Try not to expose your newborn (less than one month of age) to more people than necessary, and avoid all people with infectious diseases like colds and the flu!
Be VERY cautious in the first month of life. If an infant less than one month of age gets a fever (a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4), that child needs to be admitted to the hospital, have invasive tests done (including a spinal tap), and receive antibiotics through an IV for at least 48 hours.
The reason we do this to infants who get fevers at this age is that newborns’ immune systems are not well developed yet, and they cannot fight off infections as well as adults and older children. Pediatricians take fevers very seriously in this age group. So, you have to do everything you can to prevent your infant from being exposed to anyone or anything that could cause a fever. That includes minimizing exposure to other people or places that could potentially be carrying germs, such as bacteria or viruses. If Aunt Sue must come to see the new baby, make sure she washes her hands before she touches the baby. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy for those situations!
If anyone who wants to visit the baby even has the slightest sniffle, do not allow them to come over. You are simply being a good parent and protecting your little one. If you want to take a stroll in the neighborhood or park, keep your infant covered as best you can and do not allow strangers to touch your baby. Once your infant reaches the one-month mark, you can relax a little bit, but still be vigilant about trying to protect your baby from germs as best you can!
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019
Now if only I could get my MIL to understand this!
Great article!! With my 1st, I was so cautious about everything! He was so small and I didn’t want anything to happen to my baby! Whenever anyone came over to see us, handwashing was the 1st thing anyone could do if they wanted to hold him!! If they were smokers, like my mother in law is, I made her Bring an extra shirt to put on when she held him just so the smoke smell was still not on her clothes! Going out in public didn’t happen till he was around 1 month then we kept him covered while walking in the store!
It will be harder this time because we have a toddler in preschool, but hopefully we can keep the baby away from people for a month or so.
The second baby does get exposed more quickly than the first, but most do just fine. Just trust your instincts and call your doctor if you are concerned.
We went 4 weeks with our first, only close family could visit. Limited outdoors to walks/covered strollers. Planning on doing the same with our second.
Sounds lovely! Seems like you took your time but still balanced getting out and letting loved ones visit. Good luck with your second!
My little guy ended up getting a respiratory thing within the first month, and I was paranoid from then on. Fortunately he never got a fever, but I was very cautious from them on! Next maybe, no visitors or visiting anyone for the first month.
Oh get a life over coddling dunces. The recycled crap air in your home you, spouse, pets & any other children are coughing, sneezing & hacking in is NO BETTER for a newborn than the fresh air outside especially if you had a winter birth. Some people get mold growth on the inside of their windows or under the carpets as well (and don’t discover it until much later as no one just randomly pulls up their carpet once a month especially renters) beyond their control. Yeah that’s so much better for the ‘pwecious’ right?!
The baby is born with a temporary immunity from mom that tapers off about the time right before 1st shots are due if you ever had a puppy or kitten sound familiar or did you forget about this natural occurrence in nature omniscient Dr.? We’re animals as well remember, same kingdom not much is different.
Some people have this thing called depression. Staying locked in with no contact 6 weeks straight um no. The people you see out in a store, or family visiting, don’t have to touch the kid Jesus Christ, but don’t sit there on the holier-than-thou high horse & act like those of us who would venture out before 6 weeks are some kind of demons who don’t care about our kids. My baby has gone out only a few times & we’re only in week 4, he’s not experiencing a health calamity because a freaking old lady looked at him from several feet away & said “oh my he’s gorgeous”.
If you want to stay in & have someone to do all your bidding fine good for you & here’s your applause, keep your judgmental bs to yourself thanks very much.
Thank you, this is such valuable information. For me as a paranoid adult, it is scary to think I could end up overprotecting my kid, but what is fair is that the little ones do need a lot of care early in their lives since their immune system hasn´t been as exposed. This has been a very informative post.
(Please note I am sharing advice about full term healthy BREASTFED babies of my own).
