You might be asking yourself, "should I allow people kiss my baby?"
"If other people kiss my baby will it make them sick?"
This blog has been written to help support you in these potentially uncomfortable situations.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child from harm, including unwanted illnesses. This can be inevitable, depending on your family situation (hello snotty older siblings) or it might be kisses from well-meaning friends and family members.
Some parents may have no issue with friends and family kissing their babies, and others might decide to discourage any holding/cuddling of the baby until their 6-week immunisations for example. Every family is different and it’s important that we respect the decisions made.
While it might seem like a harmless and affectionate gesture, kissing a baby can put them at risk of catching a virus or infection. This could be Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), or any type of common cold virus.
This could manifest as a simple blocked nose or slight cold for the baby but it does have the potential to make your little one seriously unwell.
It can be both awkward and difficult to ask someone not to kiss your baby, it’s important to set boundaries to ensure your child’s health and safety.
Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation:
BE DIRECT BUT POLITE
If someone tries to kiss your baby, don’t beat around the bush. Instead, politely but firmly say something along the lines of 'I’m sorry, but we aren’t allowing people to kiss our baby.' It’s important to be direct to that there is no confusion about your boundaries, but also a polite tone, remembering that most people are well-intentioned.
EXPLAIN THE RISKS
Some people might not understand that kissing a baby can put them at higher risk of catching a virus or infection. Explain the risks in a gentle and informative way. You could say something along the lines of 'we want to protect our baby from germs and illnesses, so we’re not allowing kisses right now.' This will help them to understand that you’re not being difficult or unfriendly and that your baby’s health is the priority.
SUGGEST ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO SHOW AFFECTION
Your little one is super small and adorable (yet vulnerable). Naturally, friends and family want to show their love and affection to your baby. You can suggest other ways to show affection other than kissing such as a baby high five, a pat on the back, a little game of peak a boo etc. That way they can still show their love and affection while respecting your boundaries.
You might decide to implement a rule that there is no kissing on the face and hands (babies often put their hands on their mouth) and you might allow kissing to other areas.
SET BOUNDARIES EARLY
If you’re worried about people kissing your baby, set boundaries in advance. This can help to prevent awkward situations down the track. You could send out a message before a family gathering, or before the baby is born, letting everyone know that you’re not allowing kisses at this stage.
You might even like to use an example of a baby you know or have heard of that become critically unwell as a result of a sick family member kissing their baby. Or you might decide to say that a health professional has issued caution with kissing of a newborn baby and you’ve decided to err on the side of caution whilst they are so small with immature immune systems.
In conclusion, telling people not to kiss your baby can be an uncomfortable conversation but it is important to set these boundaries to ensure your baby’s health and wellbeing. By being direct but polite, explaining your reasoning, offering alternates, setting boundaries in advance, and remembering that it’s ok to say no, you can protect your baby while still maintaining positive relationships with friends and family.
Remember to stick to your guns and not feel any guilt or shame for wanting to protect your little one.
You’re the parent and it’s your baby so your rules apply.
Everyone is going to have different thoughts and ‘rules’ when it comes to kissing babies and this may be based on previous experiences.
For example, for me, I would never kiss anyone’s baby on the face, as I have seen first-hand critically unwell babies in my 10 years of paediatric nursing. Some illnesses are from kissing, some are not, some may have been avoidable, again some not. There is no right and wrong, whatever makes you the most comfortable. Your rules, your baby.
If your child has a blocked or runny nose, read this blog to learn how to manage it. https://rhythmfirstaid.com.au/blogs/rhythm-resources/blocked-and-runny-noses-in-babies
Written on the 18th of April 2023 by Nicole, the founder of Rhythm and a Paediatric Emergency Nurse. As always, information on this website is for educational purposes only.
Please consult your GP for information specific to your child.