Mopani Pharmacy Crossing Centre, Homegrown Babies Clinic’s Sr Rentia notes the top things to look out for to keep your baby’s health in check.

Q: Tell us about Homegrown Babies clinic visits?

A: From the age of one week, we will be able to weigh and evaluate your baby. You as the mother will also be examined, to see if all is well. We then spend some time with you and your baby, to identify any issues you may be experiencing. Everything in terms of your baby’s success with breast-feeding or use of formula will be discussed, as well as check the baby for any developmental issues that may hinder their feeding. We can check for things like lip-tie or tongue-tie, the ability to suckle and swallow. This is also a great time to measure how well your baby is adapting if the birth was premature. Fathers are welcome to come too, for any advice needed.

Q: How does inoculations and vaccines for babies work?

Homegrown babies

A: There are two schedules to follow if you are vaccinating. The private schedule includes more options for injections. The public schedule caters for the basics. If you are unable to afford the private schedule, public schedule shots are available at the public clinics at no cost. Mopani’s Homegrown Babies offer public and private schedule vaccine options; however, it is not available for free.

Vaccinations help your baby fight off viruses that has been the cause of infantile death. Most of these diseases have been minimised to rarely show up and if they do, the symptoms are not nearly as severe, due to the use of vaccinations. Increasing use of vaccinations among children also provide a ‘herd immunity’ effect. This means that more children are immune to the diseases, therefore less likely to catch and spread it from child to child.

Q: What type of illness should parents of babies watch out for?

A: Babies are susceptible to contagious diseases such as the flu as well as Hepatitis A. Vaccines for the flu are only used on babies from the age of 6 months. Our Hepatitis A vaccines were out of stock for a while, so we are seeing more cases lately. Hepatitis A comes from faecal matter and is most commonly spread through water and food contamination. If your baby is suffering from cramps, have light coloured faeces, a lack of appetite, it may indicate Hep A. Hep A is a liver virus infection, highly contagious, and will eventually turn body and white parts of the eyes yellow.

You can prevent contagious diseases by washing your hands after you’ve used the bathroom and regularly throughout the day. Wash your hands before you handle your baby or their bottles, food, pacifier or toys. Regularly wash your baby’s toys as well. Make sure your home is cleaned regularly and aired out. Bacteria, fungi and viruses love to breed in warm moist places.  Make sure your family eats healthy, balanced meals. Keep noses clean, as mucus is the biggest culprit of spreading disease. You can also make use of immune boosters and homeopathic medicines that may help relieve symptoms and jumpstart the body’s natural fighting defences. We currently have flu and Hep A vaccines available, so make sure to have your family vaccinated if possible.

Read more: Deworming is not just for pets, its for us too!

Q: How do we look for day to day health and wellness issues?

Your baby could be dehydrated if the soft spot on their head is sunken in, their eyes are dull and mouth appears dry to the touch. Your baby will automatically drink more when they are dehydrated. As a parent, you will learn to know your child and follow their cues to assess their needs. If something is wrong, you have to trust your gut, to know if they need medical intervention. Any baby under the age of three months, experiencing fever, should be taken to a doctor immediately. If there is a rash, come see us at the clinic. You can also visit us at the Homegrown Babies clinic with any condition your baby might have, and we can evaluate and recommend a suitable, natural aid.

Read more: Dehydration – How to avoid, identify and treat it

Q: What are our medicine cabinet must-haves?

A: Always keep something to treat burns. Keep a thermometer and a Baby Vac or NoseFrida handy, to monitor fever and help decongest your baby’s nose from mucus. Always have a saltwater nasal spray to flush their nose and kill bacteria. Something for pain and fever is a must.

To remember:

We are always here to help and give advice. If you have any questions, feel free to come see us at any of our Homegrown Babies clinics, or leave us a message on the Mopani Baby Club Facebook page inbox. Make sure to stock up on your must-have items – you can shop in-store or online!