Post # 1
I will of course talk to my dr. about this once I get one lined up…but I wanted to ask you guys what you have been told.
I’m having a little anxiety about the fact that I am having a baby in October. Prime time for colds and flu….and we have nephews, neices, etc…. who totally get sick when the school year is starting, along with their parents and then the rest of the family.
From what I understand, newborns don’t have much of an immune system. This is why early one you are supposed to ask everyone to wash their hands before touching the baby.
But I wonder how long you are supposed to do this?
Ofcourse I will not let someone close if they are sick…but you don’t always know they are sick until it’s too late.
What have you been told? How long do you need to be really vigilant (and annoying to everyone else. haha!) and make sure everyone washes their hands? When will the baby start to get a better immune system?
Post # 3
If it were up to me, I’d vote for handwashing before any kind of contact with any human being of any age. But that’s just me being neurotic. 🙂
I’m also concerned about people wanting to hold the baby. My baby is due in two weeks, and my husband seems intent on hosting Thanksgiving this year. Of course, everyone will want to hold the baby. My concerns are that a) people could be sick or contaigious and not realize it yet, and that b) some people won’t think twice about coming over or interacting with a baby if they have a cold.
I would guess handwashing should be in effect for six months to a year. But I’m interested in hearing what everyone else thinks.
Post # 4
We’re having people be very careful around our baby girl until she gets her shots, which happens at 2 months.
Post # 5
Using a alcohol based hand rub is just as effective as a 30 second hand wash when used on unsoiled hands, so I’d buy some of that for people to use before touching the baby. After the 2 month shots is a good guideline for being meticulious about hand hygiene, but of course if someone is visibly sick don’t let them near baby. Remember baby will get sick eventually and that’s ok! That’s how the immune system develops. 🙂
Post # 6
I’m probably not a good person to comment on this, because I really never worried about it. We asked friends not to come over if they were actively dispensing viral load, and I know we have several friends who’d always wash their hands before asking for the baby on their own, but I don’t think I’ve ever really worried about it or asked someone to go wash their hands or something. I also don’t really worry about sanitizing toys or pacifiers that have been dropped on the ground (at home, if it happens someplace gross like the metro it’s a different story), and I know the dog licks his hands and feet and then he puts them in his mouth. Oh well. We figured we’d try to stay away from situations (like airplanes) where DS could be in close inadvertent contact with other folks’ germs, till he was about 2 months old. But that was about it. We’re pretty casual about that kind of stuff, and we’ve been lucky and DS has only really been sick once in 5 months, and it was still pretty mild.
Post # 7
Well, I have to agree with @Lozza: on this one. I was never too crazy about washing hands before touching my kid although many did. But I breastfed her throughout her newborn stage and when you breast feed the baby actually has your immune system. Go figure.. After birth the baby has a high level of the mother’s antibodies and if you breast feed the baby continues to recieve them. If you plan on breast feeding.. I really wouldn’t worry much about hand washing. If you plan on using formula you might be more inclined to be careful. But anywho, without requesting hands to be washed.. my daughter had her first sniffles at about 6 months.. she is 4 now.. and has had a cold maybe 2-3 times in the whole 4 years.. until she went to pre-K and got sick the first week lol
Post # 8
@MrsNeutrino: I second you on the breastfeeding and baby immune system. I had hand sanitizer around the house, but it just got too annoying to be the hand washing police. I’m pretty sure my family and friends are clean and sanitary. Dirty Delete has never been sick and she is 6 months old.
Post # 9
Baby J is almost 4 months old, and I still ask… I ask strangers not to touch her hands or face, period (I’ve posted recently about how annoying I find that!) and I ask friends and family to wash their hands still too, especially if they’ve been out in public somewhere, touching doors, money, etc.
I don’t know how long that’s supposed to last, but I’m with @eurekaanchovies – it’s just the easiest way to get sick at any age and the longer it can be avoided, the better. IMO, do the best you can for as long as you can!
Post # 10
I think babies who are breastfed do have a strong immunity. I find that when people go to wash their hands they actually come back with almost the same amount of germs because they touch they faucets after their done to shut the water off and there are tons on germs on there from when they touched them at the start to open the water.
I prefer using sanitizer because you dont have to touch the pump once you’re done
Post # 11
Our pediatrician told us that the first three months are the most critical, in terms of the baby getting sick. So after 3 months we became more lax about asking people to wash/sanitize their hands first, and by 6 or 7 months, we stopped asking completely.
Post # 12
We were pretty strict in the first six months. We kept a bottle of foaming hand sanitizer (no alcohol) in the diaper bag for when we were out. People with colds were allowed to look but not touch. Once Dirty Delete got to be 6 months old, she was rolling around on the floor, crawling, and generally getting into germy places when I wasn’t paying enough attention. That’s when we caved and said well she probably isn’t getting any worse germs from people than from the floor, LOL.
Post # 13
IMO the “supposed to” timeline on this one is however long mommy wants people to wash their hands. I’m not sure if there is a “right” answer…maybe until you can hand over baby to people without cringing wondering if they’ve washed their hands:) If people get annoyed or think you’re being an overprotective first time mom, who cares…they won’t have to be the ones to take care of a sick baby. When I ask people if they’ve washed their hands recently before handing over baby, I’m more likely to get a somewhat embarassed “no” than someone being annoyed…which makes me all the more glad I asked. Parents understand the request, non-parents likely don’t know just how far out the vaccination schedule stretches or what the implications of their everyday germs may be to baby. How long is long enough? I’m not there yet :)….
Post # 14
i am so not germ-phonbic, but we were careful washing our hands for the first few months, and still wash our hands when we get home at night. It just turned into good hygiene habits. My friend’s baby contracted a horrible virus this summer at 7 weeks old (yes she was breastfed exclusively) and ended up in the hospital for 4 weeks, with some moments where it was touch and go – she was back at her birth weight at 8 weeks, it was really scary. So while most babies are ok, it is an easy thing to do and ask others to do. I don’t see why not ask people to wash their hands before they touch the baby for at least the first 3 months, but I would go for 6 if you can 🙂
Post # 15
When I am asked this question by parents at work (I am an NICU nurse) I teel them AT LEAST until the first shots at 2 months, but preferably until they are around 6 months, when they are more mobile and getting into things anyways. Breastfeeding does HELP immunity, but it doesn’t make the babies immunity equal to an adults, nor do adults put up with as much “high risk” (hands/face) touching, as babies do. Think about it, would you ever handle a grown up the way you handle a baby? I don’t think so!
Post # 16
Thanks for all your input!
The 2 month thing makes a lot of sense. I will be signing up with our dr soon and I will talk to them when we meet.
Funny…I haven’t even had the baby yet, but I am already being a mom and worrying 🙂
I asked one of the doctors at my OBGYN last week and she also gave me some good advise. Told me to not let the kids touch the baby on the face. Since cold germs enter thru the mucus membranes…they enter thru the eyes, nose, and mouth. She said to tell the kids they can touch the baby on her clothes, rub her belly, etc… But to have them not touch her face/head…or her hands if she is at the point where she can put her hands in her mouth.
I also will not let people kiss her on her face.
I know I will not be able to avoid this with her grandparents…they are going to kiss her….but with friends, extended family, and little ones….I will ask them to not kiss her on her face.