Newborns in public?

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011 ( 84 moms have responded )

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How soon do you think it's ok to take a newborn out into public? Do you let many people hold your newborn? Do you have strict hand washing demands before people touch them? What about playmates, with toddlers all around them?

Some moms are more laid back, anything goes, from day one, etcbut some moms are very particular in the early weeks and ask everyone to wash, and not touch the face, and ask about recent vaccines, and don't go into the stores, or churches, or playmates.



Do newborns need to be kept in more 'sterile' environments for a few weeks? Or should they be out and about exposed to the world right away?



Personal part to edit

My daughter should be born early may, she will be born at home, and will be visiting the family doctor at a week old. Other then that I'm mostly debating if I want to do playdates with my regular friends and their kids for a while, and what age I should bring her to church. And when I will invite more extended family members over to visit.

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Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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Carolyn, I do think we need to be out and about after a month or so, I agree with you on how breastmilk protects, you do have to be exposed first, which is another reason I think the 3 month old (Eli) got so sick so much, his mom works and pumps for a few feedings so if Eli is exposed to a new germ at say 9am right after mom leaves, by 3 when she is back and breastfeeds him directly, he could already be getting sick from it. So for your milk to fully protect the baby you and the baby must be exposed to the same stuff and be breastfeeding skin to skin often in order for the baby to pass on the germs to you and let your body make antibodies for that germ.

So, since I don't work, and don't plan on being away from her much at all for about a year I do think she will be well protected by my milk.



I thi it was mostly seeing the 6 week old (Levi) today coughing that made me get all anxious. I know pertussis is mostly only deathly in the first two months, and so any coughing would scare me that young.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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I don't need to expose my new born to varies diseases to create an immune system for them. They do not have a fully developed immune system.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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Apparently you do not fully understand the wonders of breastmilk. You, as a mother, have been sick throughout your life. You have antibodies from that and pass it to your new born. Also, your immune system ingeneral will pass on wbc wich is your immune system, and create a better deffense system for your newborn. Formula cannot replicate this, which means that the newborn of a formula fed baby may not be as rich as a bf baby. (i am not turning this into a bf vs ff debate, I wanted simply to make a point.)

So, yes, i am indeed passing immunity over to my fragile newborn without being sick Carolyn. You do not need to be currently sick to pass anti bodies/ immunity to your new born.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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Yeah its a crap shoot Laura,

on my end i would wonder the opposite, would this little boy have died if his mom had been too careful about germs in the beginning.

Her flippant attitude towards germs and allowing exposure, could have been the reason the boy was able to fight it off as is.

really all in how you look at it i suppose.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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@ Marina

I am well aware of the wonders of breastmilk, nursing a 10 month old myself.

My point is, how do you, the mother create antibodies to pass on to your child without, at some point , being exposed to the pathogens/germs herself ? You are exposed to many germs and viruses etc, on a regularly basis through normal human interaction and activities, and you dont get sick from all of them, your body fends them off, and builds your immune system., and every now and again, you loose the crap shoot.

My understanding of the immune system is that there is exposure to some for of germ, your body builds cells to attack it, using a marker from the antigen/pathogen/germ itself. Your immune system creates a memory of the intruder, and the response to its next invasion , is larger swifter and quicker.

so again, if you and your baby are shut in, how do those antibodies get into your breastmilk if you arent being exposed to the pathogens your body needs to create them, in order to fend of the local plagues ? ( and by plagues i mean, the shit going around that will make your baby sick at the time)

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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Carolyn, the 3 month old was an example cuz mostly his moms flippant attitude about germs etc, I assume if maybe she had been more careful in the early months he might have been better able to fight off the pneumonia and lung infections when they hit.
The 6 week old situations happened this past week (humane society) and today (playdate) today he was coughing a bit when not eating and this made me wonder if he is getting sick......

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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Well, to be frank...that is why you are the parents of your children, and I am the parents of mine. We all parent differently on how we feel about certain subjects, and this is one of them that can be debated to death.

A 3 month old is not an infant right out of the hospital. Both of my pediatricians recommended limited public exposure, and recommended this until 4-6 weeks. They said don't take them out unless you have to. I did my research, and agreed with them. Like you said, they got plenty of exposure from my home, and visitors.

[deleted account]

Laura I think maybe you are being a little over protective, as my earlier post has stated we took Ethan out at a week old, had a plethora of people around him from birth really (because both sets of grandparents and my SIL and neice visited us in the hospital) and I didn't make anyone wash their hands Ethan didn't get his first illness until he was over a year old, and has only had a snuffly nose since the spring has hit - I am positive he has a tree pollen allergy as I do (my nose and eyes are streaming too but we're not ill).

