Newborns do not have a fully developed immune system, so it is important to take extra precautions to protect them from germs. Babies are generally protected from germs by the antibodies they receive through the placenta, and during birth they receive a coat of special germs from their mother to help develop their immune system. Reasonable exposure to germs strengthens an immune system, but babies need to build up the resistance to germs gradually and need extra protection for up to a year, especially for the first 3 months.
• Wash your hands with soap and water prior to holding and feeding your baby. Carry hand sanitizer with you for when soap and water are not available.
• Have everyone that comes to visit wash their hands, especially siblings and other children.
• Make sure that other children do not touch or kiss your newborn’s face. You could suggest they touch baby’s feet instead.
• Avoid crowds and crowded places, like the grocery store and a restaurant.
• Avoid people with colds and the flu.
• Make sure your baby receives all of the recommended vaccines.
• Wash the changing table with a mild detergent and water, disinfecting with cleanser when needed.
• Try to vacuum the house at least once a week.
• Sterilize bottles, breast pump parts, and pacifiers by boiling or steaming.
• Do not put your baby’s pacifier in your mouth or anyone else’s. Rinse in boiling water to freshen.
• Do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in the house.
• Keep pets out of the room your baby sleeps in.
Protecting a newborn from germs can seem overwhelming. As your baby’s immune system matures, they will have more resistance to the germs present in our environment. There will likely be instances when exposure to germs is not avoidable, but just do your best to reduce that exposure.
What steps did you take to reduce exposure to germs? Do you have any helpful tips?