How to Protect Your Newborn from germs and infections
For nine months, protecting your little one from germs is easy peasy. Sheltered and safely sealed in his snug uterine cocoon, your baby can’t catch a virus from people coughing on the streets, or from friends and family who try to kiss and touch those tiny hands before washing their own.
Fast forward to your baby’s life in the real world, especially in the first few months, you soothe their cries, and you have tears of joy when they first smile. They rely on you for everything, and you want to protect them from everything, but how do you take care of their fragile immune system from germs, flu, and other viruses once he touches those surfaces, or has his rosy cheeks kissed by visitors who come bearing germs along with flowers and presents?
Babies-especially infants are like a fortress with very few soldiers inside, infections and viruses can easily attack them and they may get very sick from otherwise minor illnesses like the common cold and flu that are very inconvenient. Sometimes the illnesses can get downright serious and even life-threatening because they haven’t had time to build up an immune response to these illnesses, which makes them vulnerable. Parents need to protect their new baby from unnecessary germ exposure especially if the baby is born during cold and flu season.
The good news is, you don’t need to hibernate all winter with your baby(unless you want to!) instead follow these super easy steps to provide your baby with some much-needed protection.
Make handwashing rule # 1
The most common way to spread infections is by touch so you should always wash your hands before coming in contact with your baby, using the bathroom, changing the diaper, preparing food, or coming home from outside. Insist that anyone who wants to pick up your baby washes their hands first, they may find it rude but your priority should be your baby’s protection. It is not an unreasonable request because we are all exposed to germs and keeping the hands clean protects everyone. Decreasing the number of germs your baby comes in contact with will help protect his immune system until it fully develops.
Limit visitors to close family and friends only. Defending your baby’s health is more important so it’s better to let the ones in who are highly helpful and low maintenance. Don’t make exceptions for anyone, if someone has a cough they need to be cough-free before seeing your baby.
Always keep a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes nearby
Simple yet effective and, a great way to prevent infection
Remember to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you so that you can use it before touching your baby when hand washing isn’t an option or when you are out and about. It will cut down the number of germs your baby can come into contact with.
Steer clear of crowded places
When you have got a newborn, you need to practice crowd control because there is always a possibility someone might be sick. So when your baby is an infant, at least till the age of 3 months, you may want to avoid crowded places like malls, cafes, and large family gatherings especially those with lots of kids.
Keep your baby covered with a blanket when out
If you have to make a quick trip to the mall or any other public place, keep your baby in the pram with a soft Minky blanket over the opening. This will help your baby snooze better and will prevent strangers from being tempted to touch or worse-kiss!
Breastfeed if you can
Colostrum is useful in the first few days before the actual milk comes in to protect your child after he is born. it is filled with white blood cells and antibodies to help build up your child's immune system by carrying the mother’s immunity. Colostrum keeps the bacteria out of the baby by coating the intestine. (and if your baby gets baby acne or a blocked nose, ask your baby’s doctor about pumping a drop or two of breastmilk into a dropper, and putting it right onto the skin and in the nose to provide instant relief.
Breastmilk is packed with all sorts of factors such as prebiotics, WBC’s, enzymes, and antibodies that will help build up your child's immune system and keep him safe from illnesses that could make him sick, but remember, breastmilk is not a magic potion, your child could still get sick, but it does provide extra protection that formula milk cannot.
That being said, there are lots of women who are unable to breastfeed for any number of reasons. If you are unable to breastfeed, talk to your child’s pediatrician about which formula is best suited for your baby.
Get rid of unfinished milk
Whether you feed your baby formula or breast milk in a bottle, throw out leftover milk as bacteria from your baby’s saliva can go into the bottle and cause contagions.
Never leave formula unrefrigerated or more than an hour, on the other hand, breast milk can be kept at room temperature for 6 hours because it is loaded with substances that keep bacteria at bay.
Keep your baby and his inner circle up with vaccines
Keep your baby up to date with vaccines especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
We are exceptionally blessed to no longer have tens of thousands of babies passing away from meningitis, rotavirus, and measles. Make sure your baby starts his vaccines as soon as possible so that he is fully protected. Some illnesses like influenza, whooping cough are very dangerous in the first months of life.
That is why it is vital that everyone that takes care of your baby needs to be up to date with all of their vaccines. You want to create a “cocoon” for him where everyone in his ‘circle” is up to date with their vaccines so that your little one stays protected.
If you have any concerns about vaccines, talk them over with your child’s doctor. This article is not meant to be medical advice, always consult with your doctor.