Contributed by – Healthians team
Birth of a baby always brings joy to a family. However, in times like these, it is only natural for you, as a parent, to worry and be concerned about keeping your little one safe and protected from coronavirus. With new research and data coming in on a daily basis, nothing for certain can be said about the virus. Initial research said that the virus had a low impact on young ones but now as we have seen cases of young ones getting severely infected; it is only wise to stay alert and safe. So, here’s what experts believe that you should do to keep your newborn baby safe during this pandemic.
Coronavirus and risk to a newborn
Considering the current data, no vertical transmission of the virus is seen till date. No traces of the virus were found in amniotic fluid, placental tissue and even in breast milk. This means infected mothers cannot pass the virus to the baby in the womb or through breast milk.
Therefore, the newborns who were found COVID-19 positive acquired the virus after coming in contact with an infected individual. A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics in March analyzed data from more than 2100 children in China who contracted the coronavirus. About 4% of them had no symptoms, 51% had a mild illness, 39% had a moderate illness and 6% had a severe illness. The data also revealed that infants had higher rates of severe illness as compared to older children. Here, please note that the data is limited and small and is not sufficient to make any solid claims.
In rare cases, children have also developed a severe syndrome called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) which seems to be linked with COVID-19 but research is ongoing and doctors are still trying to fully understand it.
Because the babies are found to be coronavirus positive a few days after the birth which indicates that they are picking the virus through droplet inhalation or by coming in contact with an infected individual, it is necessary for you to take certain precautions to combat the chances of your baby developing COVID-19.
Do not stop breastfeeding your baby
Breast milk is a natural vaccine for the baby. Infants benefit from it as it builds their immune system, provides them antibodies and immunoglobulins. Thus, breastfeeding should be the primary choice of feeding the baby. Those mothers who are coronavirus positive can look at expressing through pumping and then having someone else feed the child.
Sanitize all the belongings and surroundings
Remember that the virus can live on surfaces for several hours and babies tend to lick or put everything around them in their mouths. So, ensure you wash everything used for the baby before and after use. Wash baby’s toys often as well. Thoroughly clean your house every day, especially places which are touched by many people. Keep the surroundings of the baby exceptionally clean and sanitized at all times.
Restrict contact with others
Limit the number of people who take care of the baby. Ideally, parents are enough considering they are virus-free. Avoid hiring help from outside. Avoid anyone who is not residing in the same house get in contact with the baby.
Unnecessary travel and doctor visit should be avoided
Keep your baby home at all times unless it’s an emergency and going out cannot be avoided. Regular checkups of the newborn are important but whenever possible, avoid visiting the hospital. Opt for virtual or telephone consultation. However, never miss any vaccine dates. When stepping out, make sure you wear a mask and keep the baby away from others.
Strictly follow all the precautions
The primary caretaker of the baby should strictly follow all the precautionary measures advised by the government. If you are taking care of the baby then make sure that you wash your hands every time before handling the baby. Also, never touch any of the baby’s objects before cleaning your hands. All of the baby’s stuff should be kept away from the reach of outsiders and pets.
It is understandable to feel overwhelmed and frustrated while taking care of a newborn child and the current scenario might make it even more challenging. However, equipping yourself with information, being calm and taking precautions can take you a long way in keeping your baby and yourself safe.
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