The Risks and Precautions of Kissing Your Newborn
I promise that the first time you see your little baby wrapped up cozy and cuddly, you will be overwhelmed with affection. You will not help the feeling of wanting to kiss and snuggle your baby.
The feeling has been experienced by mothers for ages. Though done purely out of love, it has been found that kissing your baby may actually unintentionally harm them. Kissing a baby on the lips or closer to the mouth can actually result in the spreading of Herpes simplex virus type 1, a common germ found in the mouth of human beings. While it is harmless for adults, it can lead to cold sores, fever blisters around or in the mouth and in severe cases, brain, lung or liver disease in newborns.
The risks of kissing a newborn
A baby definitely needs affection for proper growth and development, hence parents kissing their baby is normal. However, the parents need to safeguard their baby from contracting hazardous infections. One way to safeguard your newborn is to keep anyone from kissing your baby on or near the mouth specifically during the first 3 months of birth.
Kissing places a newborn at the risk of:
- Cold sores due to infection of the HSV-1 that is present in the mouth of adults
- Common respiratory syncytial virus: this is a condition where the baby’s lungs are affected making it difficult for them to breath. It is highly contagious. RSV can be very fatal for a newborn since their breathing air tubes are tiny and very thin and an inflammation can be dangerous.
- Food allergies: your baby can be allergic to certain foods and even some products like gluten used in makeup products. For example, a baby who is kissed by someone with lipstick containing gluten, their body will exhibit an autoimmune response which puts them at risk of cancer and other autoimmune disorders.
- Chemicals in skincare products: skincare products are known to have chemicals like parabens, formaldehyde, artificial colors and other products which are considered to be endocrine interrupters and associated with risks of cancer. Make sure to use only natural creams for your baby such as Weleda. Here is a list of the best diaper rash creams for babies.
- Kissing disease: this is a nickname that refers to mononucleosis which is an infection passed through saliva. A baby with a kissing disease will have a runny nose, crank behavior, and even respiratory problems in rare cases. As it is a viral disease, it has no treatment.
Your body is full of bacteria and viruses which may not affect you but will affect your baby. So while cuddling or kissing your baby:
- Regularly maintain your personal and oral hygiene
- Maintain the baby’s oral hygiene
- Wash your hand before attending to your baby
- Use baby wipes to clean your baby’s mouth and face to keep it fresh
- Educate friends, family, and relatives on the precautions
- Place your baby’s utensils separate from belongings of others
- Avoid direct with your baby immediately after touching items in your home
- People with infections or respiratory conditions should stay away from the baby
Kissing infants has a high risk and kissing them on the lips worsens the situation. You can kiss your baby as long as you take the above precautions.