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How to keep a newborn healthy and prevent a newborn cold or sickness
Are you worried about your baby catching a newborn cold this winter?
Do you wonder how to handle sick friends or relatives around your new baby?
Many parents have these concerns, especially as the winter and holiday seasons approach.
Unfortunately, you cannot protect your baby from every sickness, but there are definitely things you can do to keep your newborn healthy during her early weeks of life!
Although this post was originally posted pre-Covid-19, these tips are still very relevant today in keeping your baby (and YOU) safe and healthy.
How a postpartum baby moon can keep your newborn healthy!
Since babies love social distancing, you can embrace this time of isolation and quarantine as a special time of resting, recovering and bonding with your newborn!
Keeping your newborn healthy is a great motivation (and excuse!) for planning a postpartum baby moon.
If you have never heard of a postpartum baby moon, check out this post: how to plan a sweet postpartum baby-moon and LOVE your 4th trimester!
A postpartum babymoon is essentially a vacation with your newborn and a chance to rest, recover and bond with your baby without all the craziness (and visitors) that you might otherwise deal with.
It’s an excuse to be pampered and spoiled during your postpartum recovery!
WASH YOUR HANDS!
FREE Printable Welcome Door Sign below…
How to Prevent a Newborn Cold and Keep Baby Healthy!
In this post, I am going to give you 16 very practical tips for how to keep your newborn healthy.
The tips will help you support your whole family’s immunity as well as offer creative (and clever) ways to keep germs away from your baby!
Keeping your newborn healthy begins with keeping your WHOLE family healthy. These health-promoting tips can really help!
This post is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. Please always talk to your doctor or seek the advice of a trained healthcare professional if you or a family member are sick or in need of medical attention.
First, Understand Your Newborn’s Immune System
During the last three months of pregnancy, your baby receives antibodies that have been passed through the placenta.
This gives your newborn some protection when they are born. Just how much protection depends on the immunity of the mother, however.
In addition, a baby’s gut is also colonized with healthy bacteria from the mother’s vagina during a vaginal birth.
Healthy gut bacteria is also a key contributor to your baby’s immunity.
After birth, your baby also receives antibodies from colostrum and breast milk.
Despite the antibodies passed from the placenta and in breast milk, your baby’s immune system is still immature.
In fact, it will take several months for this immunity to fully develop. (source) Premature babies are at even greater risk.
A newborn cold can quickly become something more serious.
For this reason, it is very important to protect your newborn from exposure to germs and sickness.
How do you do this? Keep reading…
Related: Coconut Oil Hacks for Baby
16 Ways to Prevent a Newborn Cold
Here are some very practical tips for avoiding germs, preventing sickness and keeping your baby healthy…
1. Stay Home and Away From Germs!
I know this sounds boring, but it’s probably the surest way to avoid contact with germs!
If you are recovering from childbirth, it’s also the best way for you to rest and stay healthy as well.
You do have a lot more control over who comes and goes when you are at home.
When out in public, it’s much harder to keep germs away from your precious baby.
For some reason, even strangers feel somehow “entitled” to touch or smooch a baby!
Staying home is not always fun, but it does work!
Buy your groceries and household shopping online. (If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime Membership, this is a GREAT time to get one…free shipping, free movies and other great benefits… just sayin’)
Ask friends to run your errands for you.
Keep baby home as much as possible during those early weeks of life.
Having Fun at Home
Being home does not have to be a prison sentence!
Find creative ways to have fun at home… host a game night or movie night (with healthy friends) or have your own “dinner theater” night with your partner and your favorite dinner for 2!
Be creative and enjoy the tranquility of a more relaxed schedule until your baby is older.
2. Keep Breastfeeding
A powerful way to build your baby’s immunity (and literally ZAP those newborn cold germs) is to breastfeed!
Breastfeeding is the way our bodies are designed to nourish and protect our baby from sickness.
The really beautiful thing is that a breastfeeding mother’s body is able to create antibodies to target specific viruses or bacteria that her baby has just been exposed to.
Those antibodies can show up in the milk before a baby even shows any symptoms!
Read more about the way a breastfeeding mother’s body can literally write a prescription to keep her baby healthy in this post! (This is so cool!!)
Breastfeeding Challenges are Real!
