How To Care For A Newborn During Pandemic

Caring for a newborn can be challenging especially for first time parents. The postpartum phase of life for new parents generally sparks anxiety and mental stress. Certainly, figuring how to care for the new bundle of joy in the family during this very uncertain times of global pandemic does so much more. According to Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 to neonates occur primarily through respiratory droplets during the postnatal period when neonates are exposed to mothers or other caregivers with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here are some tips on how you can safely care for your newborn during this pandemic:


1. Create Restrictions on Visits From Family

There is no doubt that Nigerians are communal in nature. When a newborn is born in Nigeria, the extended family are usually as joyful as the new parent and this places a sense of responsibility to pay homage and give gifts to the new member of the family. However, as new parents its essential to prioritize the safety of the newborn over the desire to please the other family members because there is low possibility of ascertaining whether any of the proposed visitors have contracted the virus, symptomatic or asymptomatic. Hence, it is advised for new parents not to have visitors beyond the immediate family for safety purpose.


2. Practice Good Hygiene At Home

The essence of good hygiene practice cannot be underrated at this time, Hence, all caregivers should practice infection prevention and control measures (i.e., wearing a mask, practicing hand hygiene) before and while caring for a neonate.Also, the newborn used laundry should be washed separately with clean water and low scent / mild detergent. You may also use sterilizing tablets for the bottles/ breast pumps, disinfecting liquids or sprays for handles and surfaces in the house.


3. Practice Good Hygiene During Feeding and Cleaning

To reduce the risk of mother to child transmission, mothers can in addition to the aforementioned, wear masks during breastfeeding. Also, mothers who have suspicious symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19  infection, and who are separated from their infants, can pump breast milk provided they are well enough to do so. The breast milk can be given to her infant by another family member who is well.  Again, good hand hygiene prior to touching bottles or pumping, the use of a face mask during pumping and cleaning of the breast pump following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations should be used.


4. Safety During Vaccine / Post Natal Appointments 

Although you may explore the options of no-contact consultations via telephone, skype or zoom, there are instances where you’ll likely still need to bring your baby into your doctor’s office to get their vaccines or  get examined physically. The safety guideline for prevention of Covid-19 should be followed in order to reduce exposure of the mother, the baby or any caregiver to the virus while outside the home.


5. Always Seek For Medical Help When Needed

There is no gainsaying that caring for newborns is like operating a machine without its manual. More than ever before, there is a rising need for provision of medical assistance on parenting a newborn; from guides on use of antibiotics to the best practices on caring for cords, handling jaundice and understanding types of rashes in newborn. While some mothers rely on their intuition to navigate various challenges with their little ones, some mothers seek for help via various motherhood platforms on social media with no medical credibility thereby exposing their babies to harmful or outdated practices that can lead to risk of Sudden Infant Death (SID). Mothers are advised to discuss with their health care providers on the possibility of accessing safe and credible medical care during this period.

I hope you have learnt some useful tips on how to care for your newborn during this pandemic. Kindly drop your feedback in the comment section below. See you in the next article.

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