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Bringing a New Baby Home During COVID-19
By Emily Savage
Posted on April 17, 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing a baby home from the hospital is a completely new experience. Right now, no visitors are allowed in the hospital. New parents are also now left with only their nuclear family to provide the much needed support in an always difficult transition period.
Our Resident Expert, Dr. Weems, from Chicago Concierge Pediatrics has seen firsthand the toll that isolation, lack of sleep, and fear of your newborn getting sick can take on new parents. Dr. Weems recently shared with BCB a few tips for new parents to consider when bringing a baby home during these unusual and uncertain times.
DON’T FORGET, please join us for a discussion about bringing your new baby home from the hospital in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Thursday 4/23 at 12 pm CST on BCB FACEBOOK LIVE. Dr. Weems will be joining us to answer your questions about keeping your newborn safe from infection including preparation and sterilization of bottles, storage of breast milk and formula, cleaning your home, whether you should allow family and friends to visit, and reducing the risk of infection when you have no choice but to take your baby out in public, such as taking them to appointments at your pediatrician’s office.
Bringing your baby home to a clean house is obvious, but there are many important objects and places overlooked. Be sure to disinfect every surface that hands frequently touch including doorknobs, drawer handles, toilet flush handles, sink and bath faucets, countertops, and cabinet pulls. Studies have shown that coronaviruses can live on stainless steel for up to 48 hours. Also, be sure to disinfect the inside of your car, paying special attention to door handles (inside and out), control buttons, and steering wheel. If you live in an apartment building, wash your hands thoroughly after opening common doors, riding the elevator, etc.
Breastfeeding provides great protection for your baby by providing immunoglobulins from your immune system that fight infection. Make sure to wash your hands before breast feeding. If you develop any symptoms like cough or fever, wear a mask while breast feeding and consider covering your baby with a blanket.
Prior to making a bottle, including handling the bottle, nipple, breast milk bag or formula scoop, wash your hands. This will reduce the risk of transmission of contaminants like bacteria and viruses from your hands to your baby’s mouth. After using a bottle or pumping, sterilize the individual parts of the pump then dry them in a sterile environment. Remember that washing the parts with hot tap water or in a dishwasher is still not hot enough to sterilize the bottles. At a water temperature of up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 99.9% of germs will be killed. The maximum temperature reached by most residential dishwashers is not more than 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Baby Brezza makes a great product that can sterilize then dry up to six bottles, pump parts, and pacifiers which adds convenience and safety.
Be sure you understand how long formula or breast milk can be safely fed to your baby. Formula is good for one hour at room temperature before it should be discarded. Refrigerated mixed formula is good for up to 24 hours. Freshly pumped breast milk is good at room temperature for up to four hours, up to 4 days if refrigerated, and for 6-12 months if frozen. Frozen breast milk that has been thawed is good for up to two hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours when refrigerated. Frozen breast milk cannot be refrozen once it has been thawed. Room temperature breast milk that was not finished may be given to your baby within two hours of the previous feeding. Please CLICK HERE for the CDC’s recommendations.
Make sure your pediatrician’s office has designated times for well check-ups to ensure healthy kids are not exposed to sick kids.
Check locally to see if there is a pediatrician who will make house calls, like Chicago Concierge Pediatrics, to avoid exposing your newborn and other children to all of the potential germs, especially in our current environment. House calls by your pediatrician are an excellent way to keep your children healthy and alleviate the stresses that simply going out in public can cause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue to strictly follow the stay-at-home orders and restrict all visitors, family included. As much as you want your friends and family to meet the beautiful addition to your family, the risk is simply too high.
Stay tuned for for more the Bump Club and Beyond Team. We’ll be providing you many ideas for things to do over the next few weeks when we’re home with our kids right here. Check it out for ways to keep busy, Amazon Prime haul for keeping kids entertained, 101 Movies for Parents, online activities, virtual fitness and MORE! We’ll be updating our ideas for you and your family daily.
Make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook for more ideas as we navigate both COVID-19 AND parenthood together.