Baby Care

Kissing a baby: Health risks you should be aware of

Kissing a baby comes naturally to us. But if you want your baby to be healthy, try not to kiss your newborn.

The joy of your newborn being handed over to you is simply indescribable. As a mom, you naturally hold your baby and plant a kiss on the little one. It makes everyone around you go, “Aww.” But you should know that it’s not the best thing for the newborn. So, even though it’s hard to resist kissing your baby’s soft and velvety cheeks, it might be detrimental to their health. There can be multiple dangers of kissing a baby. Read on to find out the risks of kissing a newborn.

When babies arrive in this world, they have low immunity. So, kissing them right after their entry in this world is not a wise thing to do. HealthShots consulted Dr Krishna Prasad, consultant – paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bengaluru, to know how kissing babies harms them.

Kissing a newborn can be unhealthy for the baby! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Prasad says to prevent serious health consequences, everyone, including moms, should avoid kissing infants early on. He notes that given the rise in RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and other illnesses, it is critical that everyone is aware of the dangers of kissing newborns. While kissing a baby won’t always result in RSV or other infections, it may introduce virus that can cause illnesses against which young children’s developing immune systems struggles to combat.

Here are risks associated with kissing a newborn

1. Germs spread easily

Physical contact is the most common way for germs to spread, and newborns are especially vulnerable to this. It’s best to avoid touching babies unnecessarily.

2. Respiratory risks

We can only imagine how little and undeveloped a newborn’s respiratory system is, as it takes the lungs around 8 years to completely mature. Any virus that may spread respiratory sickness to a baby via kissing could be dangerous.

3. Skin problems

Adults often use skincare products or make-up on their face. While grownups are protected from the immediate hazards these products pose, babies are not. These products include hazardous ingredients that could give babies some serious skin problems (tips to manage skin rashes in babies).

4. Allergic reactions

If an adult has consumed a food item that the baby is allergic to, such as nuts, soy, or other common allergens, then there’s a risk of that carrying over and causing an allergic reaction for the baby.

5. Flu

A flu is a minor illness for adults, but not for babies, says the expert. A kiss to a baby can transfer the common cold (how to get rid of common cold) or flu through touch.

When is it safe to kiss a baby?

Kissing a newborn is a no-no, but mothers will feel compelled to do so in order to bond with their little one. Firstly, all the people surrounding a newborn must maintain good sanitation and hygiene. A baby’s immune system doesn’t mature until around the first two to three months, so this period should be handled with extra care, says Dr Prasad. For better bonding, make use of lullabies and speak to your baby. This will create a safe space for the baby and make your little one more comfortable. Slowly, your child will be able to recognise more voices. After doing this for the first two to three months, you can slowly transition to gently kissing your baby.

Make sure you maintain hygiene around your baby. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips to prevent your newborn from getting ill

1. Maintain a safe distance between ill people and babies

After giving birth, having a lot of visitors is normal. If they have anything infectious, ask them to maintain a safe distance.

2. Satiate your baby’s dietary requirements

After the initial six months, when your baby may begin to receive solid food, meeting your infant’s nutritional demands is one of the greatest methods to preserve his or her health (guide on baby weaning). By giving your kid meals that are high in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, you can meet your child’s nutritional demands. This will help to build your child’s immune system.

3. Continue to maintain good hygiene around your baby

Keep your baby’s environment clean in addition to washing your hands. Always have a hand sanitizer, particularly for visitors.

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