02 August 2023

Breastfeeding when sick

If you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed your baby, it is natural to wonder what to do when you fall ill. The good news is that the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of continuing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps your baby to thrive and provides lifelong health benefits.…, Can I safely breastfeed my child if I’m feeling sick?, With most common illnesses like a cold or flu, it is safe to continue breastfeeding your baby as long as you take proper hygiene precautions like handwashing. Continuing to breastfeed will help you to maintain your milk supply and will provide your baby with protection against the illness you are experiencing., Can I take medication while breastfeeding?, If you need to take any medication while ill, let your health care provider know that you are breastfeeding and ask for baby-safe options., What should I do if I’m too unwell to breastfeed?, If you are feeling too sick to nurse, try to find other ways to safely provide your child with breastmilk. Try expressing milk and giving to your child via a clean cup or spoon. Speak to your breastfeeding counsellor or healthcare professional about the options available to you. Expressing breastmilk is also important to sustain milk production so…, Should I breastfeed if my child is sick?, Continue to breastfeed your child if they become ill. Breastfeeding boosts your baby’s immune system, and your antibodies are passed to them through breastmilk, helping them to fight infections., What precautions should I take when breastfeeding if I’m sick?, If you are sick or suspect you may be, speak to your healthcare provider for guidance. Be sure to follow simple hygiene steps to help protect your child. Your hands should be washed with soap and water before and after touching your baby. You may also use an alcohol-based hand rub. It is also important to clean and disinfect any surfaces that you…, Should I breastfeed if I have or suspect I have COVID-19?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding with appropriate precautions. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastmilk and breastfeeding has not been detected. Precautions include wearing a mask, washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your baby, and routinely cleaning and disinfecting…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding or providing expressed milk?, Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for healthy individuals who are lactating or expressing milk.  
06 June 2023

Talking to your child about climate change

Climate change is happening and nearly every child in the world will be affected. Talking about climate change with our own children can feel hard for many parents. It’s natural to want to protect kids from harm and worry. But if your child is a certain age, chances are they are already hearing about climate change, whether at school, online or…, 1. Do your homework, No one has all the answers about climate change and it’s okay if you don’t either. There are many reliable resources available online including talks, videos and articles that can help you brush up on the science. NASA has some great child-friendly resources on the topic. Speak with other parents to find out how they approach the topic with their…, 2. Listen, To start the conversation about climate change with your child, find out what they already know and how they feel about the topic. You might be surprised by how much your child already knows and can express. Use it as a chance to listen to their fears and hopes for the planet. Give them your full attention and don’t dismiss or try to minimize any…, 3. Use simple science, You know your child best, so make sure the information is appropriate for them. A good starting point can be to find ways to relate climate change to their daily lives and explore the basic facts together. For example: “Humans are burning fossil fuels like coal and oil to run cars, fly planes and light homes. These all release greenhouse gases…, 4. Go outside!, Try to expose your child to nature as much as possible. Encouraging them to play outside helps nurture their enjoyment of and respect for nature. When you’re outside together pause and point out interesting sights, whether it’s a tree, a cloud, a cobweb or a bird. The simple act of slowing down and taking the time to appreciate nature can help…, 5. Focus on solutions, For every problem you discuss, try to show a solution. Explore with your child examples of people who are working on ways to address climate change. Discuss positive and inspiring stories you see on the news or in your own community. Talk about what steps you are taking as a family, such as reducing waste in your home, saving water, recycling, or…, 6. Empower action, Young people around the world are taking climate action into their own hands and to the doorstep of governments . Others are building new ways to use energy more efficiently, sharing solutions on social media and walking in weekly climate marches. Let your child know that many young people are standing up for our planet and they can too. If they…
06 June 2023

How play strengthens your child’s mental health

Play is how young children learn and make sense of the world around them. While they are having fun, they are working on critical parts of their development like building motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. But the power of play extends beyond early learning: it also plays a key role in building your child’s mental health – and yours…, Play helps to strengthen the bond between you and your child, Sharing in joyful moments of fun and learning helps bring children and their caregivers closer together. As your little one's first playmate, you have the ability to provide opportunities for learning and connection right at home. When you play together, you get to see the world from your child’s perspective. By providing your child with love,…, Play helps reduce stress levels, Playing games, dancing and singing are great ways to relieve stress for both your child and you. When you’re enjoying fun moments and laughing together, your body releases endorphins that promote a feeling of well-being. Even short periods of play together can serve as a powerful reminder for adults of their ability to support their child, and…, Play helps children process difficult emotions, When children are dealing with complex emotional issues, it often shows up in their play. Giving children space to play allows them to work through feelings such as pain, fear or loss while being able to still act like a child. Play gives them a way to express things they are struggling with that they don’t yet have the words to fully explain. By…, Play helps to build confidence, Solving problems and coming up with creative solutions during a game or while working on a puzzle give children a sense of accomplishment and competence. When you take time to play with your child, your little one is learning that they are valued and fun to be around. It is important that you give your full attention during playtime and invest in…
23 February 2022

