Although you may wish to spend every waking hour with your child, this is not possible most of the time. With working parents and grandparents you may be looking for a childcare centre to leave your child at while you’re working or otherwise engaged.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a care centre for your child or children:
Visit the centre with your child to see what the premises are like
See whether the children look happy
Is there any artwork displayed in the building?
Are toilet areas clean and child-friendly?
Are there toys and equipment for the children to play with?
Try to learn as much as you can about what programme your child will be in and whether you will be allowed to visit at any time to see your child.
There’s some more detailed advice about looking for a childcare centre here.
For a list and contact information of all the child day care centres which have been granted provisional registration by the Department for Social Welfare Standards, click here.
Before they become operational, child day care centres can apply for a temporary permit. This only lasts for six months and, if they fit the criteria, they are granted provisional registration.
Your baby’s nutritional needs and eating habits change drastically as he or she grows. Breastfeeding gives your baby a great nutritional start and even helps improve your health. It changes over time to meet your baby’s needs and contains disease-fighting antibodies. If you are not at home or not always able to breastfeed your baby, you can use breast pumps and store the milk for bottle-feeding later in the day.
When you first move on to bottle-feeding formula milk, and unless there is a strong family history of milk allergy, the best option is to go for a standard milk-based formula.
As your child begins to grow, you can start introducing solid foods, mashing them at first. The best way to get your child eating healthily is to start from when they are young.
Pre-schoolers grow at a slower rate to infants and they don’t eat adult proportions, but they do need enough calories to fuel their active play and various stages of growth. It’s a good idea to plan some quiet time before meals as children tend to eat better if they are relaxed. Avoid giving your children too many sweetened drinks and sweets or chips as these have little or no nutritional value, harm teeth and can leave children full, leaving no room for good food.
Health and Safety tips for Parents
Your baby’s health and safety is the biggest responsibility you’ll face as a parent.
It’s a good idea to speak to your GP or paediatrician for some basic tips on checking if your baby has fever, has allergies, tummy problems or asthma, for example.
Immunisations are no fun for you or baby but they will help protect your little one from sickness. The Maltese Government offers free immunisation for children. Click here to find out how to get your child vaccinated and here for a list of vaccines in Malta, as well as at what age they should be administered to your child.
Because babies and children don’t understand the dangers of falling down the stairs or putting dirty things in their mouths, it’s important that parents take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Be sure to anchor large pieces of furniture to the floor to avoid them tipping over and avoid using table clothes which can easily be grabbed and pulled. Baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs can help prevent children crawling up and falling down the stairs. As a rule, keep sharp and small objects out of the reach of children.
When you take your child for a ride in your car, you will need a car safety seat as normal seatbelts are not secure enough. You can also engage special car safety locks for doors and windows, or have these installed in your car. A sticker on the back of your car advising other drivers you have little passengers will also warn them when driving in your vicinity.
Sadly, postnatal depression (PND) is very common. It hits at a time when a woman is supposed to be happy and content, and not depressed and anxious and possibly unable to enjoy her baby. You may feel very emotional and burst into tears often and for no apparent reason. It could be caused as a result of the shock of becoming mother or due to changed relationships with your partner or because you feel unable to cope.
The good thing is that PND gets better with time. Always consult your GP, psychiatrist or midwife but it also helps to speak to others, meet other parents and to take care of yourself.