This post was sponsored by Lifebuoy.

Dear Mom,

I know that your pregnancy with me wasn’t the easiest. I gave you a hard time; I made you throw up in dirty bathrooms and I made you pee in unknown places. I drained your energy and made you extremely uncomfortable during summer.

You endured lots of pain and discomfort for me but you always protected me.

You did simple tasks which helped keep me safe from germs and infections around me.

You washed your hands before touching me.

You washed your hands before feeding me.

You washed your hands after changing me.

I am sure that this may have seemed like it was nothing much but mommy, do you know that you saved me! You are my superhero!

Your hands… held me gently from the day I took my first breath.

Your hands… held me close when the tears would start to fall.

Your hands… were often there to comfort the hurts that didn’t always show.

Your hands … shaped me….

Your hands are the reason that I am me.

Life with a toddler Dear Mom, thank you for washing your hands!

Did you know?

There are over 2.5 million children in Africa alone who won’t reach the milestone age of five due to, in many cases, preventable illness such as diarrhoea and respiratory disease.

Babies are most vulnerable within the first 28 days after birth and studies have shown that 1 out of 3 babies in Africa don’t survive this early stage due to infections such as diarrhoea.

The stats are devastating but the truth is that encouraging healthy habits is not always as easy as it sounds. We sometimes forget to do a simple task like washing our hands after using the bathroom.

I guess that I have always known that washing hands is important, but I guess that I did not truly realise the magnitude. I mean really – we have been privileged enough to grow up with it. We open a tap and water comes out. We wash our hands. Do we really realise the impact that this actually has?

Put it this way how would you like someone who just used the bathroom, hasn’t washed their hands to touch you – or even your baby? Who knows where those hands have been! By encouraging good hygiene we can make a difference.

It is with this in mind that Lifebuoy has introduced a Neonatal Programme. This is to help raise the profile of the connection between new-born survival and washing hands with soap in communities across the globe – including South Africa. Improving neonatal survival rates ensures more children reach their fifth birthday.

Everybody wants to save the world – and now you can – by improving the mortality rate of the next generation.


The programme educates and empowers birth attendants and expectant moms on how to hygienically care for a new-born. A simple solution such as handwashing with soap and running water before touching a baby is an effective method of not spreading germs – germs that a new-born baby’s immune system is not yet developed enough to encounter.

Global Handwashing Day was on the 15th of October. This year, Lifebuoy, as part of Unilever brightFuture integrated schools programme, in partnership with UNICEF and the Department of Education will be celebrating by showcasing the success achieved through the school programme and taking forward the important message of implementing a healthy handwashing routine to the next generation.


1. Wash your hands before handling your newborn.

Young babies have not built up a strong immune system and are susceptible to infection. Therefore, it’s very important to frequently wash your hands, especially before feeding and after nappy changes. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby also has clean hands. It’s especially important to wash hands:

  • Before handling preterm babies
  • During the first week while umbilical cord is still attached
  • When anyone has a cough/cold
  • After returning from outside
  • After cleaning or touching the baby’s faeces;
  • After using the bathroom

2. Prevent diaper rash by changing your baby’s nappy frequently, and as soon as possible after bowel movements. Always remember to wash your hands with soap and running water after handling dirty nappies to stop the spread of infection.


3. Be careful when pets are around your newborn. Don’t leave your baby alone with pets or near pets. Make sure pets do not get into the crib with your baby. When your baby is very young, don’t allow the family dog or cat to lick your baby’s face. This could transmit infectious material (such as faeces) into the baby’s mouth or eyes. Make sure that anyone who has come into contact with your pets washes their hands thoroughly before touching your newborn.

4. Don’t expose your baby to large groups of people before 6 weeks old. The more people your baby is exposed to, the more likely it is that s/he will come in contact with someone who is sick, especially during flu season.

Ensure you prevent the spread of everyday infections such as common colds, flu and digestive disorders by adopting healthy hand washing routines – keeping yourself healthy is important when you are nursing a newborn.

washing your hands

5. Sanitise all parts of the bottles and feeding equipment (including breast pump attachments) to protect your new-born from microbes that could be ingested during feeding. To avoid contamination, it’s imperative to wash your hands when handling any of this equipment.

6. Improve your family’s health and develop a daily healthy hand washing routine. Teach the rest of the family to wash their hands with soap and running water – a simple splash under water is not effective in destroying germs, specifically at the five key occasions namely before breakfast, lunch and dinner, after using the bathroom and during bathing.

Visit the Lifebuoy website and follow the #High5forHandwashing on the Facebook page for more information.

Make a difference. Save a life. Teach your children the importance of washing hands.  Make it fun. Dramatize. Make it play … but most importantly MAKE IT HAPPEN….

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