Baby crawling on the floor

Guest post by Dear Baby G

You are never quite ready for that overwhelming urge to protect your newborn baby. None of the well-meaning books that you read during your pregnancy would have quite prepared you for it. That moment, when you saw your baby for the very first time, and your mothering instincts kicked in and went into overdrive…

"Touch my baby when I don’t want you to, and I just might have to kill you."

I am not a clean freak by nature, but when I took my first-born baby home from the hospital, I was thoroughly obsessed with cleanliness and germs. By the time baby number four had arrived, who was a planned homebirth, I was much more relaxed.

Although I have lowered my standards since my first baby, there is still a general level of cleanliness that must be maintained. Babies are not born with an immune system, so until they grow older and stronger, we do need to protect them as much as we can.
A newborn baby can get an infection, and become ill very quickly, in just a matter of hours.

Five tips to help protect your newborn baby:

  1. Breastfeed your baby - breast milk is high in antibodies and will help kick start your baby’s immunity. A mother will transfer some of her own immunities through her breast milk. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick or develop an infection.
  2. Hand washing – majority of germs are transferred by poor hand washing. Make it routine to wash your hands before and after a nappy change, after handling raw meat, fruit and vegetables or after playing with animals. Washing your hands often, for at least 20 seconds in warm water is the single most helpful thing you can do to protect your newborn baby. Remind older siblings that they must first wash their hands before handling the baby. We keep a bottle of hand wash in our bathrooms and kitchen, and hand sanitizer gel at our change table station, and one in the nappy bag for when we go out.
  3. Keep the sickies away – you will most likely be inundated with visitors in the hospital, or when you get home. Make it well known to your family and friends that they should stay well away if they are unwell, or have sniffles and sneezes. The last thing your baby needs right now is its first cold.
  4. Vaccinations – are not just for babies. Make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date before your newborn’s arrival, it is so easy to forget and miss an older child’s vaccination. Grandparents are often entitled to free vaccinations too, so encourage them to be proactive and get vaccinated.
  5. Outings – stay away from crowded stores, restaurants and public places until your newborn is at least one month old. Strangers cannot help themselves when they see a gorgeous new baby, and they just have to touch them. If you do have to take your baby out, use an approved baby carrier. Babywearing has been practiced for centuries around the world and it involves wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier close to your body. Babywearing will help to keep your newborn safe, and away from prying eyes and strange hands.