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April 25, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Playing Life Safely With Your Newborn

Your newborn is finally home, and while you may feel like just holing up because of COVID-19, you also need to keep him safe. Here's what that means.

The first few days and weeks at home with your infant are a test of parental stamina for sure. Suddenly you are "on" all of the time. As your sweet family tries to readjust to this brand-new dynamic, COVID-19 is still out there. Is it OK to go out with your infant? Think. Relax. Your sweet little newborn is in your good hands and you just need to follow a few guidelines during this time.


While unnecessary travel is not recommended for newborns at this time, medical appointments are essential for your baby. Call your pediatrician if you have concerns, and you can set up a telehealth call for peace of mind. Know that it's still important to stick to your child's vaccination schedule during this time, so do plan on going out with your baby for that for that (first sets of vaccinations begin between 6 to 8 weeks). If you need groceries or medication and you’re able to leave your baby at home with a partner or caregiver, it’s best to do so. That said, you don’t need to stay cooped up indoors with your baby 24/7. It is totally acceptable for you to be outside with your baby in the vicinity of your home for fresh air when the weather allows.


Your infant’s best defense against preventable illness continues to be routine vaccines. The hepatitis B vaccine should be offered prior to leaving the hospital after your baby's birth. If you are leary of taking your newborn out for a well-baby visit, call your pediatrician office to find out what they are doing to support social distancing and making well-baby visits safe for your infant. Remember, keeping your baby up to date on vaccinations remains critically important during the pandemic. Although it may “feel” safer to delay vaccines, lethal viral and bacterial diseases can still be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and vaccine-preventable illnesses are still circulating.    
    “Probably the main vaccine-preventable disease that we see with infants [in] our intensive care unit, and dying as well from is pertussis, or whooping cough,” says Gigante, a pediatrician at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. 


Tthe CDC's recommendations that everyone wear cloth face coverings in public to prevent the spread of infection does not apply to babies under 2. When going outside with your baby, toddler or other children, wear your baby, carry him in a car seat with a cover or put a cover over his stroller.


While it may seem like you shouldn't go outside with a newborn (you haven't seen many of them out lately, right?) do your best to lead a normal life, but use common sense when you go out in public, doctors says. Keep baby out of the sun, and avoid sick people (no toddler birthday parties!) and any crowded enclosed spaces (such as popular shops or the grocery store). Always tell anyone who wants to handle your newborn, "Don't touch the baby without washing your hands."


  • Ask for support if you are struggling or feeling exhausted or depressed. One in nine mothers develops postpartum depression, but treatment can help.

  • Call your pediatrician if your baby develops a rectal temperature over 100.4, if she stops eating or cries incessantly, or if her skin or the whites of her eyes turn yellow.

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.