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Having a newborn during the winter months can come with a few challenges. One of the biggest challenges is protecting your newborn during the cold and flu season.
Take it from me. I gave birth to my babies in October and November when the cold and flu starts rearing its ugly head.
As if adjusting to having a newborn baby wasn’t hard enough. I also had to try my best to keep my baby from getting sick.
Now, of course, you certainly can’t help that your baby was born during cold and flu season, but there are a few things you can do to protect your newborn from getting sick.
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1. Breastfeed if Possible
One of the easiest ways that you can protect your newborn from getting sick is by boosting their immune system. And you can even start doing that right from birth by breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding helps to boost your newborn baby’s immune system by providing antibodies and probiotics. When a breastfeeding mom comes into contact with germs her body develops antibodies to fight off infections.
And these antibodies are then transmitted into the mother’s breast milk which is, therefore, providing the same protection for her baby.
If you want to learn more about how to breastfeed your baby, I personally love the Milkology breastfeeding class that is taught exclusively by Stacey Stewart. She is a Certified Lactation Educator and also a mom of 3.
And she also has an extensive history of helping moms to learn how to breastfeed their babies from the start.
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If I have the flu will my baby get it? or Should I stop breastfeeding my baby if I have a cold?
No! This is a very common misconception about breastfeeding. If you have a cold or the flu the best thing you can do for your baby is continuing to breastfeed.
Even though you are sick, your body is making antibodies to fight the infection and by breastfeeding you are giving the antibodies to your baby for protection.
So if at all possible, breastfeed your baby and give them tons of protection from all of the nasty germs out there.
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2. Wear Your Baby
Did you know that by simply wearing your baby in a baby carrier you are building up their immune system?
It’s true! And it’s all because of skin-to-skin contact. You see when your baby is in a carrier up against your chest they are getting antibodies just from your skin. And that can help keep them protected from the cold and flu.
So go ahead and wear your newborn as much as you want because skin to skin contact is a great way to help beef up your baby’s immune system during those winter months.
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3. Wash Your Hands
Of course, this piece of advice may seem like common sense but having a newborn baby around can make you a little forgetful so make sure that before you touch your baby at all you are diligently washing your hands well.
And if you have any visitors coming in to visit your newborn, have them wash their hands thoroughly also, because you never know where their hands have been.
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4. Clean and Disinfect Surfaces in Your Home
Once cold and flu season starts it seems like germs are everywhere, so make sure that you are making time to disinfect all surfaces that you come into contact with daily.
Some places that may get forgotten are door handles, cabinets, or even the refrigerator handle. These may not be the most obvious places that you disinfect, but they are high-traffic areas that are often touched without washing your hands afterward.
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5. Stay Away from Sick People
Was that a sneeze or a cough?
If someone is starting to show signs of being sick, try to keep your newborn baby as far away from them as possible. And also try to keep your home free of anyone who is sick.
However, if someone in your home comes down with something try to keep them and your baby separated as much as possible.
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6. Don’t Allow Others to Kiss Your Newborn’s Face
While it is very tempting for everyone to want to kiss your newborn baby, during cold and flu season it’s a horrible idea. With all of the germs spreading around, a simple kiss can lead to your newborn being sick.
So to be safe let others know that they should not kiss your baby anywhere on their face or hands because of the cold and flu season. Most families are completely understanding once you explain your concerns.
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7. Keep Baby Covered When Going Out
I have heard from other moms that they didn’t take their newborn babies out for the first 6 weeks after birth, however, this is not always possible for some families.
For example, since my husband worked outside of the home, I was the only one who could run errands and go to appointments with a newborn and toddler. So staying at home and becoming a hermit for 6 weeks was not an option for our family.
Fortunately, there are some really effective ways to protect your newborn baby during cold and flu season even when you are out of the house.
One tip is to keep your newborn baby covered by either wearing them in a baby carrier or keeping them in a car seat or stroller. You can also place blankets around your baby and over the visor of the car seat or stroller for protection from any sneezes or coughs.
My second tip is to keep hand sanitizer with you. The last thing you want to do is touch something that’s covered in germs and then reach down and touch your baby.
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8. Know When to Call the Pediatrician
As a first time parent with a newborn, it can be difficult to decide when it’s the right time to call your baby’s pediatrician. If you see any of these signs and your newborn is less than 4 weeks old, give your pediatrician a call:
- Baby is not eating well
- Less than six wet diapers each day
- Rectal Fever – 100.4 or above
- Increased irritability
Having a newborn during cold a flu season is a bit stressful, but with these tips, I was able to keep both of my babies from getting sick during that time.