WHEN YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR BABY WITH SOMEONE ELSE
The time will come when every mother will have to leave her precious baby in the care of someone else. That person may be an adult relative or friend, or in cases where mothers need to return to work, a paid child-minder. As we know, as a parent, the safety, protection, love and care of your baby is your most important responsibility and consideration. So what do you need to plan for and ensure is in place when you leave your child in someone else’s care?
We know that the best environment for a very young baby is at home in the loving care and close physical contact with his mum as she breastfeeds, cuddles, talks and plays with him, baths her and puts her to sleep. So, if possible, it’s preferable the carer looks after baby in baby’s home and with the same feeding, bathing, playing and sleeping routine. Mum needs to be absolutely sure the carer is responsible, attentive and loving towards her baby, and will look after her baby very carefully for the whole time she is away. She needs to explain her baby’s routine, feeding practices and hygiene rules, and to ensure that she has left sufficient expressed breastmilk and nappies for the time she is away and extra, in case she’s back late.
To your baby, you are the most important person in her life and she loves and needs you close. Within the first few months, he will be aware that other people are not you. If you are leaving him with someone strange to him, spend time letting him get to know and trust that person while you are still around. She may cry when you leave, so reassure her that you are coming back. Never leave your baby in the care of another child, with no responsible adult around. It is too much responsibility for a child and they cannot be relied upon to give the consistent loving care and practice the necessary hygiene requirements, let alone cope if there is an emergency, such as a fire, the baby choking on something or falling and hurting herself. There always needs to be a responsible and caring adult in attendance.
So mums, go and observe in the place you are going to leave your precious baby. Make sure the carer really loves babies and is kind and gentle. Does she respond to each little one quickly, talk and sing, cuddle and play with the babies? Is the environment safe and clean with nothing that could hurt your baby? Does she follow strict hygiene procedures, washing her hands after changing nappies and before preparing food or feeding baby? Are all dangerous sharp, poisonous or hot items far out of reach of baby?
Remember, these early years are very important for your little one’s physical and emotional development and well-being, as well as his brain development, so choose the person who will look after your baby with the greatest care!
LOVE, PLAY TALK
Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST