Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
OCTOBER 04, 2018
I love the term “Cocooning”. It’s such a warm, cozy word to describe how parents can go about protecting baby against infection. In other words, creating a cocoon of wellness around your baby. It includes protecting your baby from vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as general illness and involves anyone who will be in contact with your baby.
Some vaccines, including influenza and pertussis, cannot be given until your baby is older, but until then, your baby will need help from others to avoid infections and stay healthy. Everyone who has direct contact with your baby, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and day care providers, should be up-to date with immunizations, especially for influenza (the flu) and pertussis (whooping cough).
Our immune system helps us fight infections, but a newborn has an immature immune system. As a baby grows and develops, the immune system grows stronger, but this takes some time. Until then, your baby will need your help to stay healthy.
Before or shortly after your baby is born and in the hospital:
- Get your flu and whooping cough vaccines.
- If possible, provide your breast milk to your baby to take advantage of its infection fighting antibodies.
- Avoid all exposure to smoking and second hand smoke.
- When family or friends are ill, ask them to postpone their visit.
When you go home from the hospital:
- Keep hand sanitizer handy.
- Ask family, friends and visitors to wash or sanitize their hands before holding your baby.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Keep your baby’s toys, pacifier and personal items clean.
- Keep your baby up-to-date will all vaccines.