On the other hand I know of two other children who have both been regularly ill from birth, both of their mums are overly protective with germs and cleanliness. Now I'm not saying that being aware of germs isn't a good thing but I honestly think it depends on the child as to how sick they are going to be. Be vigilant and be aware of what signs to look out for regarding illness and your child but try not to let it stop you doing things, such as going out - Eric will still want to do the things he is used to and it is important that he gets to maintain a little normality after your daughter is born.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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I guess the way i look at it is:

my baby was out and about , and is perfectly healthy. Other peoples babies were shut in, and are sickly.
Some babies were out and about and got sick, other peoples babies were shut in and are healthy.

so really its a crap shoot but there is evidence that shows creating a bubble and sterilizing the crap out of stuff and prohibiting exposure to germs can be detrimental in the long term, There is evidence that your babies immune system is at its best just after birth, and even better with breastfeeding.

that 3 month old was not a newborn, his body was making its own antibodies at that point and couldnt fend off the illness. When i go to the mall, i dont let people handle my baby or his stuff, but i bet the sibling who went to daycare, was touching that baby's stuff.

Are you going to prevent Eric from touching his little sister or her things ?

That 6 week old, did she get sick ?

Rosie - posted on 03/31/2011

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i don't think you're crazy laura, i just think maybe people (myself included) have been programmed to think that new babies are these fragile beings when in actuality that's just not true.
i can understand being protective though.:)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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My son was 2 before he ever got more than a stuffy nose. And that was maybe 1 time per year for stuffy nose. If a mother sees fit to keep their babies indoors for the first few weeks, I don't see anything wrong with it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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@ Carolyn



"Breast milk not only has unquestionable nutritional value, but it provides infants with an added level of immune protection that no commercial formula has been able to duplicate. That's because even colostrum—the first milk produced by new mothers—contains large numbers of antibodies and other infection-fighting cells. Through breast milk, nursing mothers are able to provide their babies with a continued source of antibodies long after they deliver. As a result, breastfed babies are protected against many if not all of the diseases to which their mothers' are immune. It is because of this significant boost in immunity that breastfed babies have been shown to get sick less often, suffer from fewer ear infections, and experience less severe symptoms when they do get sick. And while you may be familiar with the risk of uneven heating and scald burns associated with microwaving breast milk, it's worth noting that doing so is also thought to destroy the immune properties of the milk."

http://www.babyzone.com/baby/feeding_nut...



Mothers are constantly supplying their BF babies with immunity. Their immune systems are not fully mature when they are young, and I am more comfortable with keeping them at home away from everyones contagious germs rather than exposing unnecessarily. I had to take my dauter to the doctor for example....if I NEEDED to take my infants out, I would. I tried not to until they were a little older.

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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A few personal experiences have me headed towards the more protective side.
Example one. My friend has three kids 5,2 and a boy who is currently 8 months. Her oldest started kindergarden and brought home tons of bugs, he baby was hospitalized at 3 months with pneumonia and has a nebulizer and is on meds. He coughs a lot and has been really sickly for a few months. She regularly lays m on the floor during bible study and there's tons of people there alot with shoes on and I just assume the floor might not be the best place for a sleeping baby who has breathing issues.
She also let's anyone and everyone hold him, she doesn't regularly even check who has him and he is passed around a ton.
Example two
My friend has a 6 wek old baby. We met at the humane society grand opening last week, and then went out to lunch, he's so tiny! I just look at him with all the crowds around and I feel like he is so vulnerable and small. Today we had a playmate with like 6 toddlers over to her house and amidst the kids running around and of course all the coughing and sneezing and runny noses I again felt that this baby was just so small to be in all this crap!
Example 3
When Eric was born we left the hospital and didn't take him out for a month. We had a few family over in that month, like 4 people total. Everyone washed hands, no one had been recently sick. I was really careful not to et him touch things in public, I didn't let people touch him, and I never really let people hold him!
He didn't get a single stuffy nose til he was 6 months and began crawling!

Idk, I don't want to be over protective, but I want my little girl to be healthy and not get sick until she is bigger and better able to manage a cold virus.
Am I crazy? Just a little? :)

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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Laura, if you read the article linked by Kati, you will see that baby has the same immune system outside the womb at birth as it does inside the womb. And if breastfed, continues to receive those antibodies.

