Introducing Newborn to Neighbors: Health Question

Nancy - posted on 12/19/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Just wondering if others have an opinion about the best way to keep a newborn from getting sick if introductions to others have to be made. Should people come to our house to meet her (after they have washed hands, etc of course) or should we bring her to others' homes (same precautionary measures, limited contact, washing hands etc) so as not to bring potential germs to our home? There would be no traveling involved, our visitors live a short walk away. My husband and I disagree over the safest strategy.

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Michelle - posted on 12/20/2012

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There is not need for all these "precautions", I was like the others, I was shopping with my youngest on the way home from the hospital and was at the school drop off and pick up when she was 2 days old.

I had a life that wouldn't take a break (I had 2 school age children) so she had to fit in. It helps with their immune system to be in different environments.

Lisa - posted on 12/20/2012

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I never sheltered my babies from the world. They were all out and about with us within the 1st couple of weeks. Live your life!!

Amanda - posted on 12/20/2012

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I had my first at the end of November. I wasn't worried about other people touching him and such. The more you expose them, the stronger their immune system will be.

Christina - posted on 12/20/2012

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I had my daughter in the beginning of January (I'm in Connecticut). She was my first (and only!) and there were some things no one ever told me, which necessitated a trip to WalMart on the way home from the hospital, when she was 2 days old. We basically never stayed home after she was born. She cried non-stop, sometimes up to 20 hours a day, so we were constantly driving her around, and when she would stop crying, we'd take her out to lunch, grocery shopping, to pick up necessities, etc. I breastfed for a year, and now, at age 5, she is one of the healthiest kids I know. Don't worry about sheltering your baby if her immune system is normal. I never asked anyone to wash their hands before touching my daughter. Some germs are good for us! We are a crazed nation/world of germophobes, and that does more harm than the actual germs do! Do what feels right in terms of the number/timing of guests, but don't worry about sheltering her....she'll be fine!

Shawnn - posted on 12/20/2012

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For the most part, my kids were exposed to everything within 48 hrs of birth. Granted, summer babies are a bit different.

I'd invite people over, just to minimize exposure to cold weather, but otherwise, if you keep your kid in a bubble, it's more likely that they will have problems with their immune systems. For example, my SIL and I had our eldest sons 4 days apart. I treated my son like a human. He got dirty, he met new people, was exposed to new things almost immediately. She treated hers like a lab experiment, 3 baths a day, no one could hold, touch or even talk to him without both washing hands, and wearing a mask. My son had very few illnesses as a baby, and his immune system is strong and healthy. My nephew has been a sickly child from the start. Ear infections, sinus infections, strep throat, all before he was a year old. Her pediatrician told her that she was causing it by being too protective.

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Nancy - posted on 01/05/2013

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Thanks all very much for the feedback. So sorry to hear about those whose little ones have been sick or in the hospital at one point or another. Our newborn is 17 days old now and so far no colds or fevers but we have been very careful. My fear stems from our first daughter being in the NICU for the first two weeks of life. She was there for polycythemia and contracted a virus in the hospital a week after she was born, at which point she was placed in isolation and we could only touch her with gloves, plastic robes, masks and eye shields. Because she was in a section of the NICU with the sickest babies, and because it required people to put on and off all of these plastic precautionary items the nurses would often let her cries go unattended (we would arrive early in the morning and she'd be crying in her bassinet while others rushed around to attend to other more sickly infants). If you've ever had a baby in the NICU it is traumatizing and you never want to go through that again.

That said my oldest is 19 months now and until we moved next door last month to a couple who have a son the same age in daycare, she was never sick. Now she is constantly contracting the colds and fevers he picks up in daycare. It's not really feasible for us to keep them separated unless he is obviously ill (although one can contract something from someone days before signs of illness appear) Of course I am extra paranoid about her getting something from him or somewhere and giving it to the baby, or our neighbor's child giving something to the baby given that when newborns get a fever it's an automatic stay in the NICU and possibly a septic workup.

In any case, I have been trying to keep her interactions with others at a minimum and insist on everyone washing or sanitizing their hands before holding her. I don't take her out in public yet although we have gone on a couple of short stroller walks. I have been keeping her away from the other children. Also, with the exception of Christmas dinner at the neighbor's house all interactions have been at my home - this way I can sanitize the house after people leave. When my oldest daughter plays with their son, she immediately gets in the sink for a bath when she comes home, or has to wash her hands if she's been to the store with my husband, etc. So far so good and neither have been sick for the last (almost) three weeks so we will just continue to do what we're doing. I do think the neighbors think I have been a little anti-social, but they are much less concerned about germs than I am and aren't particularly cautious about the way our children interact if their son has the sniffles or a cough when my oldest is there. But I'd rather they think that than have another baby in the NICU.

