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I am a new parent and I have contracted Covid-19. What do I need to know?

This article was updated on April 25, 2024

Being a new parent certainly has its challenges. Caring for your new baby while sick with Covid-19 can add a lot more stress to your household. But don't fret too much. Here are some recommendations from the CDC to get you, your infant and your family through this rough patch:

  • Isolate. Stay home and away from others, including the baby, as much as possible for the CDC’s recommend isolation period.
  • Find support. Tap a healthy spouse, family member or support person to care for the baby in a separate area of the home as often as possible. Caregivers should ideally be fully vaccinated and boosted.
  • Mask up. Wear a well-fitted mask when around others during your isolation. Other caregivers should wear a mask when within six feet of your newborn for the entire time you are in isolation, and during their own quarantine after you complete your isolation. If you have to be around your baby, avoid kissing them on the face, sharing utensils or cups, and coughing or sneezing near them.
  • Wash first. Anyone who’s caring for the baby should wash their hands or use 60% (or higher) alcohol hand sanitizer before holding or feeding the child.
  • Continue Breastfeeding: If you are breastfeeding, whether normally or though pumping, and have COVID-19, continue to breastfeed your baby if you feel well enough to do so. Breast milk provides important nutrients and antibodies that help protect your baby's health. The CDC says breast milk is not likely to spread COVID-19 to babies. Wash your hands before breastfeeding and wear a mask if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you’re using a breast pump, or letting a caregiver feed your baby, follow CDC recommendations for the best ways to keep your pump clean.
  • Watch Your Baby for COVID-19 Symptoms. Those could include:
    • Fever (In babies under 2 months old, anything over 100.4 is serious. Follow up with a doctor immediately.)
    • Decrease in wet diapers and stool
    • Difficulty eating
    • Increase work of breathing or swallowing
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • Seek Medical Care if Necessary: If your baby develops symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have concerns about their health, contact your healthcare provider for guidance. They can advise you on next steps and whether your baby needs to be tested for COVID-19 or receive medical care.
  • Follow Public Health Guidelines: Follow all public health guidelines and recommendations from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health department. Stay informed about COVID-19 updates and guidelines to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
  • What to do if you have Covid-19 and a baby and your unvaccinated: If you have COVID-19 and a baby and you’re unvaccinated, make plans to get vaccinated once your isolation period is complete. Research is still very new, but some studies show it’s easier to get re-infected with the omicron variant than with past variants. For that reason, adding all the layers of protection you can, including getting vaccinated and boosted, is more important than ever. Natural immunity does appear to provide some protection, but the vaccines offer a more stable and longer lasting defense overall.

Your child’s healthcare provider can give you more advice on what to expect during the first few weeks or months of life, and how to address issues that are common but still need monitoring such as checking for jaundice and conducting general health screening, among other things. Your child’s healthcare provider should also give you counsel on how you can monitor and prevent infections in general.

Source: CDC

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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