Managing Family & Visitors During COVID-19
Everybody wants to meet the new baby! There’s something so special about a fresh, squishy baby and the miracle of new life. Plus, family and friends are a serious source of wisdom, guidance, love, and support—and if they help with household chores and meals, what could be better?
Pre-COVID Visitor Advice
But during pandemic, it’s important to keep baby and their parents safe and healthy. Even before COVID-19, experts advised limiting the number of visitors baby is exposed to for the first couple of month—and at least until baby’s first round of vaccines. This was especially important during cold or flu season.
Newborn immune systems are immature, so babies are extra susceptible to all germs. Babies with stuffy noses or ear infections struggle more with nursing. When babies have a hard time eating, their risk goes up for things like dehydration and jaundice.
And if there’s any sign of a fever, your healthcare provider will have to take every precaution to rule out a bacterial infection, which means blood draws at the very least. All of this can be extremely stressful, and better avoided in the first place.
COVID-Era Visitor Advice
Now that we’re in a pandemic, we recommend applying the CDC’s general recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 to your newborn:
- Avoid indoor exposures to people not in your household
- Keep your baby at least 6 feet away from people not in your household
- If you take your baby outside of your home, insist that others near you wear a mask
When introducing your baby to family members, hold these visits outdoors, when possible, and everyone gets to mask up and keep their appropriate distance. Encourage your loved ones to help by dropping off meals and groceries, and by Zooming with your older children.
SEE ALSO: Breastfeeding Success Strategies
For families who can’t follow these recommendations, the next best thing would be to minimize the likelihood of spreading infection by using any combination of the following:
- Keep visits outdoors
- For indoor visits, limit time spent to no more than 15 minutes
- Ask visitors to stay 6 feet from baby
- Ask everyone to wear a mask
- Everyone who will touch or hold your baby should wear a mask and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before picking up baby
Absolutely ban any visitors who:
- Have symptoms of illness (even mild symptoms)
- Have been exposed to someone who is ill
- Have been exposed to someone who is COVID+
Hey parents, there’s a silver lining in these challenging times: Many moms and dads have discovered that sheltering in place with a newborn offers privacy, opportunities to learn how to breastfeed, and time to “sleep when baby sleeps.” Enjoy this special time.
Healthy Mom& Baby has many articles to help you through your pregnancy, and keep you and your baby in good health, written by the nurses at AWHONN, see our Healthy Moms and Healthy Pregnancy and Healthy Baby sections.