Mindee - posted on 01/05/2013

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My first was born with heart disease so we had to be very cautious. We didn't take her to other peoples houses, but allowed others to come visit us. They would have to wash their hands. My husband would also change his clothes too after being out so he wouldn't share those germs on his clothes. That little babe didn't ever get sick! It was great! Now we have our 3rd baby, and we haven't been as strict/careful, and he has been sick almost constantly since he was a month old. (he's 3 months now). Other people have held him without washing hands, we've had to take him out places and everyone wants to touch him. Go ahead and take all the precautions you feel you should take. You have more control over the environment in your own home, so if you really want to see other people, have them come visit you, assuming they and everyone in their home is healthy. Congrats on you little one, by the way!

Sylvia - posted on 12/29/2012

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Unless your newborn is a preemie or is immunocompromised, I wouldn't worry about it. There are germs everywhere, and she's going to be exposed to everything you and your husband are exposed to (which is why your milk contains antibodies to everything you've been exposed to recently). In fact, probably there was a bigger variety of germs in the hospital, if you gave birth in hospital, than there will be in anyone's house that you go to. Ditto the paediatrician's office.

I wouldn't advise exposing her to smoke or obviously sick people, of course. But you're not seriously going to quarantine yourself for weeks just in case, are you?

My DD was sucking on everyone's fingers pretty much from birth, had friends and rellies around constantly, and went to her first restaurant when she was, I think, three or four days old. Nothing terrible happened. I'd have been more cautious if I'd had any reason to think she was at high risk, of course.

Pamela - posted on 12/29/2012

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What you FEAR is automatically attracted to you! If you FEAR GERMS they will flock to you and the baby! Babies are delicate, and also sturdy. If the baby is being breastfed, then even less to fear because the natural antibiotics in the breast milk will help protect your child more than clean hands.

If the child's hands are handled by others and you are concerned, wipe the baby's hands when she has made the circle of visitors/family and is passed back to you. Most of our infections come from putting our unclean hands next to or in our mucus membranes.....eyes, ears, noses, mouths. Which babies tend to do. Fingers go everywhere on little ones as they learn about their world and generally find their way into mouths (especially for teething babies).



Making sure that the

Gillian - posted on 12/23/2012

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I believe in germs after the first couple of weeks when they can make their own immunity, especially if you're breastfeeding, because their body will learn what to do from you.

Suzanne - posted on 12/23/2012

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After reading this I'm so glad I held off 6 weeks before meeting the neighbor's 2nd child...hard for a grandma to do (my grands live 4 hours away!) Each family is different, don't be too paranoid, but keep all visits short if possible; when you have two or three, you won't even think of this precaution. Give neighbors the older kids for an afternoon and get a nap in!

Diane - posted on 12/23/2012

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Julia, how horrifying to have a newborn with meningitis in the hospital!! Oh I'm sorry you went through that, and equally sorry the little fella went through that so soon in his life. It just goes to show you really never know, all you can do is the best you can, and hope it's good enough. No-socomial, or germs introduced in the hospital are very common, but you mentioned a relative who came. It seems at this age he probably has put more things in his mouth and face than you realize, and has a healthy immune system that would deal very well with people's kisses. It is so good to read about a wonderful outcome, and the fact that he is doing so well now.

Diane - posted on 12/23/2012

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You didn't say how many weeks she was. I was conservative, keeping mine at home for 6 weeks, but I've never met anyone else who did that. I'd give her a few weeks, and if others come over and want to touch, they can wash their hands, but keep in mind many things are airborne as well. By a couple of months, some exposure to normal germs is probably part of a healthy baby routine. I know my son had his first cold at 2 weeks and I was horrified since I hadn't taken him anywhere, and his sister had been well. But he bounced back just like the doctor said he would, even though I slept on the floor next to his bed with a humidifier going. If you must make introductions with a flat out newborn, then have them wash their hands and call it good. Think of the old days on the farm, when gramma and aunties took care of the baby as well. And your own family can harbor germs and not even know it. You'll be fine, she'll be fine, and in a few weeks, it won't be an issue, unless you know someone has a "bug", and then they can't come over.

Rebecca - posted on 12/22/2012

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I was upset when I had my first baby, watched my FIL video from the grandparents meeting her and saw that my baby had my mother-in-laws finger in her mouth at 20 minutes old. I then decided that everyone had to use anti bacterial wash before holding her and when we asked for their help following the birth of my son last month I insisted on NO fingers in his mouth for any reason!! My 2 1/2 year old helps alot with her baby brother so he is exposed to enough germs with her.

Roxanna - posted on 12/22/2012

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I wouldn't allow any contact with people outside of my home with my babies until they were atleast 6 weeks old. Perhaps I am old fashioned and paranoid, but I am the one that has to deal with the girls if they get sick.
Luckily, my girls were rarely sick, but I allowed NO ONE outside of the immediately touch them until they were atleast 6 - 10 months old.

