Day 80: Healthy Baby, Happy Parents

One of the hard realities of raising a baby is that their little immune systems haven't quite rallied all the troops yet. Even healthy babies do not have the resistance as strong as older children and adults. That means the name of the game is prevention if you don't want to spend a lot of time and money working on the cure.

This is especially true if your baby is a preemie or has other health concerns. My second son was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for over a month. I remember the extreme precautions we had to take just to go see him. These included having to wash with hot water and soap for two minutes our hands and my arms all the way up to the elbow. We then had to take small picks and clean out under our nails. We could not visit if we had anything even resembling a cough or cold.

I'm not suggesting that all parents have to take such extreme precautions all the time, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Any case frequent hand washing should be the norm. Those who have even minor illness, should avoid the baby. At all times, you should avoid touching the baby directly on the eyes, nose, or mouth, as these are places where germs can easily enter.

If the baby’s bedding become soiled, change them immediately and don't let your baby sit in a dirty diaper for longer than necessary. Clean and bathe your child frequently, not necessarily a bath every day, but perhaps about every other day to start.

It is also imperative that you try to control what goes the baby's mouth. If he uses a pacifier and it falls on the floor, it is best to get a new one or to clean off that one with soap and hot water before returning it to the baby's mouth. Thoroughly clean any thing the baby eats out of. When in doubt get something fresh for the baby to eat out of or with.

Although prevention may seem like a lot of work, having a sick infant is far worse. Sometimes sicknesses early on in life can have unintended consequences for children later in life because they are developing so quickly at this stage.

For example, one of my siblings had a very high fever when she was young and which caused damage to the development of her teeth, so that her enamel was severely weakened and she had serious dental problems.

In closing, you just have to try to do your best. You can't prevent every source of possible germ spreading, but you can do your part to keep that little person as healthy as possible.

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