No one likes cold and flu season, but it strikes an extra chord of stress in new parents. With the holidays on the horizon, it can be overwhelming to attend the usual family festivities while toting along your sweet, lovable germ-susceptible baby. What’s a parent to do?
The experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare have you covered. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks to managing holiday fun with your brand-new baby in tow.
Use that baby wrap
Keep your baby close – and away from germy hands and kisses – by using a baby wrap, sling or carrier. This will also help prevent the pass-the-baby phenomenon that so frequently can happen during get-togethers. Arrive at the host’s doorstep with your baby already snuggled into your chest, or ask to use a private room as soon as you arrive to get the baby situated. You and your partner can switch off throughout the night. Bonus: many babies happily doze for hours while being wrapped, so enjoy those snuggles while socializing.
Insist on the flu shot
During cold and flu season, most TriState hospitals – including the St. Elizabeth Family Birth Place – require proof that siblings have received the flu shot before they are allowed to visit their new baby. Extend this rule throughout all of cold and flu season: only friends and family vaccinated with the flu shot are permitted to hold your newborn.
Babies have brand-new immune systems and cannot easily fight against the flu, making it a dangerous situation if they do get the flu. Protect your sweet new arrival by getting the flu shot yourself and insisting to loved ones that if you’d like to snuggle the baby, the flu shot is a must.
Dress for success
Whether you are heading next door or three states over for this year’s holiday celebration, make sure not to overdress your little one. A few tips for traveling with your newborn:
- Keep them comfortable: Opt for soft, cozy clothes for baby, especially during the car ride. Many of us purchase a darling holiday outfit for our newborn – which is great! Just plan to change your baby into their festive outfit once you arrive at your destination.
- No coats: Even in the middle of winter, avoid putting a thick coat on your little one, especially if you’re going on a long car ride. Use light, snug layers and make sure to snuggle your baby with blankets after you’ve securely fastened their car seat straps.
- Car seat covers: Protect your baby from the harsh winter wind or snow by using a car seat cover or lightweight blanket draped over the car seat if you are transporting your baby from the car to indoors. Once you have arrived, make sure to uncover the car seat right away so your baby has fresh air.
- Keep the car seat inside: Eliminate the need for those extra layers by keeping your baby’s car seat inside. Putting your little one into a room-temperature car seat is much more enjoyable for them than a car seat that has been in below-zero temperatures all night. It’s also safer – babies have a hard time regulating their temperature and keeping the car seat indoors prevents their body temperature from working hard to readjust.
- Be smart: Keep an emergency baby kit in the car, stocked with supplies you’ll need in a pinch if you get snowed in at Great Aunt Sarah’s house. Be smart about driving too – stay off of hazardous roads during treacherous conditions, especially with a little one.
For more tips and suggestions on how to travel with your new one this holiday season, call our St. Elizabeth Maternal Child Health Educators at (859) 655-7400.