Julia - posted on 12/21/2012

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My first baby developed Menengis in the hospital because he was exposed to a relative who came in & had a simple cold or flu. Since he was less than a day old, his immune system was not very strong yet. He ended up in the NICU for a month & recieved such high levels of antibiatics that the drs said he could develop hearing loss as late as 3 years afterwards or braindamage manifestining as late as 5 years later. He was developmentally delayed & recieved services from age 9mths to 2 1/2 yrs old. He is still a little behind in some areas (gross motor & expressive communication) for his age. I tell you not to scare you, but to affirm that if you feel the need to protect your baby for a while, that is your right. I subsequently made everyone who touched him wash hands or use antibacterial gel for 1 year. Now he is 3 1/2 & plays in the dirt/mud, often has dirt under his fingernails, rough & tumbles, eats outside, picks food up off the floor (yuck!), & eats his own buggers (eww!!!). He is very healthy now & occasionally he does get sick when others share germs at church nursery, bible study nursery, gym kids room, MOMS Club, neighborkids, preschool, etc. My second child we followed a friends advice that if anyone wants to kiss the baby, let them kiss her feet, not face or hands. Then I wash her feet when we get home. Don't feel intimidated to ask others to wash or use gel on hands first, just tell them you are concerned she not pick up any germs since baby is so young. If someone is offended or insulted... which is more important to you? Your concern for your child's health or feelings of one other person?

Tina - posted on 12/21/2012

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I'd only be a little cautious around other kids for the first 2 months because the first round of vaccines have not been given yet. I've had two patients with pertussis before and it is not pretty.

Missy - posted on 12/20/2012

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Babies are tougher than you think and they have natural immunity for a while and longer if you breast feed. I would avoid obviously sick people and smoke but other than that do what you want. If you're tired, have people visit you. If you want to get out then go! Our third baby was born in November and was in all kinds of crowds from his older siblings Christmas programs to Christmas shopping in busy malls and was totally fine.

Nina - posted on 12/20/2012

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My kids were out right away. My son to a party at 3 days old. My first daughter we took out of state on vacation at a week old. 8 years later we just had a new baby 3 months ago. We left the hospital and the next day she was on the football field w/ my husband and I. He coaches and I am the cheer coordinator for our city. This baby has to fit into our life especially w/ older kids.

Erica - posted on 12/20/2012

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I had my first Child at the beginning of Aussie winter (not super cold but still enough for colds and that) but four days after he was born i rugged the lil man up and went grocery shopping (stubbornly ignoring the fact i had a c-section and shouldve been taking it easy lol)- a lot of people touched and cooed, those that were sick had a quick look at him, tickled his foot and backed away- as such my son has a pretty decent immune system.... dont keep your kid in a bubble unless a pretty serious illness is floating around the area (such as whooping cough) for all the good intentions it really makes life that bit harder in the long run

Miranda - posted on 12/20/2012

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I agree with shawnn. My daughter was around people from day 1 while my cousins daughter was completely sheltered. They are both 12 and my daughter is almost never sick while my cousins daughter misses weeks of school when she gets ill.
Also, if you are breast feeding, remember your baby gets your immunities for a while. My daughter was exposed to strep (me) and chickenpox (sitter) at a few months and never got anything.

Whitney - posted on 12/20/2012

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My daughter's been exposed to different ppl since she was in the hospital. My friends all came to see her. I had a bunch of ppl over for a cookout the day we cane home from the hospital. But then again, she was a summer baby. She didn't get her first cold until she was 8 months and she's only had 2 colds since then. She's 2 1/2 now.

Dawn - posted on 12/20/2012

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I was more cautious than some of the people who have responded, since my doctor told me not to get him out in a crowd for the first 8 weeks...this may have been partly because he was born in late November, when there are more illnesses going around. Newborns can't fight germs the way an older child can, so it's best not to risk it. It would be fine to have some people over where they can wash their hands, but I'd avoid malls and that sort of thing to be on the safe side.

Denikka - posted on 12/19/2012

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I agree with Dove. I had my son out food shopping with me when he was less than a week old. Many people touched him (generally legs, no biggy) and coo'd over him and he didn't get his first cold/illness until he was almost a year old.

As long as basic hygiene is followed, it really shouldn't be an issue.

I would personally have friends, family, neighbours, etc over to my house if I was prepared to entertain for a while. Have a *welcome to the world* type of get together to get it all over with at once, and to have an escape route if needed.

Dove - posted on 12/19/2012

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I had my newborns out in public (and yes, being passed around by people I knew) at 1-2 weeks old....

Unless the other people are smokers or major slobs.... either environment is probably just as germy.

Lacye - posted on 12/19/2012

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Personally, I would have people come to my place rather than get the newborn out in the cold. Your child will get sick faster if you take her in and out of different houses.

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