Jutarnji.hr: “Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center’s guide for parents: Do not stop breastfeeding and hugging, do not skip vaccinations and 8 more rules for mothers of babies during a pandemic”

The Jutarnji list, in its online edition on March 27, 2020, publish recommendations of the experts of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center for parents who caring for infants during the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. A guide for parents was prepared by psychologist Ella Selak Bagarić, Vanja Slijepčević Saftić, PhD-MD, neuro-pediatrician, deputy director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center and psychologist Krešimir Prijatelj. The text entitled “Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center’s guide for children: Do not stop breastfeeding and hugging, do not skip vaccinations and 8 more rules for mothers of babies during a pandemic” is signed by journalist Lada Novak Starcevic:

Newborns and young children, according to current scientific knowledge about corona virus, can in principle also suffer from more severe forms of the disease. Experts are still learning about Covid-19, so there is no significant amount of research knowledge to draw conclusions from. Nonetheless, statistics show that in most cases young children are infected solely through contact with close family members with whom they live in the household.

A coronavirus pandemic can have an impact on neonatal care in a variety of ways. For example, it affects the reduced availability of health care facilities, children’s supplies in supermarkets, and the reduced availability of support and assistance for child care.

Due to the above circumstances, it is recommended to provide once a week the products needed for adequate child care (diapers, food, etc.), restrict the child’s contacts with other persons, but still provide one person (parents / close family member / friend) who can provide assistance or the support that parents need.

With regard to the availability of health care, it is currently the best option to consult a doctor or pediatrician by email or call (if urgent) or consult a competent pediatrician in the event of symptoms not related to Covid-19. In order to minimize the need for a pediatrician, parents should arrange a checkup beforehand and adequately care for their own hygiene, newborn hygiene, as well as the cleanliness of the household and surfaces with which the baby comes in direct contact. In addition, health institutions recommend that children be vaccinated regularly against other infectious diseases, but always in consultation with a competent physician / pediatrician.


Mother milk contains protective substances

Breastfeeding is the best diet for newborns and infants. Breast milk has all the nutrients that a baby needs, in ideal proportions. That is why the formula “formula milk” is used for milk formulas, aiming to emphasize that its ingredients have been adapted by technological procedures, to make it more similar to breast milk. In addition to the nutritional benefits, breast milk contains protective substances that protect the infant from infection, given the still underdeveloped and potent immune response.

In infants, it is important not to interfere with or discontinue breastfeeding because of the potential suspicion of infection in the mother, as it may lead to previously known adverse conditions in both the child (emotional trauma, a decline in the production of immune factors) and the mother (mastitis, a fall in milk production). Mothers, in normal, physiological circumstances, during pregnancy or shortly after birth, contain secretive immunoglobulin A during breastfeeding, as well as other immune factors that may be of great use to the baby in the fight against viruses and infections.

The recommendation of the doctor is to take all necessary protective measures applicable to other persons while breast-feeding, such as wearing a protective mask (in case of suspected infection) and regular washing and disinfection of hands (lasting not less than two minutes), in accordance with the instructions issued by the competent institutions.

Inhabitants should avoid kissing the child in the face

Special care should be taken with hand hygiene when touching the baby’s face to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and to give the kiss to the child’s head instead of the area of ​​the face due to the dripping nature of the transmission of the infection. These recommendations apply mainly to other people in the household and those who still have to leave their homes for work or purchase.

Mothers who spend time at home can continue to give their baby kisses and hugs without worrying about regular hand hygiene. It should also be borne in mind that the brain is extremely sensitive to external stimuli in the early period, which will shape it permanently and irreversibly, both morphologically and functionally, and therefore should not be lacking.

In other words, what the child is exposed to will affect the structure of the brain and its function. Likewise, physical contact between mother and child is of utmost importance. It establishes a strong emotional connection that implies comfort, necessary for the proper and undisturbed development of the intellectual functions of the child, in accordance with his or her potential.


Do not involve people outside the household in baby care 

Although it may be desirable in practice to involve other family members or close friends in child care assistance, the current circumstances of the corona virus pandemic still limit the social support we might otherwise seek from our loved ones.

According to the guidelines of the competent institutions, it is not recommended to involve other persons in the care of the child (and especially close contacts with the child), but to persons within the household who limit their physical contacts and have no business obligations outside the home.


Do not receive visits, rather use video calls to meet your baby

Relatives and friends of newly born parents often express their desire to see the infant, take him in arms, take pictures with him or the like, but in such circumstances such visits pose a risk of transmission of the virus and it would be best in the foreseeable future to completely reduce these situations.

In addition to photos, the alternative to seeing a newborn is also video calls, which may to some extent be a substitute for the visits and direct physical contacts of others with the newborn or young child. ”


Source (in Croatian language): Jutarnji.hr: https://www.jutarnji.hr/life/zivotne-price/vodic-poliklinike-za-djecu-ne-prekidajte-dojenje-i-dodire-ne-preskacite-cijepljenje-i-jos-8-pravila-za-majke-beba-u-doba-pandemije/10139662/

Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center can not be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy. 

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