5 Ways to Protect Your Newborn During Flu Season
Cold and flu season is still here for a little while longer, and protection against illness is one of the first thoughts that come to a parent’s mind when giving birth in Madison during the winter months. Although newborns are tougher than they look, and are equipped with antibodies if they are being breastfed, they can still be very vulnerable to illness. Here are 5 ways to keep a baby from getting sick.
As a new parent, don’t feel pressured to just jump right back into your old life - especially during flu season. Giving yourself plenty of rest and recovery time isn’t just a “nice to have”, it can actually have serious health implications for both your baby and yourself. There’s an old adage: “one week in bed, one week around the bed, and one week around the house!” and we couldn’t agree more!
2. Air out the house
Illness can spread more easily in an enclosed space that doesn’t have access to fresh, moving air flow. Obviously, when the roads of Madison are coated in snow it’s not an ideal time to fling all the doors and windows open, but enclosure is definitely a contributing factor to winter illness. Dress your baby in some warm layers, and open the windows just for a few minutes to get some brisk air flowing once a day.
3. Limit visitors
A new baby is exciting, but you are under no obligation to let everyone you know and their mother invade your house to hold them. It’s not only okay, but encouraged, to enjoy a “cocoon” for a couple weeks where visitors are limited. Some parents have tried the tactic of scheduling a “meet the baby” party when the baby is 2-4 weeks old, where all the well-meaning friends and relatives can give their congratulations and get a peek at the sweet little one.
4. Make social media work for you
You can manage expectations ahead of time by utilizing the power of social media. A cute graphic, or photo of your baby bump, can be easily captioned with your desire for illness prevention and uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, and group texts. Not sure what to say? Here’s a sample script that can be adapted to your needs:
“We’re so excited to welcome our new baby soon! Since it’s flu season, our doctor has encouraged us to limit visitors. Please call first before coming over, and ensure that you and your immediate family members have all been symptom-free of any illnesses for at least 24 hours. Additionally, we are asking all visitors to wash their hands before touching the baby, and refrain from giving kisses. Thanks for understanding and celebrating with us!”
5. Utilize babywearing
Wearing your baby close to your body in a wrap, sling, or carrier isn’t just great for comfort and convenience - it’s also a good way to fend off grabby hands. Wearing your baby during a family holiday gathering or birthday party will mostly prevent your baby from being “passed around” from person to person, and babywearing in public will keep onlookers from attempting to touch or hold your baby at the grocery store, church, etc.
If you’re not into babywearing, stretchy lightweight car seat covers like this will keep people from reaching into your infant bucket seat!
Most people are very well-intentioned, and would never want to risk spreading the flu to you or your baby, but you never know where you could pick up a virus. These tips can help you prevent illness, without causing awkwardness or hurt feelings among loved ones.
What other precautions do you take against illness in the winter months?