Doctors say that most kids come down with cold around 8 to 10 times in the first two years. No one likes feeling stuffy or feverish, least of all babies who cannot tell you how bad they feel. And if you have 2 or more kids, that’s almost a virus every month! Is there no way to keep your baby healthy during the holidays?
Sadly there is no sure-fire method that will keep your newborn healthy during the holidays. Not only is it flu and cold season but you will have friends and family dropping by all the time. You may have to go shopping and bring your baby with you to crowded malls and stores. Even if you hibernate with your family, you still have to go to work and older kids have school. Germs will come in, no matter what you do.
But there are a few simple ways to minimize the probability of your baby falling ill. Just because you can’t avoid an illness for sure doesn’t mean you should give up! Here are a few tips for your family to stay healthy all year long and especially during the holidays.
Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate
You can vaccinate babies after the first six months of life. Make sure your baby gets the flu shot every year along with the regular vaccinations.
However, babies younger than six months cannot get vaccination shots. That means everyone around them needs to be up to date on their own shots. It includes parents, grandparents, siblings, caregivers, and whoever is around the baby frequently. You can even get the flu shot while you’re pregnant, to protect your baby after birth.
Keep your baby away from any and all smokers. Even if no one in your house does, you may spend time with people who do. A neighbour, a relative or a colleague may unthinkingly light up around your child. Politely asked them to stop or walk away. Smoking can severely compromise immunity in very young children.
Draw a Clear Line between Inside and Outside the Home
Babies crawl all over the floor, all the time. Imagine all the dirt that they’re picking up from your shoes! Conversely, taking their toys outside has the risk of bringing germs in when you come back. Make sure that things outside the home, stay there and vice versa. Ask visitors to remove their shoes. Keep a few toys in the car and don’t bring them inside. Wash them frequently to get rid of germs.
Skip the Supplements and Sanitizer
Some people swear by supplements for their babies but research indicates that they don’t benefit much. A healthy and age-appropriate diet will give them all the nutrition and immunity boost they need.
It can be tempting to insist that all visitors to the house use sanitizer before touching your baby. But babies do need some exposure to germs to build immunity, so don’t overdo things. On top of that, babies tend to lick their hands. Why take the risk of alcohol getting into their system?
Clothes and Hydration
There is no point in wrapping your baby up in multiple layers. Research shows that exposure to cold or wet weather doesn’t change the probability of falling ill. A good estimate for dressing your baby is the number of layers you are wearing. One additional piece of clothing is all right but children should not be sweating inside their jackets.
Keeping your baby hydrated is very important. Babies can get fluid from breast milk, formula, and plain old water. Getting enough fluids keeps the respiratory system lubricated and running efficiently.
Washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways of preventing infectious diseases. What you can do is to make sure you wash your hands and your child’s throughout the day. Before and after you change their diapers, before cooking, and after you come home from a trip outside. Request friends and family to wash their hands when the visit as well.
In spite of these precautions, your baby will fall ill once or twice. They will usually recover in less than a week. But if they develop serious symptoms, always call the doctor!