No Kissing Rule Explained: Why You Shouldn't Let Anyone Kiss Your Newborn

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Congratulations if you’ve just welcomed your little one! We’re sure you’re already on cloud 9 right now. And one thing you probably can’t stop doing is admiring how cute your baby looks. Not only you, but almost every visitor you’ll have will find it hard to resist kissing your baby. However, as much as you might find it endearing, your newborn getting kissed by random visitors could lead to infections. And, at times, it can also prove fatal. Shocking, isn’t it? Here we explain why you shouldn’t let anyone kiss your newborn.

Newborns And Immunity

To begin with, you need to realize that your newborn’s immunity is not fully developed. It’ll probably take a lot of time and some amount of preventative vaccinations until your baby’s immunity improves. Therefore, until that happens, you need to be extra careful about who is around your baby. Keep everyone away who seems to sick or has a history of illnesses.

What Happens When Someone Kisses a Newborn?

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In 2017, the case of a newborn belonging to an Iowa couple made national headlines. The baby girl, who was born healthy, had died within days of the birth. Soon after birth, she was diagnosed with a severe case of viral meningitis caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1). When both parents were tested, the results turned out to be negative. It was then that the medical authorities investigating the case suggested that someone probably had the virus in the form of cold sores in the mouth. This visitor might have kissed the baby, thereby passing on the virus to the baby directly! With the newborn’s immunity being low, the infection quickly escalated resulting in viral meningitis and eventually costing the baby’s life (1).

Even as the parents grieved their loss, the mother bravely posted her tragic experience online to alert fellow mothers. She highlighted the harms of kissing the newborn and spreading awareness about the herpes virus. And guess what? Her post actually helped another mom save her little one in time. Ashley Pool from Texas had come across the post a while after giving birth to her own daughter. She did have a cold sore but did not kiss the baby. Yet, her little one was suffering from some sort of illness. With the words of the post fresh in her mind, she pushed for daughter to be tested for the HSV- 1 and it did turn out to be just that! Although the baby underwent a lot of tests and medications, the timely intervention saved Ashley Pool’s daughter’s life. And, she rightly credits the Iowa mother for saving her baby (2).

About Herpes Simple Virus

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The herpes simplex virus is very common among women who may not even realize they have it due to little or no symptoms at all. According to a study, most newborns with herpes often get it from the mother at the time of birth. The transmission of the virus occurs if the mother happens to suffer from HSV–1 or HSV-2 (genital herpes) (3). The virus generally lies inactive, surfacing in the form of lesions only when reactivated due to emotional or physical stress. Sometimes it may not cause lesions at all but will continue to shed intermittently. In the case of HSV-1, the transmission might occur when a person infected with the virus or a cold sore in the mouth kisses the baby. Sometimes, even if there is no cold sore, the saliva containing the virus gets passed on to the baby. With little to no immunity, the infection quickly escalates affecting the baby’s vital organs like the brain, heart, kidney, and bloodstream. In fact, it is commonly known to attack a newborn’s brain and meninges with fatal results (4).

Image: Shutterstock

New parents often find themselves in a spot while stopping friends and family members from kissing their newborns in order not to offend them. However, your baby’s safety and life supersede everything else! And a few bruised egos is a very small price to pay. So, don’t hold back when refusing someone from kissing your newborn. Stay safe! Stay blessed!

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