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3 Reasons We Need to Keep Talking About Newborn Health

April 11, 2013

Being a mom is hard work. I only have one child, but as he grows life just seems to become busier and busier. He is now at full time preschool, starting school in September, I work nearly full time, and have lots of other things on the go as well.

Sometimes it is really easy to get caught up in your own life, your own world and forget about the bigger picture. The Global Newborn Health Conference (#Newborn2013) running from 15th-18th April, in South Africa, reminds us of the importance of newborn health.

So why is it important for all of us, especially moms to keep talking about newborn health?

Reason 1

When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time being happy, thinking about the future with my new baby, about things like what pram I would buy, where he would sleep and what every day life would be like with a newborn. I never really expected anything other than a healthy baby. My little boy was born at 27 weeks gestation and weighed 650 grams.

We were very lucky. Joseph was born in a country where hospital care is second to none. I was well looked after, and so was he. He spent 3 months in hospital and came home with us, healthy and happy and is now nearly 4 years old.

What we forget, or perhaps are not even aware of is that in many places in the world, newborns that here, would be relatively straight forward to treat safely, die. It's stark and its hard to talk about, but that's the truth. There is an acceptance that in some countries in the world infant mortality is high. It shouldn't be that way.

Reason 2

Many of the solutions to ensure babies are born healthy and stay healthy are not expensive, some are free. Good nutrition is key, also encouraging women to delay childbirth until their bodies are ready, and space their pregnancies out, placing less pressure on their bodies.

Good infection control, access to safe sanitation and clean places to give birth and take care of young ones is essential. Access to safe water supplies, and safe methods of delivery of water is very important.

Once the baby is born simple things like kangaroo care (holding your baby skin-to-skin), baby wearing and breastfeeding are so important to help secure the safety of these precious little ones.

Reason 3

Alone we are powerless, together, we form a strong voice. We can get involved in campaigning, we can donate to efforts to help newborns, we can act locally, like getting involved in mother and baby groups. Newborns at threat don't just happen in places far away. Support your mom friends and make new ones. Find out about charities in your area that need volunteers, some only need a couple of hours of your time a week.

Make your voice heard. Organisations love to hear from moms, writing letters, blogs, emails, shouting loudly about these issues. Every baby's life is important, and everyone has a role to play. Even you.

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