Having a newborn is amazing, but also kind of terrifying.
After all, you’re now responsible for keeping a tiny human healthy and safe. Hilaria Baldwin currently knows the feeling as she’s trying to keep her newborn son Romeo illness-free in a sick household.
Baldwin, who revealed on Instagram that she was diagnosed with pneumonia eight days after having her baby, also shared that her two other sons have the flu, and her daughter Carmen has pink eye. In a recent Instagram video update, Baldwin said that she’s working overtime to keep baby Romeo healthy.
“I shower in between being with [my older children] and being with Romeo to not get him sick with the germs that are on me,” she explained. “So far he’s very good, he’s very healthy. Hopefully he stays that way.” Baldwin also said she showers “like a million times a day” in the video caption.
Obviously it’s important to parents to keep all of their kids healthy, but it’s especially crucial when it comes to newborns.
Newborns can get any type of infection that an adult or child can get, but those illnesses can cause more severe problems in infants than they do in adults or older children, James Moore, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the NICU at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, tells SELF. “What can be a cold to you and me can be much more serious in a newborn,” he says.
If your baby is younger than two months, it’s best to call their doctor as early on as possible if you suspect they have a cold, the Mayo Clinic says. Complications of a cold could be serious in newborns and include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and croup (an upper airway infection common in young children).
Part of the reason why any illness is especially risky for a baby is because a newborn’s immune system is still developing, which makes it tough for them to fight infections as effectively as older children, Peter Greenspan, M.D., medical director of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, tells SELF. When babies are in utero, the mom’s immune system protects them, Dr. Moore explains. And when they’re born, they do have some basic defenses, but it takes time to develop specific immune responses.
Babies that are full-term when they’re born get additional benefits from the mom’s antibodies that cross over the umbilical cord before birth and help protect the baby’s immune system, Dr. Moore says. “These maternal antibodies fade over the first six months of life. But fortunately during this time, the baby is producing much more of their own antibodies and compensate for that loss from mom,” he explains.
So, while babies have an immune system when they’re born, which develops even more over six months, it really takes years to build up. “They are still refining and building their immune responses until about five years of age when they get to adult levels,” Dr. Moore says.
There are a few things you can do to protect your newborn from illnesses.
Although you don’t necessarily need to take a shower every time before interacting with your baby, it is crucial to practice good hand hygiene, Dr. Greenspan says. That means washing your hands with soap and water (or using sanitizing hand wipes or gels) before touching or feeding your baby.
It’s also important to keep your baby away from people who are sick—especially in the first eight weeks when the baby is most vulnerable. Breastfeeding is also helpful, if you can, since it can help pass antibodies to the baby through your breast milk, Dr. Greenspan says. Getting the recommended immunizations once your child is old enough can also protect them from serious illnesses, Dr. Moore says.
It’s not ideal to take your newborn out in crowded (germy) areas, but it’s OK to take them out for a walk, Dr. Greenspan says. And, if you have sick people in your house, like little kids, just stay on top of your hand hygiene and try to keep the baby away from the sick members of your family as best you can.
If your newborn does get sick, it’s important to keep an eye on how well they’re eating, if they have an increased number of dry diapers a day (which could suggest that they’re dehydrated), and whether they have any difficulty breathing, or a fever, Dr. Moore says. “Any of these signs or symptoms should prompt you to reach out to your primary care giver for your baby,” he says.
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Source: Self.com Read: Original Article