Keeping your baby safe and healthy during the fall when “sick season” is on the rise is a top concern for parents! It can make leaving the house feel really daunting when you’re trying to protect your newest little one, especially if you have multiple kids or you’re also currently in the midst of a global pandemic.
Unfortunately, children younger than 5 are at higher risk for developing serious flu-related complications so we want to do what we can to protect them as much as possible.
It’s definitely unprecedented times going into flu season on top of a pandemic and so isolating for parents in one of the hardest transitions of their lives. It’s natural to want support and to need support! We will cover some general tips (not medical advice) to keeping you and your family healthy during this season!
First, take preventative action! These things include:
Keep yourselves away from those you know are sick or have recently been sick
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—throw the tissue away after you use it, and wash your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread this way.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill.
Natural immune boosting options:
Get enough sleep! Sleep is closely tied to maintaining health. In a study in 164 healthy adults, those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night
Also, you may sleep more when sick to allow your immune system to better fight the illness
Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.
- Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.
- Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.
Probiotics or eating fermented foods can help as research suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invader organisms.
In a 3-month study in 126 children, those who drank just 2.4 ounces (70 mL) of fermented milk daily had about 20% fewer childhood infectious diseases.
If you don’t regularly eat fermented foods, probiotic supplements are another option.
- Limited added sugars
- Moderate exercise
- Stay hydrated
- Fresh air and natural light
When you are seeing friends and family, make sure everyone removes their shoes and washes their hands first. During the pandemic, you may ask that everyone wears a mask.
If they bring a gift, you can wipe it down and dispose of any extra packaging to prevent the spread of germs.
When you do need to leave the house, things you can pack in your diaper bag to make the trip successful include:
- Plenty of hand sanitizer
- An extra bodysuit or romper (because blow outs are never well-timed!)
- An extra lounge top for mom (because the blow out will likely happen on you)
- A nursing cover if needed
- Ring sling (to keep little one close and nosy people away)
- Swaddling blanket
- A sign on the car seat that says “please don’t touch!”
You can also utilize any curbside or pick up when running errands and outdoor shopping areas will be preferred over crowded indoor spaces. You may choose to go out to eat and if dining outside is an option, that may be preferred as well!
Most families are having to get creative with how they celebrate their new baby and venture out of the house-- it can be done safely when taking the proper precautions! Just remember the ways to keep yourself healthy and protected so that you can care for your baby. Stay safe!
AUTHOR: Ashley Olson is a certified paediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep-deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 3 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!