Photo credit: Laura Garcia
Even before the era of COVID-19, newborns were the ultimate social distancers – we have always recommended extra precautions to protect babies in the first few months of life as their immune system builds up strength. Dr. Jessica Simkins, pediatrician reviews how normal newborn care guidelines can be applied to protect your infant from COVID-19:
Limit the number of people your baby is exposed to:
Newborn babies should avoid crowded places (think grocery stores, subways, large gatherings). The only persons who should interact with the newborn in the first month of life are the immediate family, other helpful caregivers, and your pediatrician’s office!
If you are COVID-19 positive at the time of your baby’s birth:
If you are asymptomatic, we suggest wearing a mask while breastfeeding and performing good hand washing prior to picking up the baby for feeds. Ideally, the rest of the baby’s care (diaper changing and putting them to sleep) would be done by a non-covid positive caregiver. If you are highly symptomatic or very ill, pumping breastmilk and letting another caregiver feed the baby is best.
Get vaccinated and breastfeed!
Breastmilk is famous for its infection fighting powers – and it’s even more powerful if you are vaccinated against COVID-19 and other diseases. The antibodies that protect you will also pass into the milk and increase your baby’s ability to fight any infection themselves. While the COVID-19 vaccines have not been around long enough to be studied for safety in breastfeeding, other vaccines have been shown to be safe in breastfeeding, and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine supports mothers continuing to breastfeed after getting the vaccination.
Westmed pediatricians are experts in newborn care. Before you have your baby, it is a good idea to choose a pediatrician for your newborn’s care and book those first appointments very soon after you have delivered. To keep newborns safe during their well-visits, Westmed separates sick and well visits at our offices, and separate waiting rooms are provided for newborns.