How to keep your baby safe from germs in the winter months
Having a baby is stressful enough. Between the sleep deprivation and neverending list of household tasks, the last thing you need is a sick newborn. While germs are inevitable, there are still plenty of precautions you can take to make sure your baby stays as healthy as possible.
1) Breastfeed. According to Parents.com, "[Breast milk] contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes that scientists have yet to replicate." They go on to say that breast milk reduces the risk of viruses, UTI's, ear infections, and respiratory infections. For more information on that, visit their article here.
2) Vaccinations. I know this sounds crazy, but you can get the flu vaccine while pregnant. In fact, it's encouraged. Getting the flu vaccine while pregnant can pass antibodies onto the baby that can last up to six months. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several reasons why pregnant women should consider this:
- The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.
- Having a fever caused by the flu early in pregnancy might increase the risk of fetal birth defects.
- The flu shot protects your baby even after birth.
On that note, request that people who might be around the baby get the flu and whooping cough vaccinations before the baby is born. Siblings, parents, and other loved ones will understand the precaution.
3) Wash hands regularly. That also means use hand sanitizer. (You'll want to make sure the sanitizer contains 60 to 95 percent isopropanol or ethanol to be effective.) Keeping your hands clean is the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Make sure siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends do the same before holding your little one. Having a few of the large pump bottles (like this) around the house will make this easier.
While we're on the topic, you know what else needs to be disinfected regularly? Your phone. Smartphones harbor bacteria and viruses pretty easily since we're touching them all day and setting them down on various surfaces. We might be shaking hands, touching escalator rails or doorknobs, completely unaware of the germs we're transferring to our phones seconds later. Then we stick them in dark, warm places like purses or pockets—the perfect environment to breed and grow. That's why everyone (not just the parents of a newborn) needs PhoneSoap. The UV-C light technology in the phone sanitizer and tablet sanitizer kills 99.99%* of bacteria, no longer making your phone the germiest thing you own.
4) Keep your baby covered. When you're out and about running errands, make sure to keep a blanket over the car seat to prevent friendly strangers from getting too close. You could even take this a step further, and when appropriate, carry the baby in a sling to keep people from touching at all. This works especially well at large family gatherings, church meetings, etc.
5) Use a humidifier. There are benefits to using humidifiers all year long, but most often you'll find that they are pretty useful in the winter months when the cold air dries out the lungs and nose, causing colds and respiratory infections. The experts at Medical News Today cite studies that suggest the use of a humidifier reduces the risk of catching the flu and makes a cough more productive.
*Testing was conducted in a laboratory setting on actual phones, Apple watch, headphones, credit cards, and keys with a variety of pathogens, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Coronavirus 229E. Real-world results may vary depending on size, shape, and material of phone or phone case. For more information, click here.