New babies are so exciting! Our families and friends want to see, touch and sniff them when they are tiny. Strangers want to touch your baby and talk to you about them. As the mom of an infant I was proud of them and wanted to share them with the world. As a nurse I knew that I needed to shield my tiny babies from the germs those loving folks were carrying. I want to share with you some tips to protect your baby during cold and flu season while not putting a strain on your relationships.
Be on alert and vigilant for the first 8 weeks of your baby’s life. It is so difficult for a newborn to fight off the nasty germs of a cold and flu so prevention is key.
Carry disinfecting wipes and use them! Before you or your baby touch a grocery cart wipe it down. Give the bottom inside of the cart a quick wipe before you set your infant carrier inside and then wipe the sides and the handle well. Do not rely upon stores to have the wipes readily available as those front displays often run out.
Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer readily available. This absolutely is not a replacement for washing your hands with good old fashioned soap and water but we can not always run to a sink when we are in public so the hand sanitizer will have to suffice.
Take the time to disinfect doorknobs and light switches in your home as often as you can. Germs gather there.
When you come home from work, or your older kids come home from school, change your clothes and wash your hands immediately.
Teach everyone to turn their face away from the infant when coughing or sneezing. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue is ideal (then disposing of it and hand washing) but if you are unable to do this try the crook of your arm.
Your job is to protect your baby. If you have a sick family member or friend you are going to have to develop your skills at saying no if they want to visit your infant. Explain kindly and firmly that you are trying to keep them healthy and they are welcome to visit and hold your baby when they are healthy. If a sick person comes to visit simply deposit your infant safely in their bed and urge them to come again when they are feeling well. It is more important to protect your baby that it is to protect feelings.
Put a simple sign on your infant carrier to stop friends, family and strangers from touching your baby.