If you survived a COVID and flu-free holiday season, then consider yourself lucky! During the winter months it seems like germs are so rampant, and protecting your newborn can seem impossible (especially with other school-age kids in the house).
Newborns are at a higher risk for more serious complications from minor illnesses just because they have immature immune systems. But, as a parent, you can prevent illnesses by following these tips to help keep your baby germ free...
Wash your hands. Hand washing seems so simple, and it is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Keep hand sanitizer in your diaper bag or diaper caddy at all times, and maybe even some antibacterial wet wipes as well. Kindly remind or ask your visitors to wash their hands before holding your baby because even people who show no signs of illness can still be contagious or pass along germs that are harmful to your baby.
Breastfeed if possible. Every situation is different, and fed is best! But if you can or do breastfeed, that's a great way to naturally protect your baby from illnesses. A mother's breast milk is custom-made to fight germs babies are exposed to. Encourage skin-to-skin for infants as much as possible. Check out more tips on how to store breastmilk.
Dress your baby appropriately. This winter, make sure your baby is dressed warmly, which means a little warmer than what you would wear. Don't put on too many layers and choose fabrics that won't trap in too much heat (especially while buckled in the car seat). If you notice your baby is sweating, has damp hair, flushed cheeks or is rapidly breathing, these are all signs of overheating so remove a layer of clothing. Check out more tips on how to safely swaddle your baby at night and how to dress your baby during the winter months here.
Regularly wash pacifiers and toys. Babies love to put almost anything they come in contact with directly in their mouths, so regularly clean pacis, toys and other surfaces they touch.
Help boost their immune system. Once your baby eats solids, offer a variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Encourage them to get plenty of sleep, both of which can boost their immune system.
Regulate your indoor temperature. You might be tempted to turn up the indoor heat to keep your baby extra warm, but did you know that too much heat can actually be problematic? Indoor heat has low humidity and the lack of moisture in the air can dry out your babies skin. Keep your indoor temperature between 68-72 degrees. Keep it a touch lower while they sleep (between 65-68) to help reduce SIDS.
Enjoy the winter months and remember that it's perfectly safe to go outside when you can! Babies and parents need fresh air and being outdoor can help infants acclimate to seasons, regulate day and night cycles and reduce fussiness.
What other health tips do you have for keeping your baby and young children healthy during the winter? Comment below!