Is That New Mother Being Overprotective? RSV Prevention.

"No, you can't wrestle with the new baby until after his umbilical stump falls off."

After twenty years of momming four kids, I’d describe my parenting style as very laid-back. A shock to you, I’m sure.

At our house we have the five minute rule for dropped food. Heck, if you can beat the dog to it, I’m sure it’s fine. Just dust it off and go for it.

I do have a beloved friend who is much more anti-germ than I am. Her kids will never know the joy of saying “Take that, gravity” before eating a cookie that has fallen on the floor.

The difference is, her kids are much younger than mine, and are at risk for a scary, and sometimes deadly, infection called RSV disease.

RSV disease is Respiratory Syncytial Virus. (Say that three times fast!) Almost everyone contracts RSV before they are two. In an otherwise healthy child it will look like a cold. But if a child was born prematurely or has a compromised immune system, RSV can be extremely dangerous.

Take a look at this graphic for some more facts about premature children’s risk for RSV.

I asked my mom friends about their experiences with RSV and here’s what some of them reported. You can see that while RSV is especially bad for preemies, it can hit otherwise healthy children hard.

Jennifer D. said:

My 11 year old was a big, healthy baby (9.6 at birth). She developed RSV and was hospitalized on her two month birthday. She spent four days/three nights in an oxygen tent. They had to give her Rocephin shots until they verified it wasn’t pneumonia. 🙁 In our case, she got it from my then three year old who had what seemed like nothing worse than a minor cold. . . .

My friend Heidi is a nurse.

I’ve taken care of babies with RSV in hospital. There is nothing worse than begging a wee one to not give up while watching them use so much effort to breathe.

Rebecca’s experience also shows it’s not just for newborns:

My son was 14mo when he was hospitalized for 4d with it. I tried my best to get liquids into him, but it just wasn’t enough. I still get so sad when I see the pictures of him in the hospital gown…

In the United States, the worst times for RSV infections are November to March, but in some places outbreaks occur into April.

What can you do to prevent RSV infection?

  1. Frequent and thorough hand washing a great way to prevent the spread of any infection.
  2. If you or your kids are sick—stay home! The virus can live on hard surfaces like doorknobs for hours. What is a mild cold to your child could cause another child to be hospitalized.
  3. Respect the mama’s rules. If she asks you to not visit her newborn yet, or to wash your hands before you touch or hold the baby, just do it. She’s not just being overprotective.
  4. Wear your wee one. My mom-friends report people are much more respectful of the baby’s personal space when he or she is in a sling or other type of carrier worn close to the parent’s body.
  5. Check out RSVprotection for more information and helpful tips on how to protect your newborn and the babies of other mamas.
    Bottom line—learn more about you child’s risk from RSV, and if another mother has rules for her own baby, please take them seriously.
    Have you or someone you know had an experience with RSV? Please let me know about it in the comments.
    Also, do you have any tips for how new parents can protect their babies from RSV?

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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