Breastfeeding is not always easy, though, and there are some women who are unable to breastfeed their babies.
There are valid reasons for this. Please do not feel judged if this is you!
If you are pregnant, I encourage you to give breastfeeding a try. It is very much worth the effort!
If it’s your goal to breastfeed, make sure that you educate yourself properly during pregnancy and surround yourself with plenty of postpartum and breastfeeding support to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals!
3. Require Hand Washing
This may seem obvious, but make sure that you and your family and friends wash their hands before holding your baby.
Yes, it’s okay to politely make this request before someone holds your baby!
You may be reluctant, but remember…
It’s YOUR baby and you get to call the shots!
4. Prevent a Newborn Cold with this FREE Door Sign!
One of the easiest ways to keep your newborn healthy is to not allow germs to come into your home.
In fact, I even recommend to my clients that they put a little note on their front door for visitors that says:
“Please do not visit today if anyone in your family is sick. We also request that you immediately wash your hands when you arrive. Thanks so much for understanding and for helping to keep our new baby healthy!”
Would you like to print out this sign to hang on your door?
Download this free printable door sign today to keep your baby safe!
Or if you prefer, you can greet your guests with this adorable door sign!
5. Consider a Vitamin D Supplement
One of the big reasons that winter is “flu season” is that we are exposed to much less vitamin D during the winter months.
Many healthcare practitioners agree that most people simply do not get enough vitamin D.
Because sunshine is the primary way that our bodies can get this important immune-boosting nutrient, it is very helpful to supplement with vitamin D during winter months.
However, most vitamin D supplements are synthetic. 🙁
My favorite way to get vitamin D is by taking cod liver oil.
In fact, cod liver oil is one of the rare food sources of vitamin D!
If a breastfeeding mother gets enough vitamin D, her baby will also receive the benefits in her breast milk.
Not only that, but a healthy mom will increase baby’s chances of staying healthy, too!
Unfortunately, most new moms do not get enough of this valuable nutrient which is why pediatricians usually recommend Vitamin D Drops for infants.
If you prefer to go with the infant drops instead of supplementing mom with cod liver oil, these organic drops are a great choice!
Not all Cod Liver Oils are the Same!
Make sure that your cod liver oil is not heat-processed!
Unfortunately, most cod liver oils are processed with heat, which destroys naturally occurring vitamin D.
Some brands have synthetic vitamins added back into the cod liver oil, but this is not ideal. Our bodies do not always recognize synthetic vitamins.
Here are some of my favorite cod liver oil supplements that are NOT heat-processed.
Cod liver oil also contains natural Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, all wonderful immune boosting nutrients!
6. Wear your baby to prevent newborn cold or sickness!
Because it’s not always possible to avoid taking your baby out in public, you will need to come up with a safe way to do so.
My recommendation to avoid a newborn cold is to wear your baby!
A baby-wearing carrier is a necessary investment if you are having a winter baby. Trust me!
How baby wearing can prevent newborn cold & sickness!
When a mother wears her baby, she keeps that baby close to her chest and out of reach of sick children or “germy” hands.
Not only will baby-wearing keep your baby happy while you are away from home, but it will keep her safely in your arms where she belongs!
If you are wearing your baby, people won’t be able to touch or hold her without your permission.
…And you can always use the excuse that you would prefer not to wake your baby if she is sleeping.
When she does wake, you will need to feed her and that’s another great excuse, right?
If you don’t already have a baby carrier for baby-wearing, get one!
What is the best way to get your baby into the baby carrier?
Before you leave home, put your baby carrier on yourself and under your coat. Place your baby into the car seat.
Once you arrive at your destination, leave your car seat in the car and put your baby immediately into the baby carrier.
If it’s winter, she will be snug and warm under your coat and safely tucked away inside your baby carrier.
You can always ask someone to fetch the car seat later to allow it to warm up before you leave.
7. Make or Buy Elderberry Syrup
Have you ever heard of elderberry syrup?
This traditional folk remedy is gaining popularity as a natural remedy for colds and flu!
I make a big batch of elderberry syrup every fall before cold and flu season hits. I am then armed with some powerful ammunition against colds and influenza should they strike my family.
Children love the taste of elderberry syrup, too, so it’s really easy to convince them to take it.
