18 June 2021

How to build your baby's mental health: Mini Parenting Master Class

When should I start thinking about my baby's mental health? How can I promote positive mental health in my family? Psychologist and child development expert Dr. Lisa Damour answers these questions and more., Transcript of “How to build your baby's mental health: Mini Parenting Master Class” video, New babies are a lot of work, and parents experience a wide range of emotions when they have a new baby. They feel joy, frustration, fatigue and nervousness. There's no reason to be frightened of having mixed emotions about a new baby. Hi, I'm Dr. Lisa Damour, and this is my Mini Parenting Masterclass on how to build your baby's mental health.  , I’m about to become a parent. What should I expect in terms of emotions and stress?, Becoming a parent for the first time is a huge transition. It will change everything you do. Every aspect of your life will be different now. And one of the things that we know about stress is that it happens any time we have to adapt to new conditions. And adapting to a new baby is a new condition. So expect stress. That doesn't mean anything is…, At what age should I start thinking about my child’s mental health?, You should start thinking about your child's mental health right from the moment you meet. From the very beginning, your child will look to you for love, learning and safety. When you provide your child a warm and tender relationship, help them to feel protected, comfort them when they're upset and help them navigate the world, that's how you lay…, How does stress affect the emotional development of my child?, There's a stress response that gets activated when babies become frightened or they worry that someone has forgotten them or their needs aren't getting met. Our job as parents is to help them to calm that stress response. When that stress response has calmed, everything goes back to normal and your baby actually learns that the world is a safe and…, How can I learn to show affection and love to my child if I did not grow up with those things myself?, Parenting is hard. It's something that everybody has to learn how to do. And it's something that we can actually do a really good job with if we set our minds to it. There's so much to focus on in becoming a new parent. Here are the things that will make a huge difference and will help make sure that you give your child what you wish you had had…, How can I promote positive mental health in my family?, Decades of research have taught us that what children need are two things: They need home to be warm and they need to feel like people around there like them and they need life at home to be predictable. They need to know what to expect. They need a good sense of structure and reliability around them. So for the warmth part, enjoy your baby, enjoy…, Is it okay for me to show emotions like being angry or sad in front of my children?, You are your child's first teacher and your child's going to learn all about feelings from you. So when you have feelings, especially painful ones, you're going to want to think about how you express them, to express them in a way that is honest but not overwhelming or frightening. And then you're going to want to model how you manage having a…, What should I do when I feel overwhelmed?, What are some coping techniques for dealing with stress. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you should definitely take time to manage your own stress and there are lots of good ways to cope with stress to help bring it under control. First make sure you've got good social support. Everyone needs somebody to tell their worries to, and a person or a…
29 April 2021

What you need to know about vaccines

Vaccines save 2 to 3 million lives each year. They are essential tools for protecting ourselves and our communities. However, getting a child's first vaccines can cause a lot of anxiety for parents. We’ve rounded up the most commonly asked questions about these medical marvels to get you and your family the information you need., What are vaccines?, Vaccines are products that are usually given in childhood to protect against serious, often deadly diseases. By stimulating your body’s natural defenses, they prepare your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively. >> What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines  , How do vaccines work?, Vaccines help your immune system fight infections more efficiently by sparking your immune response to specific diseases. Then, if the virus or bacteria ever invades your body in the future, your immune system will already know how to fight it.  , Are vaccines safe?, Vaccines are very safe. Your child is far more likely to be hurt by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing, including clinical trials, before they are approved for the public. Countries will only register and distribute vaccines that meet rigorous quality and safety standards.  , What are live vaccines?, Live vaccines contain a version of a living virus or bacteria that has been attenuated (weakened). They teach the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria but because they are weakened, they do not cause disease in people with healthy immune systems.  , Why are vaccines important?, Vaccines save lives – 2 to 3 million per year, in fact. Vaccines will help protect your child against diseases that can cause serious harm or death, especially in people with developing immune systems like infants. It’s important to vaccinate your child. If not, highly contagious diseases such as measles, diphtheria and polio, which were once…, Can my baby handle all of these vaccines?, Yes. Many parents worry that multiple vaccines will overload their child’s immune system. But children are exposed to hundreds of germs every day. In fact, a common cold or sore throat will put a greater burden on your child’s immune system than vaccines., But these diseases are not present in my community. Why do I still need to vaccinate my child?, Although the diseases may be eliminated in your country or region, our increasingly interconnected world means that these diseases could spread from areas where they are still present.  , What is herd immunity?, If enough people in your community are immunized against a certain disease, you can reach something called herd immunity. When this happens, diseases can’t spread easily from person to person because most people are immune. This provides a layer of protection against the disease even for those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants. Herd…, Can a vaccine cause my baby to get sick?, Vaccines are extremely safe and serious side effects are rare. Almost all sickness or discomfort after vaccination is minor and temporary, such as a soreness at the injection site or mild fever. These can often be controlled by taking over-the-counter pain medication as advised by a doctor, or applying a cold cloth to the injection site. If…, What diseases do vaccines prevent?, Vaccines protect your child against serious illnesses like polio, which can cause paralysis; measles, which can cause brain swelling and blindness; and tetanus, which can cause painful muscle contractions and difficulty eating and breathing, especially in newborns.  >> Read Vaccines and the diseases they prevent  , Can I delay the vaccine schedule?, One of the best ways you can protect your child is to follow the recommended vaccine schedule in your country. Any time you delay a vaccine, you’re increasing your child’s vulnerability to disease.  , Can I let my child get the chickenpox instead of getting the vaccine?, Although chickenpox is a mild disease that many parents will remember from childhood (the vaccine was introduced in 1995), some children will develop serious cases with complications that can be fatal or cause permanent disabilities. The vaccine eliminates the risk of complications from the disease, and prevents children from infecting their…, What is the recommended vaccine schedule?, Immunization schedules vary by country depending on which diseases are most prevalent. You can find an overview of the recommended vaccines and approximate dates from your local health centre, doctor or your government’s Ministry of Health.   >>  Learn more about vaccines
29 April 2021

