Germs are a fact of life, but that doesn't mean you can easily sit back and let fate take over when it comes to your newborn. While you won't be able to prevent every single germ from ever coming into contact with your new little one, you can take steps to keep most germs at bay. Since your newborn's tiny immune system is still developing, there are several ways to reduce his risk of getting sick.
1 Give your home a thorough cleaning before your baby comes home from the hospital. No, you probably won't do this yourself since you'll be recovering from the birth, but ask your partner, a friend or a family member to sanitize your home a day or two before you come home with your newborn.
2 Request that those who want to hold your baby wash their hands first. Ask well-wishers to use soap and warm water and to lather up for at least 20 seconds to get rid of any germs on their hands. In a pinch, hand sanitizer can kill germs, but hand washing is the best option.
3 Breastfeed your newborn. According to Healthy Children, your breast milk contains certain antibodies that can boost your baby's immunity, which gives him an extra measure of protection from germs. These benefits last while your baby is nursing, but they also continue to protect him even after he's been weaned.
4 Clean and disinfect your newborn's pacifiers and baby bottles often. This is particularly important if they've been dropped on the floor or handled by other people.
5 Avoid crowded places in the weeks following your newborn's birth. You won't be able to protect your baby from each and every germ, but limiting his exposure to places like the mall can cut down on the number of sick people he might come into contact with.
6 Establish a no-touching rule. If you don't want certain people -- such as your sister's sick toddler or curious people at the grocery store -- to touch your baby, tell them right away. Worry less about their reaction and more about protecting your newborn from germs that could potentially make him sick.