What You Need To Know About Infant Cocooning

Forget the required hand-washing of old when you come to visit a new baby. 

Well, actually, don't forget the hand-washing, that's still super-duper important, but instead of simply sticking to the soap-and-sink or sanitizer routine, add this to your arsenal of staying healthy tricks:

Infant cocooning. 

You may, as I first did when I heard the term, mistake infant cocooning for something that resembles the popular method of swaddling an infant for comfort and soothing, but infant cocooning is actually probably not really comfortable for the adult parties involved—

Because it's all about vaccinations. 

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Image via Flickr/ CarbonNYC

Infant cocooning is the term given to the idea of vaccinating all the adults that will come into contact with a new baby—essentially creating a “cocoon” of protection around him or her from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cocooning as a way to prevent babies from getting pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Because babies are too young to get the whooping-cough vaccine, and because they are most likely to catch whooping cough from the adults that care for them, the best means of protection against whooping cough is to ensure that all the adults—with everyone from great-grandma to daycare workers—are vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the cocoon of protection start during pregnancy; all pregnant women should receive the Dtap vaccine during pregnancy or before leaving the hospital. 

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And whooping cough is no joke. The CDC actually reported a rise in the disease in 2012, with as many as 22 pertussis-related deaths, mostly occurring in infants younger than 3 months old. 

Some parents, like Angela Keizer and Brian Miller, have gone so far as to institute a “no shot, no baby” policy in an effort to protect their precious cargo. They asked all their family, friends, and anyone wanting to visit their new daughter to get vaccinated before they could have access to that special new-baby smell.

And if they said no? Simple. “If they do that, they would not get to see our baby girl,” Brian said in an interview. I have to admit that at first glance, I would be a little hesitant to demand that anyone wanting to hold my baby must get vaccinated first, but on the other hand, what's a few minutes of time and a second of discomfort compared to possibly saving my baby's life? 

What do you think? Would you ask family and friends to get vaccinated before visiting your new baby?

What do you think?

What You Need To Know About Infant Cocooning

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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2 comments

  1. Profile photo of graciela graciela says:

    I did ask family members to consider the vaccination, most of my side of the family had already received one during their yearly check up with the doc.

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