Today we have a Cassie from All Out Blog taking over. She is a working Mum too, a nurse to be exact! Which these days I have no shortage of seeing and learning from! Why not have one guest blog for me right now. Makes perfect sense.
Be sure to stop by her site and check out what she’s teaching us.
Without further ado, take it away Cassie!
If you have had a baby before you know what happens, almost as soon as the baby is born, and if you haven’t had a baby yet, you are about to learn. It seems that once a baby is born, everyone focuses on the baby and forgets about mom. Everyone wants to visit and everyone wants to hold the baby, even those you haven’t seen in a while or have never come to your house (this is a pet peeve of mine, and a whole other post on it’s own, one day).
Babies are like novelty items. Everyone has to see them as soon as possible. This is not good for mom or the baby. Babies have very weak immune systems and even though they can get antibodies from mom through breastfeeding, they still need protected. The other unfortunate part about it is, because newborns are not mobile on their own, most illnesses come from being in contact with sick family members.
So, is there something you can do to protect your baby? Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes, and you have several options, so you can choose which ones work for you.
- Keep family away. This one is the best way to protect your baby, but the hardest for new parents to do. You don’t want to deprive your family members of seeing the new bundle of joy, but you also want to keep your baby from getting sick. You can always do video chats and send pictures. This is the great thing about cell phones and internet now.
- Flu season. If your baby is born during flu season (August-April), you should limit visitors. Anyone who is sick or is in contact with sick people should not visit. It is also important that everyone has their flu shot (along with TDaP booster for those taking care of the baby). If they don’t want to get their flu shot, at least keep those who are sick away from the new baby.
- Siblings who are in school. If a newborn comes to the hospital and is sick, one of the first questions we ask is “has the baby been around anyone who is sick”, if the answer to that is no, then we ask “is there an older sibling in the house that goes to daycare or school”. A lot of times if a baby is around an older sibling who has been in daycare or school, this is how the baby gets sick, even if the older child is not sick. Make sure the older child washes his or her hands before touching the baby when they come home.
- Wash hands. While we are on the subject of washing hands, everyone who comes into contact with the baby needs to wash their hands, frequently. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is by hand washing with soap, so stock up on soap before the baby is born. Everyone should was their hands before they touch the baby, after changing a diaper, after using the bathroom and before and after preparing food, eating, or making a bottle.
- Hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is a great alternative to washing their hands if they don’t want to wash their hands all the time. They should still wash their hands though when first arriving to your house and after using the bathroom.
- Limit how many visitors at one time. This will make your visitors spread out over several days, and this may seem more difficult than just having them all over at once, but this will ensure you can make sure everyone is doing as they should. If there are only a couple of people at your house at a time you can politely ask them to wash their hands. On the other hand, if there are 20 people at your house, you may not be able to keep track of who has washed their hands and when.
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. I don’t have much trouble with this one. You are there to protect your baby, so if you see someone isn’t washing their hands, politely ask them to. You are there to protect your baby, if they have a problem with that, then they don’t need to be there anyway.
- Ask that family don’t hold the baby. I understand that family members are all there for one reason and one reason only, to hold the baby, but you can ask that they don’t hold the baby. If they are sick, or it’s just the middle of cold and flu season and you don’t want to take the chance, just explain it to them. They will either understand or they won’t, and if they don’t understand then they don’t have the best interests of your baby in mind.
- Ask sick family to stay away. If you know that a family member is sick you have a right to ask that they stay away. You shouldn’t have to Lysol your house after they leave. Even if they just say “it’s probably just allergies”, it may not be. I actually had a family member tell me she didn’t want to come because her allergies were acting up, but she just wanted to make sure it wasn’t something else. If they really have the best interests of the baby at heart, they will understand.
- Make sure all vaccines are up to date. Siblings can bring home illnesses from school that could be prevented with a vaccine that your baby can’t get yet. Even parents can bring home Whooping Cough. Babies cannot get vaccinated for Whooping Cough until 2 months of age, but they can contract the illness from parents. It is recommended that all adults get the TDaP vaccine to help protect newborns.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor. If you think your baby is getting sick, schedule an appointment to see the doctor. Also, if you think your baby is getting sick, don’t be afraid to tell family to stay away until the baby is healthy again.
- Special consideration for premies. Premature babies need special consideration when it comes to being protected from illnesses. Sometimes they do not get to stay up to date on their vaccines because there are more pressing health issues. Premature babies also have much weaker immune systems. I am not saying that you have to avoid family coming over to visit, but you should be more diligent when it comes to washing your hands and spreading the visits over several days or weeks. It may even be a good idea to limit visitors to only a few days a week, such as every other day.
- Protecting from well meaning family. Lastly, you not only have to protect your newborn from illnesses, but from well meaning family members. This can be anything! I had a hard time breastfeeding and I had family that said “oh, if you decide to switch to formula, she will be fine”, well meaning, but hurtful to me, and not what I wanted for my baby. Also things like “you can lay her on her belly, she will sleep better, you did”, well meaning, but not the current recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the best way to prevent SIDS. Make sure you listen to your doctors recommendations, and you make the parenting decisions, do not let anyone else do that for you.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to protecting your newborn from family is that you are the only one who can speak up for the baby. You have to decide what is best for you and your family and how to handle the visitors. Try to have a plan in place before you deliver. Not that you have to stick to this plan, but have an idea of who you would like to visit and when you would like to start getting visitors. This is one thing I didn’t do, and so people just invited themselves over whenever they felt like it.
How did you protect your newborn from your family? Or, how do you plan to protect your newborn from your family?
Cassie is a work at home wife and mom to one. She is also a women’s health, labor and delivery and pediatric nurse on the weekends. She loves sharing her knowledge with other parents on her blog to help them through this crazy thing called life and being a parent!