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What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?

by
author image Forest Time
Forest Time has been writing for over a decade. During this time, he founded and edited a short-lived literary magazine, received several prizes for his poetry and published a master's thesis on Cambodian history. He received his Master of Arts in Asian history from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007.
What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?
Take precautions when handling your baby if you have an illness. Photo Credit Jani Bryson/iStock/Getty Images

Without a fully developed immune system, you newborn runs the risk of catching whatever bug is currently ailing you. Although spreading an illness to your infant is likely during close encounters such as feeding, bathing changing or simply rocking your little one, you can reduce the risk by taking a few basic steps.

Solicit Assistance

What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?
Minimize contact with your baby to prevent trasnmitting illness. Photo Credit Kirichenko/iStock/Getty Images

Many common communicable diseases, such as influenza and the common cold, are airborne and easily transmitted to others who come into close proximity with anyone infected. Of course, few relationships are as close or intimate as that between parent and newborn child. The best single way to prevent your baby from becoming ill is to minimize contact. Ask a friend or family member to care for the child for a couple of days. If you are breastfeeding, you can pump your breast milk and ask your friend or family member to feed your newborn.

Continue Breastfeeding

What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?
Continue breastfeeding. Photo Credit Valua Vitaly/iStock/Getty Images

If you are breastfeeding your newborn, continue to provide your newborn with breast milk even if you are ill. The government website Women's Health reports that most common illnesses cannot be transmitted via breast milk, and that breast milk contains antibodies that might actually help prevent your newborn from contracting your illness. Breastfeeding is discouraged only if you have untreated tuberculosis, human T-cell lymphotropic virus, HIV/AIDS, are undergoing chemotherapy or are taking antiretroviral medications.

Prevent Airborne Transmission

What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?
Leave the room if you cough or sneeze. Photo Credit Kmonroe2/iStock/Getty Images

If you cannot find someone to help you care for your newborn, do your best to prevent airborne transmission of your illness. Try not to breathe directly into your baby's face and, if possible, leave the room if you need to cough or sneeze. According to the Centers for Disease Control, another prevention option is to wear a face mask while you are ill. Placing a blanket between you and your newborn while you are breastfeeding might also help to minimize the risk of airborne transmission.

Practice Healthy Habits

What Should I Do to Protect My Newborn When I Am Sick?
Drink plenty of fluids. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

Practicing general healthy habits around your newborn will minimize the risk of infection. Be sure to get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids; taking care of yourself will shorten the duration of your illness, limiting the amount of time that your baby is exposed. In addition, be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently, especially before handling your baby. Wash your hands after touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

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