Q. We just had our first baby and are getting conflicting advice about when it is OK to leave the house with her. I don’t want to expose her to dangerous germs, but I am starting to feel stir-crazy at home.
The reason you are getting conflicting information is because there is no “right answer” to this question. Clearly, it is a matter of finding a balance between getting back into your normal routine while trying to limit your baby’s exposure to infection.
A newborn baby’s immune system is not as strong as an older child’s. For this reason, infants are prone to developing serious infections when exposed to illness. More specifically, the same viruses that cause cold symptoms in older children or adults could lead to serious breathing problems for infants. When newborn babies develop a fever, they will likely require hospitalization for close observation and management.
Some basic guidelines may be useful for limiting exposure to germs while you are out. Large crowds in small spaces should be avoided. When you take your baby out, make sure you wash your hands before holding her and that others do the same. Avoid contact with people who are ill.
Getting outside for fresh air and going on walks is encouraged. Be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather.