Do your visitors need to wash their hands before touching your baby? Should you buy stock in hand sanitizer? Read these 8 dos and don’ts for keeping baby healthy to find out!
Long before I had kids, I observed an acquaintance introducing her baby to a group of people. She had a bottle of hand sanitizer and asked that everyone use it before touching the baby. At the time, I thought it was a little over the top, but shortly after having my first child, I realized what a genius my acquaintance was!
One of our readers finds herself similarly concerned and recently wrote in to mention that she’s concerned about her baby’s hygiene. She wonders if it’s important to ask all visitors to wash their hands prior to touching the baby.
My answer on most things “baby” is that if it’s important to the mom or dad, that’s the only answer you need. Keeping your baby as healthy as possible in those first months is important, so here’s a list of Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to your baby’s hygiene (and that of other people around your baby).
Visitor Do’s and Don’ts for a healthy baby
- DO ask anyone who intends to touch your baby to wash their hands first. This is common courtesy, if you ask me, so anyone who is offended by it probably shouldn’t be touching your baby anyway.
- DON’T be afraid to ask anyone who is near your baby frequently to get a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. Even if you choose to vaccinate your child and follow the recommended schedule, he or she won’t be fully vaccinated until the 5th dose at between 4 and 6 years of age.
- DO carry a receiving blanket with you when you go out to the store to cover the top of the carrier. No matter where you go and what you do, some stranger will walk up to look at your baby and try to touch her. And sorry stranger, but I don’t know where that finger has been. The blanket will deter touching.
- DON’T use hand sanitizer on your baby, and if someone uses hand sanitizer before they touch your baby, make sure it has time to dry. Your baby’s skin is very thin and easily absorbs the alcohol in the sanitizer.
- DO change your baby’s clothing and/or give him a bath after you’ve been around a lot of people. It never hurts to wash off any germs that could be lingering!
- DON’T play pass the baby. My sister’s baby shower was only 2 weeks after my daughter was born. My rule was simple – I was the only one who held her during the shower. She was much too young and much too little for me to worry about her catching something!
- DO trust your instincts. You are the parent, and you get to decide what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t. Did people probably think, “Oh, she’s just a new mom and she’s uptight” when I wouldn’t let them hold my 2-week-old baby? Sure. Did I care? Nope. I did what I felt was right.
- DON’T be afraid to call the doctor or make an appointment even if your baby has the sniffles. If you’re worried, it’s never a bad idea to call or go see the doctor.
You may roll your eyes at some (or all) of this list, or you may think, “thank goodness, someone understands!” Whatever your reaction, right on! Parenting is not easy, and we need to do what we believe is right for our babies.
12 thoughts on “8 Visitor Dos and Don’ts to Keep Your Baby Healthy”
Another tip – there’s a brand of carseat covers called Milk Snob, and they also double as nursing covers. They are a little more effective than a receiving blanket over the carseat, because in addition to being breathable, it’s also more secure. I had a cheaper alternative to Milk Snob’s cover with my first and loved it. You can also purchase or make signs to place on the carseat while you are shopping – it’s mystifying to me why strangers think it’s their right to touch and kiss YOUR baby. It was especially nerve-wracking for me because my first was born New Years Eve and was un-insured for 4 months, so for the most part, I kept us inside and away from visitors.
I am obsessive about making sure people washing their hands around their baby! It is such an easy thing to do to make such a big difference.
Very good recommendations. I didn’t let anyone kiss my baby. I asked my friends to come visit us about 45 days after delivery.
This is such important information. I remember being really worried about my oldest’s health when she was a baby.
With babies, I do feel that its important to keep them safe, well and protected. I know if I had a child, I would do all I can to keep them well. Babies have such little bodies!
Like most things in life, each person should do what works for them. I never had a sitter that wasn’t a grandparent, my boys didn’t until they were well into school. As far as germs my generation survived without all of the sanitizing and scrubbing so I’ve always done what I can and that’s enough for me.
I wouldn’t judge you for these tips. My son didn’t have a babysitter that wasn’t a parent or grandparent until he was 4!
These are great tips for keeping new babies safe. They are so vulnerable as newborns, you need to do everything you can to protect their developing immune system.
This is good to know! Luckily we were never swarmed with people after we had our kids. It was just our parents, and that was it.
Don’t let anyone kiss the baby either! If someone has a cold sore or has HPV could pass it to you baby. It can be deadly!
After I had my kids everyone wanted to touch them. I had a SWAT people away a few times.
After I had my babies nobody except my husband and mom got to hold the baby. Over the top but the first 6 weeks I didn’t even go anywhere with them. They needed to get use to this world and I needed to heal and rest.