6 Ways to Protect Your Baby from Cold and Flu
If you’ve become a first-time parent, you will likely feel overwhelmed due to unprecedented emotions and additional responsibility. A newborn baby can be very demanding, and it’ll take time for you to get used to their cues and understand what they need.
On the other hand, your baby also needs time to get accustomed to the new world. With their tiny hands and feet, growing organs, and developing systems, they aren’t fully ready to adjust to their new environment. For this reason, newborns are quite vulnerable and prone to catching a common cold or flu.
Since you can’t give newborns medicines or apply traditional remedies to cure their colds, you must try and prevent your baby from getting a cold or flu. Following are a few ways you can keep your baby safe and healthy.
Implement Hand Washing and Use of Sanitizers
Since we make the most use of our hands, especially while changing diapers, our hands have countless germs. These germs also rapidly multiply and spread to the things we touch, propagating infections and sickness. To restrict these germs and protect your baby, wash your hands every time before touching your baby.
It’s also imperative to ask visitors to do the same if they intend to hold your baby. If soap and water are unavailable, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer or disinfecting wipes. Sanitizers and wipes are quite effective in cutting down the number of germs, if not killing all.
However, keep in mind that hand washing and sanitizing cannot protect your child from every kind of illness. Thus, it is important to stay vigilant about common symptoms and developmental milestones to identify serious illnesses caused by birth injuries and other issues early on.
Avoid crowded places
Changes in the weather can induce a cold or flu, like a runny nose or rapid breathing, in a baby. It is best to avoid taking your baby out in the initial months, on a windy day, or amidst crowded places where the probability of catching a cold is higher. Instead, you and your baby can stay indoors, as you ensure that your indoors are clean.
It’s important to ensure a regular cleaning regime to provide a safe environment for your baby. You need to be diligent in taking care of your baby in the first two to three months until it starts to get vaccinated and its immune system begins to function against diseases.
Cover your baby
Babies attract a lot of attention from people who’d want to caress the baby’s face or stroke their cheeks. However, if you cover your baby, it’ll be a ‘do not disturb’ signal for other people. You can cover your baby in a thin blanket or pull over the hood of your baby’s stroller when taking them out for a stroll. Covering your baby will also protect them from cold winds and dust, which can likely cause the flu.
Don’t allow sick visitors
The last thing you would want is a sick person near your baby. Visitors don’t often want to accept that they’re sick, but you need to be watchful of early symptoms, like a runny nose or sore throat. If a family member or friend, who is susceptible to being sick, wants to visit your baby, you’ll have to ask to reschedule until they’re perfectly fine.
Although it is the mother’s choice, breastfeeding helps develop the baby’s immune system. Breastmilk, especially colostrum, consists of antibodies and vital nutrients that help your baby grow strong and healthy. Breastfed babies are likely to fight infections better than formula-fed babies. Breastfeeding, however, doesn’t ensure a baby’s complete immunization.
You should try and nurse your baby as frequently as possible, aiding its defense mechanism. It is important to note that many mothers cannot breastfeed their babies. If you are facing a similar predicament, it is best to consult a doctor.
Ensure caregivers’ vaccination
Since babies can’t get vaccinated against influenza before six months, it’s essential to take extra precautions for their safety. Since the baby’s caregivers will be in constant contact with the baby, they must be fully vaccinated, especially against the flu and whooping cough, which is quite common.
Doctors encourage expectant mothers to get their shots during their pregnancy. A mother’s vaccination can help prevent disease transfer to the baby and protect it from contracting diseases in the initial months of life.
In the first few months of your baby’s life, its immune system isn’t fully developed, nor can it be vaccinated to protect itself against the cold or flu. You’ll need to ensure that your baby is safe from germs; to do that, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort. As a first-time parent, you might not be sure of what will work for your baby, but it’s important to trust your instincts and follow a few sensible tips.
Make a habit of washing your hands or asking visitors to wash their hands before touching the baby. Apart from that, you can cover your baby to avoid unsolicited touching by strangers. Moreover, it’s also best to stay indoors and avoid taking your baby to public places, constraining the spread of germs. You must also ask sick visitors to stay away, who might spread infectious germs to your baby. Lastly, make sure that your baby’s caregivers are fully vaccinated.