So baby should have stores of antibodies to protect against all those germs at home that you listed, as the mother would have been exposed through out her pregnancy on a daily basis there for passing the immunity onto the baby.

so really it would just be personal/religious reasons, since there is evidence supporting that medically, there is little reason to shut yourself in for weeks afterbirth, i mean unless you physically cannot get around :)

im hung up on this part :
"Do newborns need to be kept in more 'sterile' environments for a few weeks? Or should they be out and about exposed to the world right away? "

Bonnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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If I remember correctly, we didn't take our boys out much until they were at least a month old. It was basically just doctor appointments and visiting family.

There are some religions that will not take a baby out for the first 40 days.

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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Sorry was trying to keep in general, but fact is I'm asking for more personal reasons :)

Lady Heather - posted on 03/31/2011

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We were home for two weeks because I couldn't move. Technically we could have been home for 6 because our check ups were at home. But I got stir crazy after two weeks of not walking and started going on walks to the park and out shopping and crap. Not many people were holding her because she was always on me or in the stroller. I guess we had her baby shower when she was only a month old and some of the ladies held her there. By six weeks we were camping and at 8 weeks she went on her first plane. I guess I'm not very worried about this stuff. I'll probably spend more time at home with the little turkey just because the weather won't be so great.

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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I do think there's benefit for a transitional period, I mean baby is inside amniotic fluid, and then birthed into (in my case) the family home. Baby is now exposed to tons of germs they never have been before, dog germs, cat, dust, dirt, siblings, etc everything I have in my house is full of germs and stuff so she would be exposed to that all at birth. So I think I'd be benefiting her not to then immediately expose her to the whole world of germs outside, in nature and in public, I think one step at a time might be enough expisure.
Like say house germs for a few weeks, then nature stuff outside, then the hard core nasty places like malls and stores and play dates.
I do worry I'm thinking too hard on this which is why I'm asking :)
But I just can't picture taking my brand new baby girl out and about for a while! Am I overreacting? Maybe, but she is so safe inside me right now, and I worry about her getting sick cuz I didn't protect her.

Sarah - posted on 03/31/2011

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I'll be honest...I was a paranoid mess. My son was born around the time of the H1N1 hype & I was terrified to take him out in public. Of course it can't be avoided in situations where I had to take him for checkups & stuff...but I didn't take him out much in those first few months. My husband came down with something (I thought it was the flu) one day when my son was very young & I freaked out on my husband if he tried to go within 10 ft of our son. I was convinced my son was going to catch something & end up deathly ill in the hospital. I regret acting so obsessive about germs & sickness, because I drove myself absolutely crazy. Now that my son is 18 months old, obviously I've toned it down A LOT. When my next child comes along, I plan on being WAAAAY more relaxed & less of a lunatic. ;)

Tinker1987 - posted on 03/31/2011

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You definetly make a good point carolyn.putting your child in a bubble wont build a good immune system

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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okay if im not mistaken, the way the breastmilk immunity works ( from what i have read is) the baby is exposed to germs, then exposes you to germs through buccal contact with your nipples, your body inturn creates antibodies and returns them to the baby via breastmilk.



and



you are exposed to germs, build antibodies, and pass them on via breastmilk.



so. if you are not taking your baby out, you yourself arent going anywhere often , limiting exposure and creating antibodies to protect against what is currently going around than can make your child sick.



so i still dont see how being shut in - mom and baby, unless your leaving your new born home alone.. helps immunity.



someone also posted, the baby has all the moms antibodies at birth, and loses them over time , replacing them with their own. so same thing. how do you create anitbodies without exposure to germs ?

[deleted account]

I don't see any reason not to take your newborn out if you want to. We didn't take our son out until he was about a week old but that was more because I was still ill from my pre-eclampsia and didn't want to go out before then- but then we went shopping :-)

We had visitors from the day we brought him home (he was 2 days old) and they didn't stop for nearly three weeks, I didn't worry about them washing their hands or not touching faces etc, in fact there was only one person who always washed her hands before holding him and she was my SIL MIL who is in her 80s and she did this until he was over 6 months old bless her. The only thing I did ask is that if the person was visibly ill they stayed away and tbh everybody had the common sense to say I'm not well I'll come next week or when I'm better anyway.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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Krista, I was preggo during the big scare of H1N1, and delivered when it was still worrisome. It was not as big a threat when she was born last April, but I think people were still dying from it.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Well...most babies are born in hospitals. And they are haaaaardly sterile. I should not worry if I had birthed a baby there.



