My two sons were born at completely opposite times of the year. My oldest son was born in June, the youngest in February. Since my babies were born during the two severest seasons (why didn’t they choose spring and fall???) I guess you could say we’ve been thoroughly broken in. Based on my experiences, here are 10 tips for having a baby during cold and flu season that came in really handy for me.
My youngest son was born during massive cold and flu season which was a totally different experience for us, especially in the hospital.
The nurses didn’t play favorites. They took all viruses and illnesses seriously, to the same degree.
Since they’re the ones with the knowledge, education and expertise, I think it’s safe to say we follow their advice and consider all viruses a threat to our newborns.
When my second little was born, the nurses didn’t play around. Like, serisously didn’t play. They watched over the door to our hospital room like guard dogs, and I’m glad they did.
They also gave us strict, no-nonsense instructions about how to care for baby and how to handle our visitors since we’d had a baby during the cold and flu season.
These are the things I’m passing on to you.
Please be advised that I am not a licensed professional. This is not medical advice or intended for diagnosis or treatment. These are simply suggestions that I was given that I found helpful.
10 Tips For Having A Baby During Cold and Flu Season
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1: Pregnancy Tips
So the game doesn’t start after the baby is born. It starts during your pregnancy. A third trimester pregnancy during cold and flu season is different than other seasons in a couple different ways.
First, it’s usually cold and the weather doesn’t always permit you to go outside and exercise like you normally would.
Boost your own health by finding exercises to do indoors. A birthing ball is a great way to exercise, stretch and get some relief too.
Make sure you’re taking your prenatal vitamins as recommended by your doctor. Try to avoid contact with anyone who seems “under the weather.”
You don’t want to catch any bugs right before Baby is due!
2: Keep Yourself As Healthy As Possible
You and Baby will be inseparable once he or she is born. That’s not the greatest time to come down with something!
It’s not always avoidable, but you can do your best to prevent catching a bug by staying strong and healthy.
Take your prenatal even after Baby is born, stay hydrated, and get as much rest as you can.
Wash your hands often and thoroughly!
3: Don’t Go Out More Than You Have To
A good way to keep from catching anything is by just staying home. If you can avoid leaving the house (especially with Baby) during cold and flu season, you’re just staying that much safer.
You can have groceries delivered or brought over by a trusted (and healthy) friend or family member.
Things like laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper and other household necessities can be ordered through Amazon and delivered to your door within 48 hours, give or take.
10 Tips For Having A Baby During Cold and Flu Season
4: Limit Guests
One of the normal “birth” traditions is to have an ongoing flow of guests. It’s a precious time, and friends and family want to come meet your newest little.
While this is a nice way of showing their love, it can also be dangerous to your baby if someone is ill or has been around someone who is ill.
When our baby was born during cold and flu season the nurses were extremely strict about our visitors. They asked us to be very sure that none of our visitors were sick or had been around anyone that was sick.
You have to consider this as well. It’s not just about you and your baby. Anyone who comes into that part of the hospital could be carrying something with them that could pass to the healthcare personnel or potentially to other babies on that floor despite the utmost precaution.
Keep this in mind when your friends and family want to come say hello. It’s not rude or unreasonable to ask if anyone has been sick lately–either them directly or someone in their home–and if so, to please wait to visit.
5: Restrict Children
We all know that kids are these amazing little bundles of energy that can happily spread cooties. They’re playful and fun and sometimes it’s hard to tell when they aren’t well until they start showing symptoms.
When you have a baby during cold and flu season, it might be a good idea to ask friends and family to not bring their littles for now.
The morning after our youngest son was born, the nurses wouldn’t allow any children into the room at all, except for our toddler. I was appreciative of the steps they took to protect us, and it made me realize how overlooked this tip is.
We often don’t even think about the fact that our precious little ones can be the biggest spreaders of bugs and viruses. They run and play and touch everything…and their mouth seems to touch everything.
My husband told me about a trip he took to the grocery store recently. He watched in amazement as a little girl who was shopping with her mother stood in front of the shopping cart and licked the entire handle while her mother examined grocery items only a couple feet away.
I will certainly be twice as thorough when wiping down my shopping cart handles from now on!
6: “Keep Away” Sign
This one is super effective.
It happens, no matter what. People see a little baby carrier or a small bundle in your arms and they want to see your baby.
Like right up close. In their face. And they reach for their hands. Some are brave and reach out to touch their face.
