baby’s health progress. This is because they will try dieting and shelving off most of the highly nutritious foods just to meet unrealistic and unhealthy goals. While this may seem attractive to women who battle with increased weight, it comes with a tremendous negative impact on the infant’s health. You realise the baby feeds exclusively on milk at least for the first six months, hence while the mother concentrates on foods that are less likely to have high calories, quality of her breast milk is highly compromised hence leading to underweight issues to her baby. It has also been established that burning off weight too quickly may cause a woman’s fat cells to release contaminants into her breast milk.
To a great extent, dads are a no-show when it comes to the welfare of their babies. Many men are least interested and emotionally attached to their kids, which by the way weakens if not undeveloping the bond between them and their offsprings. Men have a tendency of hiding under cultural and social ethos that dictate it’s unmanly and weak to lull a baby to sleep or to assist in feeding them. For your information, the bond between a dad and his child doesn’t happen in a fortnight nor is it magical, it is invested upon diligently day after day by taking time to being with their kids and showing interest in them.
Dear lost men, here are some of the major facts about kids brought up by dads who are close to them. Studies show that if a child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to a child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity. This is according to Dr.Gail Gross, a renown family, child development, human behaviour expert, author and educator from US. She further attests that a child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of the child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with a father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others, but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving.
On matters maternal, we can’t really exhaust on the topics. Watch out for more in the future series. Best of luck for now!