Keeping your baby away from direct sunlight indeed safeguards him from sunburn and other dangerous elements of the sun’s rays. But what about his supply of vitamin D, which is made by exposing the body to sunlight? Pagpapainit (exposing a newborn to early morning sunshine) is actually practiced by Filipinos for quite a long time now.
Backed up by her seven years of practice in Australia, aesthetic and wellness expert Dr. Rhoda Espino disapproves of the pagpapainit custom despite admitting that she herself was exposed to the sun when she was a baby. “It’s a different story now, especially that the [ozone layer has been depleted already]. The sun’s rays are not any more safe to our skin.”
Besides sunlight, people can also get vitamin D from certain foods, such as fish, milk, and eggs. Babies receive small amounts of vitamin D from breast milk but it is in a form that is easily absorbed and used by the baby’s body.
Everyone knows the indispensable role of the sun in our lives. We just cannot live without it. But as Dr. Espino says, the sun is very powerful and can be harmful to babies and even to adults, if no precautionary measures are observed. There are ways to get the maximum benefits of sunlight without hurting ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s be aware of that, so that next time we hear someone blurt out “Here comes the sun!” we can respond by singing, “It’s alright, it’s alright….”