As it is, I was toting my daughter around in a mei tai just a couple of days after her birth. Snuggled between my breasts no one was going to reach down in there ;).



But I didn't let people get touchy-feely with my girls. They had to wash first.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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Marina, how does someone gain immunity to things without being exposed to the germs and building antibodies ?

So i am curious how your baby would be more immune after being shut in for 6 weeks ?

also exposure doesnt always lead to getting sick either.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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i was at the mall the day after being released from the hospital. It would have been that same day but i hadnt slept more than 2 hours in 3 days thanks to some loud and chatty nurses on the night shift, horridly uncomfortable beds, and lack of air conditioning.

I never really had any strangers try to touch or hold my baby, everyone would look in the stroller but not one ever tried to touch.

I didnt even really have to ask anyone ( family) to wash their hands either before holding the baby, as they did it on their own and made their children do it aswell ( Logan's cousins)

I did have one women in the mall comment that i was "brave" for taking my son out within days of birth, which i found odd.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/31/2011

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I was comfortable with the 6 week rule for me. I just don't see the need to expose my newborn to everyone elses germs unless it is absolutely necessary. I wanted my infants to build a little immunity first.

I was fine with family members holding, but yes, washing the hands is important for me also. Same for kids...but everyone that came to see her could hold her if they liked. If my sisters kids were sick, they would not come. Why would I want to TRY to get her sick?

[deleted account]

2days after birth i took my second out, she had her puk test.I then took her for lunch with us.I had just had a c-section so looking back i bet i was walking so odd.lol

Many had a look but did not touch.I only had close people in the family hold her.Not many came around so it was fine.So from 2days on my second.I can not remember on my first.My kids are never sick other than the common cold and childhood injections.

Tinker1987 - posted on 03/31/2011

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Being i had a baby in the winter and i dont drive my baby hasnt been out in the public a whole lot,just when we go to the dr or sometimes if im browing in walmart ill bring him in. i wasnt scared to take him in public. you cant avoid germs totally. it was more of a convenince for me,id rather just run in and out of a store and go home rather then pack him around in the cold and into a store.

Rosie - posted on 03/31/2011

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i took all my babies out the day they were released from the hospital. had to go to walmart and get last minute things we forgot. in my middle boys case it was halloween, and i took my oldest and him trick or treating. it did more damage to ME (as i almost passed out ) than it did to him. i have never had a problem taking my newborns out, i think it's a silly myth, and after doing a little research found out the opposite is true.



children are born with antibodies from their mother. they have the most antibodies they are going to have right after they are born, over time they lose those antibodies and start to try to build their own. from what i gather newborns have better immune systems than 2-3 month olds. http://www.wellness.com/reference/allerg...

Karen - posted on 03/31/2011

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I've never kept my newborn home and have no problem with being out and about. While I don't let kids hold my baby I'm fine with adults as long as it's not flu season. I'm super laid back, though, about such things. With my first I was back in college classes the day after having her (my professor held my daughter while she lectured, lol) so that set the tone for me. I also have an insane need to be around people (even complete strangers) after having a baby so within hours of giving birth I'll be at the mall or at a restaurant.



At this point it's also a bit ridiculous to think we can keep our babies in a bubble. With 9 kids we are exposed to other people all the time so it's not like the new baby is coming home to a sterile environment.



I don't care if people wash their hands but I do ask that no one touch baby's face or hands (I actually keep baby in shirts/onesies that can cover their hands).



I would be much more cautious if there was an outbreak of RSV or something. The one place I detest taking my baby is the pediatrician's office. I always get the first appointment of the day so as to hopefully avoid a crowded waiting room with sick kids.

Krista - posted on 03/31/2011

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Tough call. I don't think you can avoid taking a newborn out in public -- they need medical checkups and all of that.



I don't think it's possible to keep a newborn's environment sterile, and you can drive yourself insane trying. But I don't think it's a bad idea to try to at least reduce their exposure to unknown substances.



I was a bit more paranoid than some when my son was born, mainly because he was born during the height of the H1N1 scare. So when people visited, I did ask them to wash their hands before touching the baby (for the most part, people did it before I even asked, which was very kind of them). And in public, if someone admired him and reached out to touch them, I'd just say very gently that with such a bad flu going around, I'd really feel better if they avoided touching his hands or his face. Everybody understood and was very nice about it, thank goodness.

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