Is it Okay to Kiss Newborns? Important Do’s and Don’ts Explained |

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With twinkle in their eyes, soft skin, teeny tiny fingers and toes and that fresh smell; babies are irresistible. It is an instinctual impulse to hold, cuddle and kiss babies. Cuddling and interacting with babies establish a healthy bond between parents, caregivers and the baby, which is an essential developmental stimulation for the baby and helps make them emotionally stable.While it’s natural for parents and caregivers to express affection through kisses, it’s important to be cautious when kissing newborns on the face or lips. Kissing, though is considered as an affectionate gesture, can pose serious health risks for the babies, especially kissing on the lips. Newborns have developing immune systems, and their bodies are more susceptible to infections. Additionally, they may not have received all their vaccinations, making them more vulnerable to certain illnesses.

What precautions should adults take before kissing a new-born, considering potential health risks?

There is a risk of transmission of diseases like flu, Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses when you kiss your baby on the lips/face. Your saliva may transmit Hepatitis B if you are infected, especially if your baby has not been fully vaccinated. Kissing on other body parts may be safer however sometimes having Herpes virus is harmful to the babies as herpes causes skin lesions around your lips that can be transmitted if you have active lesions.

Can children below 13 or siblings kiss the newborns?

Children, especially school going kids are prone for frequent viral infection due to low immunity and close contacts in school. It is safe to keep symptomatic siblings away from small babies. The school-going kids pick up germs, infections, and colds with their constant exposure to various environments and close interactions with classmates. Newborns need a clean environment or else they catch infection faster since their immune systems aren’t fully developed.

Does that mean you shouldn’t kiss your baby?

We need to understand that kissing on lips is not safe at any age, with risk associated it is better to avoid. If you are not suffering from any illness like cold cough, flu like symptoms then you are permitted to express your love by kissing on forehead or other body parts. If you have active herpes infection, avoid close contact and maintain strict hand hygiene. It is important to get your baby vaccinated as per schedule to protect against common illness which can spread by close contacts.
Also a baby’s skin is very sensitive. Any chemicals in your lipstick or gloss can irritate baby skin and result in rashes. It is safer not to kiss your baby when you have put on lipstick or lip gloss or cream. What is also important to remember is that newborns are not tested for allergies. A flavoured cream or lipgloss can be harmful for your baby.

You have grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunty, cousins and friends visiting the new bundle of joy… what’s your role?
Neonates are also at high risk of infection. In a hospital setting mother and baby are prevented from meeting any visitors and kept in a sterile environment to keep them safe. It’s always important to communicate with your visitors to stay at a safe distance especially if they have any respiratory symptoms and not to kiss your baby. It is important to ask your visitors to wash their hands/ sanitise before they hold your baby. Once the newborn is brought home, it is important to stay vigilant of visitors who have a cold. Showering affection to the baby is best restricted to holding it.

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If the baby shows any respiratory symptoms like blocked nose, noisy breathing, cough, poor feeding then it is important to get it checked by your doctor. Although those little bundles of cuteness are irresistible – One can express love by cuddling or talking to the baby. Remember to avoid kissing on the lips at all cost and maintain a safe distance if you have any illness.
(Article Courtesy: Dr. Sandeep R, Consultant – Neonatology and Paediatrics, BirthRight by Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Marathahalli, Bangalore)



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