Nothing is sweeter than a newborn baby, fresh and new, so very kissable and cuddly. Visitors come in and out of your hospital room or home, all wanting to hold your baby, and many wanting to kiss your baby — whether they are family or not.
While it seems like a sweet gesture, you'd better think twice before letting anyone kiss your newborn.
Kisses are a sign of affection and love, but for newborns who don't have a developed immune system yet, a kiss can be harmful, or even deadly.
Mariana Sifrit, daughter of Nicole and Shane, "contracted a strain of the herpes virus (HSV-1), causing meningitis, an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord," reports Smart Parenting. Meningitis HSV-1 is carried by a person with the cold sore virus ... regardless if there are open sores or not.
Mariana's parents both tested negative to the virus, which means another close friend or relative passed the virus to the infant.
Less than a week after Mariana's birth, "she stopped eating and wasn't waking up when we were trying to get her to respond," Nicole said in an interview. "It immediately went downhill from there. Within two hours she had quit breathing and all of her organs just started to fail," said Shane.
After spending time on life support with various teams of doctors trying to save her, Mariana sadly passed away. She was only 18 days old.
We know to keep sick visitors or even siblings with illnesses away from an infant, but it may be best to keep ALL contact with visitors at a minimum.
Do not allow anyone to hold your baby without permission or before they have washed their hand thoroughly. Additionally, request that friends and family do not kiss your infant on the face or even on their tiny hands (as hands frequently end up in baby's mouth).
Keep your newborn isolated. Avoid places like church or grocery stores where there are lots of people who may want to touch your baby. Be kind, yet firm, and if necessary, explain to others why you won't allow them to touch your newborn. Being polite and permissive isn't worth the risk of your newborn's health or life.
There will be plenty of time for holding and kissing those chubby cheeks later, when your baby's little immune system is better equipped and they've had some vaccinations against various diseases. But until then, keep hands washed before touching your infant or allowing anyone else to. Avoid places where there will be crowds. And remember: as a parent, you do have the final say over who gets to visit, touch or kiss your infant.