Routine vaccinations during COVID-19: What parents need to know

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought with it fear and uncertainty. Many parents are asking about when there will be a COVID-19 vaccine and what to do about routine childhood vaccinations during the pandemic. We're here to provide answers to your most common questions.  , When will the vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) be available?, Developing a safe and effective vaccine takes time, but thanks to the unprecedented investment in research and development and global cooperation, scientists have been able to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 in record time, while still maintaining robust, evidence-based and rigorous regulatory standards. On 31 December 2020, WHO listed the…, Should my child still get routine vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic?, While COVID-19 is disrupting our daily lives, the short answer is yes, do try to get your child vaccinated where services are available. It is important that children and babies keep their vaccinations up to date because they protect them from serious diseases. It means that when your children can return to interacting with other children, they’ll…, What do you think we can learn from this outbreak? What can it teach us about other diseases and the decision to vaccinate?, This outbreak reminds us of how valuable vaccines are. It shows us that when there is a vaccine available for a disease, we should keep our children and ourselves up to date with that vaccination.  Without the protection of vaccines, diseases can spread quickly and with terrible consequences. For example, measles and other diseases remain a…, How do vaccines work?, Vaccines help train our immune system to fight infections by introducing an inactivated form of a germ (bacteria or virus) into the body. Since it is inactivated, it cannot make us sick. However, it triggers our body’s immune system to produce defences called antibodies. Then, if you ever catch the germ, your body’s immune system will already know…, Where can I find the latest guidance on vaccinations?, Contact your health care provider, consult your local and national health authority websites and follow guidance provided by  WHO  and  UNICEF .  , How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?, Some of the precautions you and your family can take to help avoid infection include: Washing your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. If you sneeze or cough, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or a tissue. Dispose of used tissue immediately. Avoid…, I have a newborn to 1-year-old. How can I protect my baby from COVID-19?, In addition to all of the advice already given to parents about hand washing, physical distancing and maintaining hygiene practices, they should take extra care to protect infants from infection. Breastfeed your baby if possible. There is currently no proven research that breastmilk can transmit the virus, but you should take the usual hygiene and…, What should I do if my child is showing symptoms of COVID-19? Is it safe to take her to the doctor?, If your child has a sore throat, a cough or a fever, call your doctor or health service for advice before bringing them in. They may have a special arrangement at the clinic to minimise spread of infection to others. If your child has more serious symptoms, like shortness of breath or seems unusually sick, call the emergency number or take them to…, Should I get my child tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?, You don’t need to have your child tested if he or she is healthy and not showing any symptoms (such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing). Do also make sure to take all key steps to protect your family against COVID-19. >>  Learn more about v accines This article was originally published on 23 April 2020. It was last updated on 14 January…