As Singaporeans head into an extended Circuit Breaker, one of the common concerns that mothers have – apart from staying sane – is the health and safety of their household, especially if they have a young or newborn baby at home.
As we may not experience our daily lives going back to normal anytime soon, quarantine living can eventually take a toll on many, even if things had started off on a positive note.
For the well-being of babies especially, their immune system is dependent primarily on having a healthy environment at home.
Here are some reminders for mums to note in order to ensure that their little ones’ immunity is strengthened.
Continue breastfeeding as often as possible
It is by now common knowledge that breast milk is the best food for babies as it contains naturally produced antibodies, tailored to the needs of the baby. Exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of a child’s life is many benefits, such as lowering the frequencies of infections. Yet according to the World Health Organisation, only 40% of infants are exclusively breastfed. So if it’s within your means to do so, consider doing your best to nurse and express as much as possible in order to support your baby’s immune development. If milk supply is an issue that you’re facing, do seek help or up your intake of fluids and supplements.
Maintain high standards of hygiene at home
In these COVID19 times, the importance of proper handwashing and general hygiene can’t be stressed enough – even at home. Make sure that your baby’s feeding bottles, utensils, teethers and toys are handled with proper care and cleaned and sterilised regularly. Be extra careful of certain brands of cups with spouts that may trap dirt and bacteria. If your baby or toddler’s sippy cups have seen better days, go ahead and chuck them in the plastic recycling bin. Better safe than sorry!
Get enough rest and sleep
This applies to both breastfeeding Mom and baby. Rest is what you need for your body to build immunity against infection and disease. The lockdown period might wreck havoc with your mind as days and night blend into one another. You might no longer be able to differentiate between weekdays and weekends, thus giving in to the temptation on bingeing on Netflix instead of sleeping normal hours. This is bad for milk production if you’re a breastfeeding Mum and also bad for baby as elevated cortisol and adrenaline affects his developing immunity, plus your little one’s circadian rhythms are tied to yours. At least 10-13 hours of sleep is recommended for babies and young children.
Take the right supplements
While over-supplementation might be a problem, there is some benefit to taking a Vitamin C tablet (and the corresponding child-safe version for your toddler) if you’re on the verge of falling ill with the flu as it may help to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of sickness. Chicken soup, cliché as it may sound, also does help with healing colds and flu symptoms via its anti-inflammatory and anti-congestive effects. Do ensure that you and your baby increase your fluid intake daily until you recover.
Feed baby a well-balanced diet
Babies between the ages 0 to six months get all their nutrition needs from breastmilk. When your little one starts on solids, do pick fresh and nutritious choices such as fresh veggies and non-processed foods to ease their journey beyond breastmilk. To make things easier for feeding time, stock your freezer with ice-cube trays of fresh pureed fruits and vegetables as well as homemade chicken stock and plain meats that are well-prepared.