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What our baby experts want you to know about your child’s health
In light of Children’s Health awareness month this August, we thought it would be fitting to interview the sisters and registered midwives of Homegrown Babies at Mopani Pharmacy. Besides raising their own children, Sr. Rentia, Sr. Rinie, Sr. Karin and Sr. Marizel have been involved in caring for moms-to-be and growing families for the last 18 years. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience and therefore, are an indispensable resource for moms in the Lowveld!

What does ‘children’s health’ mean to you?

Children’s health is holistic – it’s not just having a child without a runny nose. A child should be healthy, happy and thriving whilst maintaining a balanced lifestyle. So, at Home Grown Babies, we consider their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
What is your general impression of parents’ understanding of this? People underestimate what it takes to be a parent. We see numerous struggles with eating and sleeping patterns, which impacts the overall health of your child.

What are the basic steps you can take to impact your child’s health for the better? We believe it starts with the parents’ health. A healthy, happy pregnancy has a tremendous positive effect on your child’s well-being. Part of ensuring a stable foundation for your child’s health is the basics such as vaccinations, sufficient weight gain during the early months, and your child reaching their essential milestones.

On the topic of milestones, what can parents do to help with their child’s physical and mental development?

It is important for parents to have a basic knowledge of what to expect from their child at certain stages of their lives – the general milestones that their child must achieve and what to do when they aren’t reached according to schedule. The World Health Organisation has a very good guide for age-appropriate skills to be mastered accordingly. We tend to find that if a child gets the opportunity to visit the clinic early enough, there are corrective and preventative measures that can be implemented to guarantee healthy development.

What do parents forget?

That’s a tough one! Many forget their children’s progress cards (vaccination chart) when they pay us a visit. The other thing we find challenging is when parents don’t remember what medicine they have given their children. It’s important for us to know what has been tried and failed, and what meds are kept at home.

What should parents be looking out for?

Failure to thrive is a clear indication of something amiss, not only physically, but emotionally as well. To the untrained eye it may look like we’re just having a ‘lekker kuier’, but there are so many things we look out for during social interaction when families get to us at the clinic. Certain markers within these encounters are often a cue to something greater such as a child lashing out, withdrawing, or wetting the bed. Sometimes these things can be drawn back to their emotional and mental development. That’s why emotional intelligence plays such a vital role in determining school readiness.

What would you like parents to know about brain development?

Brain development for a baby involves their whole environment: what they see, smell, hear, touch and taste. It’s not just about the activities that we do with them. We tend to forget that they are constantly observing us. This is how they learn – by then imitating our movements and tendencies.

What is the most important thing to keep in the house?

Other than basic safety and emergency medicines, we feel that less is more. Go back to fundamentals: take the kids outside, bring out the pots and pans, sit on the floor and play with them, let them get messy in the sand and mud and read lots of story books!

For more information, please visit Homegrown Babies in-store at Mopani Pharmacy Crossing Centre or I’langa Mall.

WOMEN’S MONTH

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