How to recognize signs of distress in children

Children have different reactions to adverse events in their environment. Culture influences the ways in which we express emotions. In some cultures, for example, it is not appropriate to show strong emotions like crying loudly, while in others it is widely accepted.  Some signs of distress may not be so obvious. Here are some of the signs of…, Common reactions to stress in children, Many of these reactions only last for a short time, and are normal reactions to stressful events. If these reactions last for a prolonged period of time, the child may need specialist support.   Age Reaction 0-3 years Clinging to their caregivers more than normal Regressing to former (younger) behaviours Changes in sleeping and eating patterns…, Emotional check-ins, The COVID-19 pandemic has been an emotionally difficult time for everyone and many children have been greatly affected. You should check in regularly on how your child is feeling. To check-in emotionally is to ask children “how they are” in a direct or indirect way. One check-in method is to ask your child to draw or paint a picture. Ask them to…, Activities to reduce stress and support your child’s well-being, These activities can be done with your child to help reduce stress and provide them with positive coping strategies that support their well-being. These activities are also beneficial for you and can be done with your child together.  Belly breathing Often when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow, high in our chests, and we forget to…
12 January 2022

What we know about the Omicron variant

People around the world are concerned about the Omicron variant of COVID-19. We’ve gathered the latest expert information about this new variant and will continue to update this article as more information becomes available. For more tips and information on COVID-19, see our  COVID-19 guide for parents . Last updated: 17 December 2021  , What is the Omicron variant? , The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by WHO based on the evidence that it has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves. There is still substantial uncertainty regarding Omicron and a lot of research underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk., How did the Omicron variant develop? , When a virus is circulating widely and causing numerous infections, the likelihood of the virus mutating increases. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more opportunities it has to undergo changes. New variants like Omicron are a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is therefore essential that people get the…, Where is the Omicron variant present? , The Omicron variant has now been detected in many countries around the world. WHO reports that Omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet., Is the Omicron variant more severe than other COVID-19 variants? , Early findings suggest that Omicron might be less severe than the Delta variant, but more data is needed and WHO warns that it should not be dismissed as “mild”. Studies are ongoing and this information will be updated as it becomes available.  It is important to remember that all variants of COVID-19 can cause severe disease or death, including…, Is the Omicron variant more contagious? , Omicron is spreading more quickly than other variants. Based on the information available, WHO believes it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where there is COVID-19 transmission in the community.  However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a…, Does the Omicron variant cause different symptoms?  , There is no information to suggest that Omicron causes different COVID-19 symptoms from other COVID-19 variants., Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective against the Omicron variant?  , Researchers are looking into any potential impact the Omicron variant has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Information is still limited, but there may be a small reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness and death, and a decline in preventing mild disease and infection. However, WHO reports that so far it looks…, Is a prior COVID-19 infection effective against the Omicron variant?, WHO reports that early evidence suggests that previous infection could offer less protection against Omicron in comparison to other variants of concern, such as Delta. Information is still limited though and we will share updates as it becomes available. You should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover…, Do current COVID-19 tests detect the Omicron variant? , The widely used PCR and antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests continue to detect infection of COVID-19, including Omicron., Are children more likely to contract the Omicron variant? , Research is ongoing into Omicron’s transmissibility and we will update as more information becomes available. However, people who are mixing socially and those who are unvaccinated are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19., How can I protect myself and my family against the Omicron variant?, The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to:  Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Make sure that your hands are clean when you put on and remove your mask. Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others.  Avoid poorly ventilated or…, How can I talk to my child about the Omicron and other COVID-19 variants?, News about COVID-19 and now the Omicron variant is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some pointers to keep in mind tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.  Children have a right to know what is going on, but it…
10 January 2022

