If you are expecting a baby, or know someone who is due, rather than shower them with flowers this Mother’s Day, gift them a newborn care class. A test is required for everything from graduating from school/college to learning how to drive a car, and it is surprising that there is no training of any nature for new parents who are thrown into the whirlwind that is child care. “We give a lot of importance to birthing and lactation classes but barely anything on newborn care,” says Rayane Mithun, founder of Littlest Love, which offers newborn care classes.
She explains how once new parents take the baby home, they are overwhelmed with what to do. “It feels like our safety blanket has been pulled from under us. While looking after a baby is a skill you learn on the go, it’s better to learn before the baby arrives - when you are calmer and more alert,” adds Rayane, who covers topics such as sleep science, safe sleep practices, how to deal with basic sickness, among other things in her workshops.
Opinion | Maternal health matters
As an expert on premature births, Rayane explains the many dos and don’ts to follow for preemie parents. Low birth weight babies have less body fat, and as fat cells keep the body warm, the child can get cold and even turn blue during a bath. This is called hypothermia, she says. So, if a bath is given, it must be brief and only after they reach the 2 kg mark. “Ensure you are up to date with your baby’s vaccination and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) screening - an eye disease common among premature babies,” says Rayane. As for the don’ts, avoid overdressing/underdressing them, and avoid public places and visitors as they have low immunity. “Don’t put them to sleep on their side or stomach, but on their back.”
Rayane clarifies that it’s a myth that preemies are always born with health problems. “They are at a higher risk for certain health problems, and not all are born with health issues. Some premature babies are born without any complications and go on to develop normally,” she clarifies. While many premature babies catch up to their peers by the time they reach school; some may continue to face developmental challenges. “It’s important for parents to closely monitor their child’s development and seek help if they notice any delays or concerns.”
A mother to two preemies, Rayane has had her share of learnings along the way. “Not everything goes to plan, you need to adapt fast and trust your maternal gut,” she says, adding that mothers are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for. “Boundaries are important for the baby, mother, and her mental health.” And lastly, “asking for help doesn’t make us bad mothers,” she concludes.
To book a slotfor the virtual workshops on May 11 and 12, get in touch with @littlestlove.rayanemithun on Instagram. ₹2,000 a session.