If you are a mom of a newborn or young baby, you probably don’t need to be told about the prevalence of flu this season, as well as its serious dangers. While there is no guarantee that you can protect your baby from the flu, there are some very important and easy steps you can take to lessen your chances and put your mind at ease. It may mean more time indoors instead of showing off your new arrival to others, but the health of your baby is important. In fact, the first two months of your baby’s life is most critical and all precautions against viruses should be taken. This is typically a period before your baby has had their first round of immunizations and before their immune system has developed some fight.
Here are some simple, yet effective things you can do to make sure you and your baby stay healthy during peak flu season:
Avoid Crowded Places.
While it may be tempting to escape and run out to Target or the grocery store with your newborn in tow, please don’t. The flu virus and other germs can exist on shopping carts and door handles as well as the person in line who accidentally sneezes in your direction. It is best to stay at home and stick to a “no guests” policy as much as possible during the first several weeks. This is undoubtedly the most important step of prevention!
If your baby is over 8 weeks old and you have to be in a public place, be smart. Keep your baby in a stroller and car seat if possible and drape a thin blanket over the carrier. Not only will this keep out some airborne germs, but it can also deter strangers from peering down and getting too close or even touching your baby.
Arm Yourself with Disinfectant Products.
You can easily find a travel size package of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to keep nearby when you are away from home. Remember that germs can live up to five hours on objects. Make it a habit to wipe down door handles as well as your own hands. The last thing you want to do is be the one who transports the flu virus to your newborn.
Not all women are able or willing to breastfeed their newborn. However, for those that do, you are giving your baby a strong supplement of defense. Studies show that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to catch colds and throat infections compared to babies who drink formula.
Get the Flu Shot.
If your baby is under six months of age, you won’t be able to get the flu shot for him or her. Therefore, it becomes even more critical that moms and moms-to-be get their own flu vaccine. Did you know that if you get the flu shot while you are pregnant, you’ll be able to pass valuable antibodies onto your baby that will last up to six months?
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we do everything we can to keep you safe during your pregnancy. However, we also realize that when you deliver your baby and leave the hospital, you’ll need to be equipped with knowledge about how to protect your baby from germs and sickness. The flu season is an especially scary time for moms of newborns, but we are here to help in any way we can. If you are pregnant and need to schedule a flu shot or other vaccine, please let us know.