Keeping your baby safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
By Dr. Sara Lane, M.D.
As a pediatrician, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear these days is how to keep your newborn safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic poses some unique health concerns, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of extra ‘nesting’ time at home with your immediate family. With a few adjustments, you can still experience all of the joys of new parenthood.
Even during non-COVID times, it can be overwhelming when well-meaning friends and family can’t wait to visit the baby, while you just want to bond with your new family and recover from childbirth. The COVID-19 pandemic gives you a perfect excuse to say ‘no’ to visitors and stay home to rest.
Newborns are at increased risk of all infections, not just COVID, and it’s best to limit their exposure to germs as much as possible until they are at least a few months older. In the meantime, take lots of pictures and videos to send out to loved ones, or do a virtual ‘welcome party’ via Zoom. If you feel strongly that close family or friends meet your newborn in person, make sure they (and their household members) are symptom-free and without known exposures, meet outside in the fresh air if possible, require them to wear a mask and wash their hands, physically distance, or even consider “meeting” through a closed window or glass door.
Avoid taking your newborn to crowded areas like restaurants or parties, but feel free to enjoy outdoor walks in locations where you can distance from others. If you or you newborn may have been exposed to COVID-19, or display any illness symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician.
If you have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding, please strongly consider taking it. The mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines, therefore they cannot cause
COVID-19 in you or your baby; and they do not contain adjuvants like aluminum. The COVID-19 vaccine does not alter human DNA in the recipient (or their breastfeeding infant). As you form antibodies to COVID-19 following your vaccine, the antibodies are being passed through your breastmilk to your baby, giving them a measure of protection as well. Having as many members of your household vaccinated against COVID-19 helps prevent the passage of this infection to your vulnerable infant.
Enjoy this special time in your lives, remember this is temporary (both the pandemic and the sleeplessness!), and practice avoidance of COVID-19 risks to keep your growing family safe.
Dr. Lane is now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Find out more by calling her at 239-908-3593 or visiting online at www.LanePediatrics.com.