Try giving your family a dose of cod liver oil and chase it down with some sweet elderberry syrup! Yum yum!
Since it’s not safe for infants under a year old to consume honey, make sure to check out this baby-safe recipe!
Print out an easy elderberry syrup recipe card here.
If you’d prefer the convenience of a store-bought version, try this brand. It is made with organic elderberries and no added sweeteners. I recommend adding your own raw honey or date syrup to make it more palatable and nutritious!
8. Keep Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins!
Most health care practitioners would agree that it’s important to continue taking your prenatal vitamin when recovering from childbirth.
This is especially true if you are breastfeeding.
Lactation requires lots of good nutrition and can really deplete a mother’s nutrient stores rather quickly.
Find a prenatal vitamin that is naturally sourced from real food.
Many prenatal vitamins are made with synthetic vitamins. Make sure that your prenatal vitamin is made from real food like these.
Your body knows the difference!
Check out this post for how to choose the best “real food” prenatal vitamins!
Related: 25 Rules for Visiting a Newborn
Related: Homeopathy for Mom and Baby
9. Prevent a newborn cold by prioritizing sleep for the whole family!
One of the best ways to build your whole family’s immunity and protect your newborn is for everyone to get extra sleep.
It’s well-documented that sleep is great for healthy immune systems, whereas sleep-deprivation lowers immunity.
Go to bed early. Take lots of naps. Try to relax your schedule when you have a newborn in the family!
Get help with the household chores or learn to let things go in order to stay healthy.
It really does matter!
Here are some great tips for how to prioritize sleep during the 4th trimester.
10. Eat a Healthy Diet
Make sure that you and your whole family are making smart food choices. Especially during cold and flu season.
Avoid sweets and processed foods. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and follow a healthy real food diet.
There is a very strong connection between diet and a healthy immune system.
Remember, it will be MUCH easier to keep your newborn healthy if your whole family stays healthy!
11. Try to Reduce Stress
Many studies have confirmed the link between stress and illness. In fact, these studies show a definite link between stress and weakened immunity.
Make sure that you take care to reduce unnecessary stress.
Treat yourself to stress-busting self-care such as relaxing baths, massages, or pedicures!
12. Drink Lots of Water
Stay hydrated and help your immune system by flushing out toxins. Plenty of pure, filtered water helps your body’s natural detoxification processes.
Drink fruit-infused water and get your water and vitamin C at the same time with this fruit infuser glass water bottle!
13. Hide Your Baby 🙂
Another great way to keep strangers from sharing their germs with your baby is to hide him… ha ha!
Covering your cute little baby might help keep nosy strangers away from him.
It’s funny how everyone feels some sort of “right” to touch a cute baby. But if they cannot see the cuteness, they might keep their “germy” hands off!
Try covering your car seat or stroller with a light blanket while he is sleeping. Out of sight, out of mind…. maybe!
14. Don’t Assume that People Will Warn You When They are Sick!
If you have guests coming to your home or you plan to attend a gathering, politely inquire if everyone is healthy before going ahead with your plans.
Although you don’t always know when someone might be contagious, you deserve to know if someone is already sick!
At least you can make a fully informed decision and decide if you want to take the risk or not with your baby.
Will you offend someone?
But don’t ever apologize for keeping your baby safe! It is your right and duty as a parent.
In fact, here are more rules for visiting a newborn that will keep you and your baby happy and safe.
15. Learn to Say “No” (to a Newborn Cold)
Sometimes keeping your newborn healthy means saying “no”.
Say “no” to activities that cause stress, “busyness”, or exposure to lots of people or germs.
The best way to prevent a newborn cold or sickness is to keep yourself (and family) healthy first.
In order to do this, you need to take care of yourself, mama!
Sometimes the best mommy self-care means guarding your “down” time and saying “no” to unnecessary outings, gatherings and events, especially during the busy cold and flu season.
16. Trust Your “Mama Bear” Instincts!
Last but not least, follow your instincts.
Every mother has the gift of mother’s intuition.
Trust your “mommy gut” and follow your “mama bear” instincts. It is a real thing and deep down, YOU know what’s best for your baby and your family.
How do you plan to keep your newborn healthy and prevent a newborn cold this cold and flu season? Please share in the comments!