Kisses on the Head: How to Show Baby Love During Cold and Flu Season
When the winter months feel long and cold many parents find joy in coming together with relatives or other families for play dates, brunch, or other indoor activities. Spending time with people we care about can bring warmth and joy into our lives. It can also (and often does) bring all sorts of germs. The sniffles are never fun for grown-ups. But for babies and young children, even common (and preventable through vaccination) illnesses like the flu have the potential to get serious quickly.
One of the best ways to avoid getting sick during the winter is to avoid close contact with other people. When you have a baby though, it can be difficult to communicate to those who want to show their affection that they need to be careful. This winter, instead of stressing your way through get-togethers and reminding people over and over not to kiss or over-cuddle your baby, use this quick list to tell people how they can safely show their love.
Give a kiss on the top of the head
If you have people in your life who love to cuddle baby, and who you’re typically comfortable with kissing your little one, ask them to avoid kissing baby on the hands or face and, instead, aim for the top of their head. Germs are often spread when people (who may or may not know they’re sick) get to close to baby’s mouth or nose, or plant kisses on parts of their body they tend to put right into their mouth. Asking others to kiss a baby on the head still lets them and the baby enjoy cuddling up and protects your little one. Planting kisses on a baby’s head also provides the grown-up with the opportunity to enjoy that brand new baby smell.
Often, there are people in your life who love your baby, and who your baby loves, that you’d prefer keep their physical distance. Whether it’s an elementary school niece or nephew who loves their cousin (but is probably teeming with school germs) or a friend from work who you’re just not quite as close with, having a non-physical activity in mind that will give them the opportunity to bond with your baby can be helpful. Let people know your baby’s favorite game is peek-a-boo and they’ll likely be happy to make your baby giggle without any physical contact.
Push the stroller
Sometimes, people can feel connected and build their bond with a baby be completing any sort of care activity. While feeding, changing, and rocking are typically left to parents, pushing the baby in their stroller as you take a walk or move around a shopping space can give someone else the opportunity to smile down at your baby and share their love without the risk of swapping germs.
Sing a Song
When those closer to your baby want to help out at bedtime, they might envision themselves holding and gently rocking baby to sleep. Instead, place your baby in the bassinet or crib and encourage those who want to help out to sing a sweet song as your baby drifts off to sleep.
In addition to limiting close contact with others, making sure that all the hands that come close to your baby are washed will greatly reduce the risk of them getting sick. This year, in addition to having a quick list of non-physical activities you can recommend to those to want to bond with your baby, keep hand sanitizer close and institute a strict hand-washing rule for all visitors.