Updated: Aug 18, 2022
The Holidays are quickly approaching, so we want to address some major questions in which new or expecting parents are faced: Should I take my newborn baby to our family holiday party? Who should I introduce my baby to and when? When is it safe to take my baby in public?
To answer these challenging questions, we did some research and spoke with an OB-GYN and a pediatrician with over 30 years of experience. Here’s what we found out.
A mother’s immune system continues to protect her baby after they have left the womb. (Yay!) The antibodies shared through the placenta work overtime to fight bacteria and viruses. (Cleveland Clinic, 2021). However, newborns cannot combat illness as well as older babies because their immune system is not fully developed until they are about three months old. Keep this in mind when deciding where to take your baby, who to introduce them to and when. Being informed will give you the confidence to do what’s right for your family.
Avoid Crowds and Public Places
You can’t keep your baby in a bubble forever, but you can give them time to develop a stronger immune system before exposing them unnecessarily to bacteria and viruses.
Avoid public places and crowds, such as the grocery store or parties, for at least the first six weeks of life. If a baby gets a fever before they are six weeks old, they will likely have to go to the hospital for an IV and spinal tap (Cleveland Clinic, 2021).
Limit Contact with People Who Live Outside the Home
This might be the toughest recommendation on the list. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and cousins will want to see your new bundle of joy as quickly as possible. Most pediatricians will recommend limiting visitors as much as possible for the first 6-8 weeks of your baby’s life. However, if you do decide to have guests over, insist that they thoroughly wash their hands before holding your baby.
“The first two months of life, we really regard as a sacred time to try to limit exposure as much as possible because babies can get viruses from people who don’t even know they’re contagious yet” pediatrician Dr. Camille Sabella said (Cleveland Clinic, 2021).
Masks should be worn by anyone who is around your baby if they are not vaccinated for COVID-19 or if they do not feel well. It’s best to avoid anyone who is sick altogether because your newborn baby’s immune system is still developing and if they do get sick, it can be more severe and lead to hospitalization.
Other Preventative Measures
The best way to protect your baby from the flu, COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other illnesses is to avoid large gatherings, avoid anyone who is sick and for all caregivers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the Flu shot. Breastfeeding and practicing skin-to-skin contact also provides your baby with additional antibodies to strengthen their immune system.
It’s OK to Say No
The holidays can be a very stressful and busy time for everyone, but they shouldn’t be for you! If you are expecting a baby in the next couple of months, simplify your plans and just focus on caring for your newborn. Remember that it is OK to say no to attending parties or going out anywhere. It is also OK to say no to family and friends who want to come over. The beginning of your baby’s life is a great time to stay home, stay healthy and get to know your little miracle. Discuss a plan with your partner and your extended family so they know what to expect after your baby is here.
The advice above is for healthy babies born at full term, so make sure to talk to your pediatrician to make the best decisions for your unique circumstances.
Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Bonsie Skin to Skin Babywear is a unique and thoughtful gift for any new or expecting parents in your life. This purposeful and soft clothing helps parents bond with their baby through skin-to-skin contact. Learn more about the importance of skin-to-skin contact here.
Cleveland Clinic. (2021, August 12). Is Your Newborn Baby's Immune System Strong Enough? Health Essentials https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-your-newborn-babys-immune-system-strong-enough/.