This is all a major no-no. While some mothers have no problem saying “hands off, pal,” others may feel a little uncomfortable. Or a lot. Those people should know better, after all, and it’s awkward.
Regardless, it’s necessary.
This is where having those cute little signs (like this one) hanging on the carrier handle or even attached to Baby are incredibly helpful.
We hung this sign on our baby’s bassinet in the hospital, and then on the baby carrier. It did the trick! People approached us but stopped short when they saw the sign.
Other, more sensitive and thoughtful people complimented it. My people-pleaser personality struggled with it at first, but after more than a few people with the sniffles came close, I was glad to have it and sorry no more!
7: Protect Your Older Children
One of the quickest ways to spread viruses, we all know, is by our kids. They play with other kids and have a good time, and before you know it, cooties are jumping from one to the next.
This is just part of raising a family, but it’s a little scary when you’ve just brought home a newborn baby.
We’ve seen those cute videos of the toddler at the hospital who meets their baby brother or sister for the first time. Before you know it, the baby is being put in the tot’s arms.
It’s totally adorable, but you might want to think twice about that during cold and flu season.
Making sure your children are washing their hands often is important. While it’s not always in your power, you can try to avoid having your sweetpeas play with other kids who are under the weather.
If your older kids or tots do catch a bug, keep them separated from the newborn as best as possible. It’s especially important that they don’t touch the newborn’s hands or face.
8: Don’t Pass Baby Around
This one seems obvious but it’s easy to not even think about it when it comes to family members. We love our tribe, and when they come to us with outstretched arms and a loving smile, how do you not comply?
But during cold and flu season it’s a good idea to think twice. Have any of your family members been sick, or around someone who was sick?
Watch for fevers, coughing, congestion, sniffles and cold sores. Yes, it might only be allergies but during cold and flu season it’s hard to tell. Playing it safe will protect your baby.
If and when you do feel comfortable allowing family members to hold your baby, ask them to wash their hands (not just hand sanitizer). It’s not being rude and it’s not too much to ask.
And even though, yes, they’re family, they don’t need to be kissing your newborn’s face, either. It’s so hard not to but it’s so much safer if they don’t. Asking them to please not kiss your baby isn’t rude, either. It’s using wisdom.
9: Keep Baby Warm (But Not Too Warm!)
This one isn’t about baby getting sick, per say, but it’s more about keeping baby happy.
Try and keep your house at a reasonable temperature. Put mittens and socks on your baby to keep their extremities warm.
On the other hand, be aware that just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your baby can’t overheat. They can still most certainly overheat!
I can’t tell you how many times I had people reprimanding me (seriously?) because my infant wasn’t ensconced in a thick blanket. What those well-meaning folks failed to recognize was that I was the mama and was (am) instinctively tuned in to my baby.
Both my boys sleep hot–really hot. Wrapping them in a thick blanket would have caused them to overheat, which is very dangerous. (You can read why here.)
Listen to your instincts. Don’t fall for the myth that babies should always be wrapped up in thick blankets at all times.
10: Cool Mist Humidifer
It’s known that winter air is the driest air. Have you noticed that it’s easy to feel “clogged” or “stuffed up” when you wake up in the morning?
Babies can experience the same thing. This is especially true if they get the sniffles.
Having a cool mist humidifier is a game changer. I can vouch for this one from very recent experience.
My toddler would wake up every morning with boogie issues and a raw-sounding throat. Sometimes he’d even have a dry cough. Using the cool mist humidifier at night almost completely resolved his symptoms.
10 Tips For Having A Baby During Cold and Flu Season
If Your Tot Catches Cooties
If your tots or babies do catch a bug, use a cool mist humidifier to help them with their symptoms–especially since they can’t take a lot of medicines (even less for newborns).
Another cool thing about humidifiers is that a lot of them come with night lights which our toddler loves. We use this Vicks cool mist humidifier without the Menthol packets. Our tot loves watching the lights. We’ve noticed it improves his cough and congestion as well.
When Toddler Is Sick
I combine the cool mist humidifier with Wellements Organic Cough and Mucus Syrup with Elderberry. My tot loves the taste so it’s never a fight getting him to take it. (This medicine is not for babies under 1 year old. Please contact your doctor for more information about acceptable medicines to give your babies and toddlers)
And that makes 10 tips for having a baby during cold and flu season. Always remember that if you’re ever unsure about anything, call your doctor. It never hurts to just ask questions and learn more about what you can do.
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