When we welcome a new bundle of joy into our homes, our priorities change completely. During this exciting time, we now put our baby's safety and well being above our own. From sanitizing everything that comes in contact with our little one, to bundling them up when we head outside - we do everything in our power to keep them safe. Playing the role of not only a parent, but also a protector, it is important to learn and encourage appropriate baby etiquette from friends and family.
Baby etiquette is anything that we do in efforts to keep our child healthy, happy and safe. Whether it is using hand sanitizer before holding a newborn, or keeping your distance if you are feeling under the weather, these proactive efforts are essential to keeping babies healthy. Sometimes, it proves awkward to ask family or friends to wash their hands before holding your baby, but it is better than the alternative - a sick infant. Often times, these problems arise when people are unaware of the precautions that need to be taken around a newborn baby.
Baby etiquette has become increasingly important, seeing as certain illnesses, such as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), are extremely dangerous and contagious for babies within the first six months of life. Premature infants have a higher risk of serious complications or death from RSV due to their underdeveloped lungs and compromised immunity.
A few tips to remember when a loved one has a new baby:
• Call before you visit. New parents need time to set up a routine and bond. By giving them time to do so before you visit, you are respecting the new family.
• Postpone a visit if you feel that you may be getting sick, have recently been ill or exposed to illness.
• Remember that parents know best. If you feel they are being overprotective or overly cautious, just consider that only they know what’s best for the health of their new son or daughter.
• Offer to do something to ease their responsibilities as they spend time as a family, such as laundry, cooking or dishes. Sleep-deprived moms and dads will appreciate your help!
If you do schedule a visit with a new baby:
• Wash your hands frequently—upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby. Parents, and the new baby, will appreciate it.
• Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.
A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
• Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
• Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
• RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
• There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (e.g., wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
• Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
• Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
Sometimes, asking visitors and family to be respectful of your baby's health and wash their hands can be hard and probably the last thing you want to think about when you are tired, thankful for help and company, and trying to show off your beautiful baby. However, you will definitely thank yourself in the long run when your baby stays healthy and safe from all the germs!
To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com.
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* I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.*