Staying indoors, working from home, washing hands multiple times a day, and keeping a safe social distance—this is the new normal. Moms all over the country have been at the forefront of every household’s protection from the pandemic, with some having to juggle multiple responsibilities such as work, managing the household, and taking care of the children.
The health crisis, however, is far from over. With the threat of COVID-19 still apparent outside their doors, moms are taking substantial steps to adapt new ways on how to give their babies the healthy start they deserve.
Dermatologist Dr. Gaile-Robredo Vitas, and Pediatrician Dr. Cristal Laquindanum shares the following tips for easing new mom worries and ensuring baby’s holistic growth in these trying times by touching on the four foundational pillars of Healthy Food, Healthy Sleep, Healthy Play, and Healthy Skin.
The quarantine period is not a time for picky eaters.
After over a month of enhanced community quarantine, those who manage the household know that the usual food selections then are now limited and harder to come by.
For kids to enjoy a wide variety of food that’s readily available, Doc Tal suggests that parents “treat food as food, and avoid using it as a bribe or punishment.” She also notes the importance of modeling—how young children tend to imitate what their parents do. Doc Tal recommends that parents show their kids that they also like eating the healthy food they serve because this is one of the techniques that give a high food acceptance among young ones.
Doc Tal also shares that a little creativity can spark kids’ interest in eating more healthy food. A unique tip that the pediatrician suggests is to “teach them to eat a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.”
Set and maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Young children, especially babies and toddlers, don’t have a sense of day and night. It’s important that the parents themselves establish and stick to a reasonable sleep schedule for the youngest members of the family. To ease babies and toddlers into a sleeping schedule, Doc Tal stresses the importance of having a night-time routine that incorporates a bit of fun through reading, storytelling, or dancing. “The important thing is to bond and make memories with them,” Doc Tal shares.
Doc Gaile also adds that doing a quick night-time massage while applying lotion would help keep the little ones calm before bedtime. “Give your babies a massage—it’s a way of conveying love. Babies who are massaged more are calmer and cry less,” she shares.
Introduce creative play.
Boredom is the perfect opportunity to cultivate mommy and baby creativity, but pacifying them with smartphones causes babies and toddlers to develop screen dependency, which is harmful in the long run.
“Let your children be bored,” Doc Tal says, as she introduces alternatives such as having role-playing scenarios, creating pillow or blanket forts, or gamifying simple household chores. This strengthens mommy-baby bonds and stimulates children’s imagination and creativity, which is good for their holistic growth.
Pick the right cleaning products.
“Our skin is our body’s first line of defense against everything”, remarks Doc Gaile as she emphasizes the importance of cleansing in babies’ overall development. “If mali ang pagpapaligo, you can actually harm baby’s skin”.
Using just water is a no-no, as it can’t fully remove dirt and oil-soluble impurities, and ironically, ends up drying the baby’s skin instead of moisturizing. Regular soaps can increase the baby’s pH levels beyond the ideal amount, removing essential lipids. That is why Doc Gaile suggests only using dermatologist-prescribed cleansers and hypoallergenic and pH-neutral products, like the Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo. But for compromised baby skin, the newly available Cetaphil Baby Advanced Protection Cream is an essential addition. This multi-purpose cream is specially formulated to prevent irritation while replenishing the baby’s moisture barriers and strengthen their skin’s natural defenses.
Don’t forget to take a break
“It takes a village to raise a child,” Doc Tal says, citing the importance of having support from other members of the family or the community, both online and in real life. Other members of the family should also pitch in from time to time, acting as moms’ initial support group that she can call on whenever she needs to take a break.