At the start of the year, one of the things Haitian parents crave most is good health for themselves and their children. The editors would, in this sense, provide five tips to parents. If applied wisely, these tips, inspired by our habits and customs, will help keep children healthy for the next twelve months or more.
1 – Breastfeed your baby exclusively up to 6 months
Breastfeeding offers only advantages. Don’t hesitate to put your little one at the breast very early. The first milk called colostrum is rich in nutrients and antibodies
. These antibodies, true biological police officers who ensure the protection of the newborn, constitute for this purpose its first vaccine against diseases (Unicef, 2016) such as diarrhea, respiratory tract infections to name a few. So don’t throw away this precious colostrum.
In addition, breastfeeding is an act of love. By breastfeeding your child, you transmit love, affection and, at the same time, extend the intimate and unique relationship that began in the womb. In addition, breastfeeding promotes the optimal growth of your baby.
, some mothers replace breast milk very early with all kinds of porridge (chico, guarana, cassava, banana, etc.) and, without knowing it, are the bed of early malnutrition. Such practices are strongly discouraged as they can compromise the child’s growth and later learning skills.
To parents who find their milk salty or bitter
, we simply say Pa gen lèt dirty, pa gen lèt anmè. All the good man for your baby!
2 – Get your baby vaccinated
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from different pathologies. The Ministry of Public Health and Population now has very important vaccines that protect against certain diseases that were once fatal such as tetanus, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, rotavirus diarrhea. These vaccines are free and available to parents. Going to the nearest health center to have your children vaccinated is, therefore, a gesture of love that helps prevent certain diseases.
3 – Avoid self-medication
Self-medication is the practice of administering medication or using care techniques without a medical prescription. Some parents are very often advised by a neighbor or a family member who invites them to give herbal teas, to self-prescribe medication. Self-medication involves risks because what is conceived as a medicine for the pathology of the other is not necessarily so for oneself.
When in addition, these are children, the risk becomes greater. Certain practices, such as the systematic use of amoxicillin and aspirin, can prove harmful to the health of children. Amoxicillin has specific indications whereas aspirin is not recommended in case of fever because it can cause serious complications which can even lead to the death of the child.
Have your baby seen by a pediatrician to avoid complications from self-medication.
4 – Be wary of certain received ideas
Culturally in Haiti, there is often a supernatural explanation for the disease. The neighbor or a competitor is accused; we suspect the cat which prowled and meowed in the corner, the bat which passed on the roof and which creaked or the owl which hooted. These behaviors have an impact on the process of seeking care and delay care. However, in terms of health in general and that of children in particular, the time factor is an important parameter. The longer the treatment is delayed, the more the case is likely to get complicated and worsen.
5 – Limit domestic accidents
Parents very often think that their children are safe when they are at home. Data show that this is not always the case because even at home children are exposed to a variety of risks and accidents that can affect their health. There are many examples of domestic accidents in Haiti. Here are some steps that can help prevent some of them:
- Keep medications in a locked drawer;
- Place household products in safe places that are inaccessible to children;
- Never leave a child alone in a bathtub (bowl), near water jets;
- Keep children away from sharp objects;
- Keep hot objects and liquids out of the reach of children (tea, coffee, boiling water, stoves, ovens, etc.);
- Avoid using candles as a source of energy as much as possible;
- Put the kerosene in a clearly identified bottle and away from children to avoid confusion with water or any other drink.
Prevention is better than cure.
Happy 2020 to our darling children!