Winter is the prime time for viruses and since your newborn has not had the chance to develop an immune system, you need a germ fighting plan. Infants don’t have the antibodies to fight off most colds so they are more likely to get sick and more likely to stay that way longer.
The first thing to realize is that germs can be spread by touch or respiratory droplets. The best ways to keep your baby free from illness are to breastfeed (so that your immunities are passed on to your child), keep your newborn 4-6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing and keep your hands as well as all surfaces germ free.
To keep those doctor visits to a minimum, try these 10 germ fighting strategies:
- Avoid Crowds – Until your baby has his first round of shots at 2 months, you should be extra cautious and avoid large gatherings. Instead of venturing out, invite your friends and family members to your house. That way you can keep your baby’s environment germ free and limit his exposure to strangers.
- Keep Baby Close – If you do venture out, avoid being near anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Also, when hold your newborn close people are less likely to touch his hands and face, which helps to keep germs to a minimum. Allow toddlers to look at the baby but not touch him.
- Use the 24 Rule – Anyone who has been sick should hold off visiting until they are symptom free and fever-free for at least 24 hours.
- Keep Your Hands Clean –Scrub for at least 20 seconds every time you come in from a public place, use the bathroom, eat, or change a diaper. Stash some alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse, next to the changing table, and keep some out for your guests.
- Keep Nursing – Studies show that serious colds and ear and throat infections are reduced by 63 percent in infants who breastfeed exclusively for six months. Also babies who nurse are also much less likely to come down with respiratory tract infections and stomach bugs.
- Disinfect Surfaces – Germs can live for hours on things like shopping carts, so that’s why your sanitizing wipes will come in handy.
- Take Precautions at The Doctor’s Office – Unfortunately doctor’s waiting rooms are filled with germs so try to make your appointment the first or last of the day, when you are less likely to be met with a crowd of coughing kids.
- Keep up with Your Baby’s Vaccines – Following the recommended vaccine schedule is the best way to prevent illnesses like the measles, meningitis, and chicken pox.
- Make Sure You Keep Up With Your Shots – If you get the flu shot and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines when you’re pregnant, the antibodies will pass on to your fetus and last for about six months.
- Boost your Immunity – It’s hard to get enough sleep when you have a newborn who will keep you up at night, but getting enough sleep is important. Remember to eat well and stay healthy so that you can fight off illnesses that may be passed to your little one.