Navigating pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has clouded this time with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Here is the latest information on pregnancy, COVID-19 and vaccines, as well as expert tips on how to have a safe pregnancy during the pandemic., Jump to:, Understanding my risk How to protect myself Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding COVID-19 vaccines and fertility If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby? Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups? Giving birth in hospital Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?…, I'm pregnant. Am I at higher risk from COVID-19?, Pregnant women do not seem to be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, you are at higher risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19 while pregnant. You are also at higher risk of delivering your baby prematurely if you get COVID-19. That’s why it’s important you – and people around you – take precautions to protect against COVID-19.…, What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while pregnant?, Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. To help protect yourself and people around you: Consider vaccination in consultation with your healthcare provider. Wear a mask where physical distancing from others is not possible. Keep a physical distance from others and avoid poorly ventilated or…, Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant. While there is less data available on vaccination of pregnant people, evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy has…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?, Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that…, I plan to have a child. Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant., If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby?, We still do not know if the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her unborn or newborn baby. To date, active COVID-19 (virus that causes infection) has not been found in fluid in the womb or breastmilk. The best thing you can do is to take all necessary precautions to prevent yourself from contracting COVID-19. If you’re pregnant or have just…, Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups?, Many expectant mothers are fearful of going to appointments while they are taking precautions, such as staying home and practicing physical distancing when outside. Find out what options are available to you from your healthcare provider. After your child is born, it is also important to continue receiving professional support and guidance,…, I was planning on giving birth in a hospital or healthcare clinic. Is this still a good option?, The risk involved depends on where you live. For the safest option for you, it is important to speak to the healthcare professional who is supporting you through your pregnancy and birth. They will be able to advise you on the risks and the safest option depending on your personal situation and local health care system., Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?, While policies vary by country, you should have someone nearby to support you, as long as the proper precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask while in the delivery room and washing hands. As Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives, told us: “I can understand that you want to reduce the number of people with a…, I’m feeling incredibly anxious about giving birth. What should I do to cope?, The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful and uncertain time for everyone, and especially for those about to give birth. Having a plan in place for your birth can help ease feelings of anxiety by giving you more of a sense of control, but also recognize that some aspects may need to change depending on the situation where you live. Your plan…, What questions should I be asking my healthcare provider?, It is important to establish a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider. “All of those questions that have to do with you and your health, I would ask them freely,” says Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives. “If you have an open relationship with your healthcare provider – with your midwife, with your…, I have COVID-19. What should I expect during pregnancy or childbirth?, If you have or suspect you may have COVID-19, it is important to seek medical care early and follow instructions from your health care provider. Remember that you and your child have the right to high quality care throughout your pregnancy and after childbirth. You should be supported to: Breastfeed safely (see breastfeeding tips during COVID-19)…, I have COVID-19. Can I safely breastfeed my baby?, Yes. Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date, so there is no reason to stop or avoid breastfeeding. If you have or suspect you may have the COVID-19 virus, it is important to seek medical care early and follow instructions from your health care provider.…, Once I have given birth, what can I do to protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?, The level of risk involved depends on where you live. As a starting point, check for any relevance guidance from your local authorities. You should take more precautions in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission and lower levels of vaccinations. If the risk is higher where you live, then consider sticking to just your family and not…
25 October 2021

How to talk to your children about COVID-19 vaccines

News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.  , 1. Make sure you’re up to date yourself, Before talking to your children about COVID-19 vaccines, it is important that you understand them yourself. A great place to start is our conversation with Dr. Mike Varshavski. >> What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines  , 2. Ask and listen, Invite your child to share what they have heard about COVID-19 vaccines and listen to their responses. It is important to be fully engaged and take any fears they have seriously. Be patient, the pandemic and misinformation has caused a lot of worry and uncertainty for everyone. Let them know that they can always talk to you or another trusted…, 3. Be honest with them, Children have a right to know what is going on, but it should be explained to them in an age-appropriate way. Keep in mind that kids take their emotional cues from adults, so even if you are worried for your little one knowing that they might be uncomfortable, try not to overshare your fears with your child. Play can be a helpful tool for working…, 4. Answer their questions, Here are some kid-friendly responses to keep in your back pocket for questions your child may have about COVID-19 vaccines: What is a vaccine? A vaccine is like a shield that protects you from an illness. How do vaccines work? Vaccines teach your body how to fight off illnesses. They do that by putting a tiny piece of the germ that causes the…