(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on Jan 1, 2017)
You are likely to visit family and friends with your small baby in this festive season. Once you are among people, you might be panicking about the numerous hands holding and touching her despite the fun going on around you. If you are one of those mama bears, you will not be reserved to speak your mind and ask people to wash their hands before they touch or hold her but if you are quiet and reserved, you will be suffering in silence trying to be polite.
But is there a reason to worry?
Last year, a mother from U.K took to Facebook to share her daughter’s near death experience after contracting herpes from a well meaning visitor’s kiss. Children below 6 months old do not have a strong immune system and that exposes them to germs that cause illness. Washing hands before holding a child and preparing food or after a diaper change is one of the simplest ways of keeping your child safe from illness.
Unfortunately, this habit is overlooked when you are out and about for many reasons. One reason being people don’t think they carry germs because they don’t show any signs of illness. Therefore, your precaution might be ignored by pushy(but well meaning) relatives to hold and kiss the child without washing hands. Follow these three tips to help you in this difficult situation.
- Have a basic hygiene rule – the Do’s and Don’ts when handling your baby. It can include when and how to wash hands or what to do when having sick visitors. The rules must apply to you and anyone around the baby.
- Be assertive – stress on the need of washing hands in an authoritative but reasonable manner.
- Prepare a hand sanitizer – This is helpful when you are traveling. The alcohol based sanitizers are more effective.
It is good to be extra cautious but don’t take it overboard as babies develop their immunity in the process of getting sick.