Keeping Your Newborn from Getting Sick

April 09, 2024

When you have a newborn, your friends and family will want to hold your baby and get a close-up view of your little miracle.

But newborns do not have fully developed immune systems to combat the many bugs, germs, viruses and bacteria that assault our bodies on a daily basis.

Typically, germs are spread either by human contact, from surfaces, and via respiratory droplets that become airborne from coughs and sneezes. And if someone who is sick just breathes on your baby, it could be enough to infect them.

Health care professionals recommend that you have a high threshold for anybody who may come into contact with your baby.

While visitors can make your child sick with the common flu or a cold, unfortunately today, there are new and novel rotaviruses and other bugs that could really do a number on your child. With that in mind, you need to take extra precautions during the sensitive period of the first two or three months of your baby's life.

 

Tips for keeping your baby healthy

  • If you have family or friends who want to visit, ask them how they feel. Are they sick, or starting to feel sick? Do they have a family member, especially a child at home, who is sick?  
  • If an adult is definitely healthy, make sure they wash their hands with hot water and soap before touching your baby.
  • While soap and water works well, the most effective solution is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. For the best effect, rub your hands together vigorously for about 20 seconds with the sanitizer after application.
  • Ask that anybody who will hold your baby not kiss them on their face. The top of the head is okay.
  • Try to keep other children away from your baby. They are not as savvy about knowing when they are coming down with something, and toddlers are rarely without a runny nose and they get their fingers into all types of messy stuff — not to mention their noses and mouths.
  • Older kids, perhaps seven or eight years old and up, can usually be trusted to wash their hands and look at the baby, but not necessarily handle him or her. So, ask them to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.

 

Many people will think that this is overkill, but it's worth preventing even a little cold with some simple precautions if at all possible. We all know, when babies get sick, they don't eat well, and often gag or even throw up when they are congested. They will sleep even worse and cry even more, and can suffer up to a week from even a common cold..

That said, don't get too stressed about protecting your baby. Germ exposure is also just part of growing up and builds up a baby's immune system. Once the body is infected by a specific virus, it learns how to make antibodies to fight it.



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