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The sensitive skin of newborn babies needs to be protected from every harmful effect of heat, cold or moisture. Keeping your baby away from direct sunlight between 10 am to 4 pm is a good idea. However, morning sunlight for newborn babies can be good in many ways. The UV rays provide great health benefits especially when proper care and attention is given to the baby.
Health Benefits of Sunlight for a Newborn
These are the health benefits of sunlight for your bundle of joy:
- More Vitamin D:
This is one of the biggest benefits your baby will get if he receives proper sunlight. Our body needs Vitamin D and to create it, it requires a minimum of 15 minutes of UV rays every day. This essential vitamin aids the body to absorb calcium which in turn strengthens bones and teeth. The immune system works efficiently, and the body is protected from many diseases.
2. Better Serotonin Levels:
Sunlight is known to augment the production of serotonin when babies receive it in the necessary quantity. Serotonin, often called the “happy hormone”, boosts the feeling of happiness and security. Lower serotonin levels can give rise to anger issues, depression and development issues. It regulates sleep, digestion and controls depression.
3. Enhanced Insulin Levels:
When a baby receives sunlight from an early age, it can help in preventing conditions like diabetes to a certain extent. Though it does not stop diabetes completely, it can prove to be a useful partner when coupled with proper diet and exercise during growing years and adult life. Vitamin D helps manage insulin levels and sunlight is a great facilitator for creating vitamin D in the baby’s body.
4. Healthy Nervous System:
Our body needs Vitamin D to have a robust nervous system right from our childhood. It helps improve our life quality by developing the nervous system completely and sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D for a baby. It will help avoid serious illness and chronic pain in the future and help in improving the general quality of life.
5. Improves Blood Clotting:
When we get injured, blood flows out of the wound and leads to some amount of blood loss. If our body has enough Vitamin D and K, it helps in stopping the blood flow by clotting it. Similarly, your baby’s body needs blood clotting abilities to keep it away from this serious risk. By giving it direct sunlight, you will help it to manage such risks. Vitamin D balances blood clotting by maintaining the right blood pressure and ensuring blood clots are just enough for the body.
6. Manages Jaundice Or Yellowing Of The Skin:
The unchecked growth of bilirubin and the inefficient functioning of the liver are the primary causes of yellowing of skin in a new-born baby. By providing early morning sunlight for new-born jaundice can be contained effectively. The blue light spectrum is useful in reducing the bilirubin levels in a newborn’s body and prevents further complications from arising.
7. Higher Energy:
When a newborn baby is exposed to natural sunlight, it helps to regulate the production of melatonin. Melatonin levels in the baby can impact its sleep pattern which is important for the new-born during its early years. The increase of melatonin levels can lead to lower energy levels. Exposure to the sun helps the body to produce more of this hormone especially during early hours of the day.
Tips to Gain Maximum Benefit of Sunlight for your Baby
Now that you know new-borns and sunlight share a therapeutic relationship, here are a few tips to maximize its benefits:
1. Pick the Right Time:
Make sure your baby is exposed to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes between 7 to 9in the morning to draw maximum benefits. An hour after sunrise and an hour prior to sunset is considered to be the best time to expose your baby to sunlight. Since the baby’s skin is sensitive a maximum of 10-15 minutes is enough to reap rich rewards from this power Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage your baby’s skin membrane, causing redness, burning and irritation.
2. Use Minimum Clothing:
It is important that the baby’s entire body, including the chest and back, receives equal attention. So, ensure that your child isn’t fully clothed. Shield your little one’s eyes if possible to avoid any chances of damage to them.
3. Chooses the Right Location:
It is not necessary that your baby’s sunbathing is carried out in a completely open space. Open a window that can stream sunlight in or place the baby in the room with natural sunlight. If it is windy, it is best to keep the baby indoors to avoid dust or other foreign bodies from affecting its eyes. Your baby can bask in the sunlight through a clear glass window so choose wisely.
4. Premature Babies Need Attention:
In case your baby is premature, do not expose it to sunlight during the initial few weeks. The baby may not be able to adjust to the warm temperature and this could prove unsafe for it. Pre-term babies need a stable body temperature and hence should be kept away from direct sunlight in the initial periods.
5. Sensitive Skin Needs Care:
If your baby has sensitive skin, check with your doctor if it is ok to expose him to direct sunlight. By doing so, you may damage the baby’s skin as it could dry the skin, leading to rashes, peeling or general irritation.
6. There are No Age Barriers to Sunbathing:
Did you know the process of bone formation happens until the teenage years? Since vitamin D is vital for bone formation, exposure to sunlight is mandatory at all ages. For newborn babies, it helps in managing bilirubin levels if it is done in the first few weeks.
7. Pre-Bath Cleaning can be Detailed:
Your baby can receive its daily dose of sunlight before it has its bath. This will help you to clean areas that are overlooked like folds of the stomach, thighs, feet and areas behind the ears. Use baby oil soaked cotton balls to do this and bathe the baby after this is done.
8. Watch Body Temperature:
Any excess increase in the baby’s body temperature due to prolonged exposure to sunlight should ring alarm bells. The baby’s body and brain functions can be affected by high temperature, so the duration and temperature have to be careful.
9. Use the Time Wisely:
While your baby is enjoying its time in the soft sunlight, you should use the opportunity to connect with the baby. You can massage the baby lightly with baby oil to give it additional protection against skin problems. Caressing the baby creates a feeling of security and warmth and promotes good health. Make sure you speak to the baby the entire time and build a foundation for future communication between you and your child. This well-utilized time has many physical and emotional benefits for both, the child and the mother.
Now that you understand the powerful physical and emotional benefits of sunlight exposure for your little ones, it is time to implement it. You will have to consider your baby’s skin condition and general health before you do so. It is preferable to use early morning sunlight for this purpose. Make sure you join your baby for this glorious sunbath whenever possible. Sunlight is available in abundance for most of us and we should utilize it to the maximum for health-related benefits.