Congratulations! Your new baby has arrived and you are happy! It is God who has given you this baby, and today is a day to thank Him for His goodness.
What are you going to call him? It’s important to choose a nice name. He will have it all his life! Perhaps you will choose a name with a special meaning, or one that reminds you of someone you love.
You have a new baby and so you have many new responsibilities. We have seen many new babies born – and grow up well and strong. We have also seen others who have had problems. So may we give you some advice today? We think it will help you. Here are some of the things you need to do for your new baby:
Feed him. God has given breast milk for mothers to feed their children. This is the best food. For the first few months this is the only food he needs.
Breast milk is much better than cow’s milk, or powdered milk – so please try to feed the baby this way, and ask help from the hospital if you have problems.
When the child is 6 months old you should start to introduce other foods. Please do not make “fady” the good foods he needs.
Milk, eggs, chicken, fish, meat, beans, peanuts, mangoes – these are all good foods for children. God does not say they are fady. God has provided them for us all.
Clothe him. Small children need careful clothing. When the weather is cold, put warm clothes on him. When the weather is hot, and especially if he has a fever, do not put too many clothes on him. Babies and small children are more sensitive to cold and hot than adults are.
Keep him clean. Children get dirty. Unfortunately there are many diseases that hide in the dirt. So you need to wash your child and teach him to keep clean. If he is dirty he will develop skin diseases, diarrhoea and other problems too. Pay careful attention to his hands. Teach him to wash them before eating. Cut his fingernails short, and keep them clean.
Have him vaccinated. Many childhood diseases can be prevented by vaccination. Measles, polio, tuberculosis, tetanus and other deadly diseases can be prevented. But you need to complete the course of vaccinations. Visit your local hospital or health post and ask when the vaccination days are. Do not neglect to protect your child in this way.
Treat him when he is sick. Sometimes your child will get sick. All children get sick. When he is sick take him to the doctor. Do not pray to the ancestors. They cannot help you. Be careful about some traditional remedies. Marigozy and many mangidy drinks are dangerous and should never be drunk. Go to the doctor. Do not wait until the illness becomes too serious.
Register him. Do not forget to go to the town hall to register his birth and get a birth certificate for him. Ask for the “notification of birth” paper that you need from the hospital.
Teach him. When your child is old enough, send him to school. He needs to learn to read and write. He needs to learn to count and many other things.
Teach him at home too. As your child grows up you will find that he is selfish. He does not need anyone to teach him to be selfish. There is selfishness in him even now. You need to teach him not to be selfish. Teach him to help others and to share with others. As he grows up he will tend to lie. You need to teach him to tell the truth. Do not beat him, but show him love and teach him. While he is still small, teach him to be polite, to be kind, to be honest and true. You need to teach him both with your words and with your example. He needs your love.
Teach him about God. This is the most important thing he needs to know. He is a child of his parents.
Like all of us he has inherited, from his parents, a selfish and sinful heart. As he grows up he will rebel against God and against God’s laws.
He needs to be taught that God, who made him, is holy and good. He needs to be taught that the sin in his heart has separated him from God.
The result of this, unless he is reconciled by God now, is that one day he will be punished forever. But that is not the end of the story. God has made a way for you, and your child, to be pardoned and reconciled with Himself.
God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us. Jesus too was born as a baby. He grew up in this world. He knows all the problems of life on this earth. Unlike us, however, He never sinned.
One day He was cruelly put to death – killed on a cross. His death was a special death, because He died for sinners – like you and me and your new baby.
He took our sin upon Himself He suffered the punishment of sin in our place.
Now if we repent of our sins, and trust in Jesus’ death for us, we can be forgiven, saved, and made ready for heaven.
Do you know this yourself?
This is the message your child needs to hear. It is called the Good News. Nothing else in the world is as important as this.
You can learn about it in the Bible. Make sure you have a Bible at home and read it to your child.
He can learn about the Good News in church and at Sunday school. Make sure your child attends a church where the Bible is taught.
Our prayer is that your child will grow up to know and love God and to trust and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is a verse from the Bible that you should learn and teach to your baby when he is old enough to understand:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”