Is it okay to take your newborn out in public? Should you make your mother-in-law wash her hands before she touches the baby? Here are some useful ideas about babies and germs.
A newborn’s immune system is vulnerable during her first six weeks. You don’t need to hide away, though — just take some commonsense precautions:
Try to commit to breastfeeding for the first six weeks, or as long as you can.
Keep tissues and hand sanitizer nearby as you pass the baby around to friends, neighbors and family members. Don’t hand your baby over to anyone who’s coughing, sniffling or sneezing.
Avoid traveling on planes, trains or buses for the first six weeks if at all possible. If you must travel, keep your hands washed or sanitized or consider wearing gloves that you take off only to handle the baby, 1950s nanny style. Make sure you have your pediatrician’s number stored in your phone, and when you get to your destination, also store the number and location of the closest pediatric emergency services.
Guard your young baby from kootchie-coo strangers. (Try this line: “I’m sorry, but she has a cold and I don’t want you to catch it!”)
Fevers, feeding problems and dehydration can be life-threatening emergencies for a newborn, so always seek medical attention right away if your baby has a fever or wets fewer than four diapers in a 24-hour period.
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