Parents of newborn babies can be cautiously optimistic as more people get vaccinated for COVID-19, but there are still considerations and informed decisions to make before letting people meet your new little arrival.
Pediatrician Dr. Jaime Friedman tells HuffPo, "This past year has been very difficult for parents of newborns. Luckily we now have vaccines that are very effective so that more and more family and friends can begin to visit or help out. As our vaccine access and eligibility improves, it will be easier for families to surround themselves with other vaccinated adults.”
Recent reports that vaccinated individuals may not transmit the virus and vaccinated women pass antibodies to babies through the placenta and breast milk are reassuring, but HuffPo's pediatric health experts share what families with newborns need to be aware of before having their loved ones meet their new baby.
Babies can be vulnerable to a variety of infections, including COVID-19
“Newborns are particularly vulnerable to any infections because they do not yet have fully developed immune systems,” Dr. Belind Mills from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio says. "Parents should be cautious of anyone who is around the baby, especially if they have a cold. It is particularly important for those babies who have underlying conditions as they might be at higher risk for severe illness.”
If you are eligible for the COVID vaccine, it is highly recommended you get it before seeing a newborn
"As with pre-COVID times, anyone around babies should be up to date on all routine vaccines,” Dr. Mills notes. “Especially now that the vaccines are becoming more widely available, I do recommend COVID-19 vaccine for all eligible newborn parents and those who come into close contact with newborns, such as grandparents, close relatives, and caregivers."
Even if vaccinated, safety precautions need to be taken
HuffPo health experts stress that mask-wearing and hand washing are important, and they warn against having any contact with a newborn if you have or recently had COVID-19 symptoms.
Parents should consider holding off on having their newborn meet new people until the baby is 4 to 6 months old
Pediatrician Dr. Hansa Bhargava tells HuffPo, "It is best to be extra careful and try to limit this until they are even a bit older. If people would like to visit, make sure they are vaccinated, masked, and remain socially distanced. Safety and prevention is the best way to prevent your baby from getting sick.”
What to do if someone is not vaccinated and will be meeting a newborn
HuffPo's experts suggest having this person quarantine and test prior to the visit to reduce infection risk and make sure the visit takes place outdoors while the person wears a mask and also ensure the visit takes place 6 feet apart. Also, one of the health experts stressed, "Never put a mask on a baby."
As always, please consult with your doctor if you have concerns or questions about your newborn meeting new people.