When it comes to viruses, it’s all about exposure. With my 3rd child I was out and about the next day with her(and being breastfed means she was getting toted rather than confined to carrier). I was more precautionary about the spread of respiratory pathogens than I was dirt and allergens. At 5 days old, we took her to her first rodeo. My point is that even though parents should be vilagent about protecting their newborn, they shouldn’t become over obsessive and put the whole immediate family on lockdown with a healthy full term baby. I did that with my 1st until she was 6 months old and she has more allergies and illnesses than anyone! Also, keep in mind that you’ve just left a germ factory where you know for certain ill people have spread their germs throughout the hospital. With incubation periods varying, keep in mind the exposure they’ve already encountered there. Avoid high risk places, such as hospitals and doctor’s offices. Otherwise, you should be practicing the same germ control whether you have a newborn or not. If your other children are attending school and your spouse is working, it’s often them contracting illnesses where they are asymptomatic yet contagious and sharing with the rest of the family. If you really want to over do it, take a “public health microbiology” course and get a good understanding of how it all works. The understanding I gained changed my perspective on effective germ control (& acceptance that clean is never clean!).
A Rodeo! I love it! While I totally agree that germs are around at home or in public, I do think there are some benefits to being home in the first few weeks as much as possible. Especially for first time families, staying close to home allows them to settle into routine and to really get the hang of breastfeeding while also (somewhat) limiting exposure to germs. It also allows mom to heal and to rest. Nevertheless, babies join families and therefore life goes on. It’s not uncommon for second, thirds, fourth babies to get a lot more exposure to the world earlier than their older sibs. Keeping our hands clean and keeping stranger’s hands off of babies goes a long way to preventing illness. But I draw the line at letting them ride the bull! Thanks for your great comment!
My husband and I went into hibernation for the first 2 months after both of our girls were born. I would rather be safe than sorry. I also felt more comfortable taking them out and about once they received their first round of vaccinations at 2 months. That made me feel as though they were a little more protected.
I was the same way with my first daughter but with my second I was so stir crazy I think I started taking her out in public out about one month old. I always kept her in the car seat though and made sure there was a blanket covering her.
I didn’t take my son out for 6 weeks. People give you such a hard time! It would be great if more people would let you make decisions, and respect those decisions. My mom was, and is the worst:) She means well.
Thankfully, there are no smokers in my family. My sisters is not so lucky. Both of her husbands parents smoke. She has a really hard time because she doesn’t want her children around secondhand smoke. They smoke in their house, so this causes a problem when visiting. She works hard to keep her children away from the smoke while not offending her in-laws, but usually both are not completely possible.
Some people might give you a hard time but just do what you feel is best for your baby. Mine is now 4 months and for the first two months we stayed home all day everyday except when we went to Dr spots., the store once and next door other than we waited until he got his 2 month shots to start going out bc that’s what his Dr recommended.
One of our sons was only exposed to less than 5 people when he came down with a fever at 5 days old. He had viral meningitis which went into his heart and lungs and he will always be affected by this “bad fortune”. Needless to say with our next baby we restricted ALL visitors for the first month. “Friends” who didn’t understand this were not true friends – and the rest loved seeing him after 4 weeks. Great advice, Dr. Sara!
I was super cautious with my 1st but with my 2nd I had to go out to keep oldest from destroying the house. We went to outdoor parks, I wore the baby and carried hand sanitizer. I don’t like smokers at all they aren’t allowed to hold my babies. My father and law smokes and I hate it when he comes to visit. I make him go outside, wear coat, wash hands and still try hardest to find reasons for him not to touch them.
Great article! My friend is due in a couple of weeks and full on plans on taking her baby out for Halloween. The thought of it makes me cringe. I get wanting to show off your new babe but at what cost? I’ll be forwarding this article to her 😉
I was one of those moms that had the hand sanitizer ready for all my guest, and would always ask if someone washed their hands before touching babies.
Same here Natalie! My son is almost two months old and still, his siblings & cousins are not allowed to hold him without washing their hands first. My next door neighbor is a smoker and just last week she saw me outside and asked me if she could see him again, while she was smoking, and I said yes, so she puts her cigarette out. I told her I had just put him in the swing. I let her come in but she didn’t get to hold him this time. I didn’t try to get him out of his swing at all. heehee. I’m just not a big fan of smoking. And she smokes ALOT.
Same! I frequently asked people to santize or wash their hands before touching baby.
I was like that with my first and tried to be like that with my 2nd but before I knew it people stopped cleaning their hands 1st but thankfully he was ok.
Great article. It explains just how important it is to keep babies away from anything or anyone that can get them sick. I cringe when I see parents with newborns under a month out and about eating in busy restaurants or on airplanes. Why risk getting your precious little one sick? If you really need to get out, take a walk outside or go for a car ride. It’s just not worth it! We stayed in for a full 6 weeks 🙂