parents

Someone with a cold sore kissed baby Brooke on the mouth and she got herpes.

It was well-intentioned but it’s scared the crap out of us.

There is a Facebook plea doing the rounds at the moment calling for well-meaning folk to stop kissing babies.

It’s been shared right around the world, plastered across the Facebook pages of new mums, pinned to the tops of Facebook groups and printed out and sent via snail mail to mothers-in-law.

A Facebook pleas is pleading with people to stop kissing babies.

The post was written by a British mother whose one-month old daughter caught herpes from a visitor who kissed her baby – a rare, but potentially fatal disease in a newborn.

The post has been been shared more than 46,500 times on Facebook.

The mum, Claire Henderson wrote “Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know.”

“Before three months old, a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death.”

Claire Henderson and her baby, Brooke.( Facebook)

“I know this sounds like I am scaremongering,” she wrote, “but if my friend had not told me about this my baby girl could have been seriously ill.”

While Brooke’s post had the best intentions behind it what it has done is literally scared the crap out of thousands of new mothers right across the world.

Each and every time it has been shared it has been followed by hundred of  fearful comments.

“I am not going to let ANYONE near my baby for the first eight weeks” read one.

“Family friends take not this is why you are not allowed near my baby” was another.

The post has been shared more than 46,500 times.

It’s hard enough being a first time mum with nine months of food hazards, warnings and dangers,  label reading and Googling every little twitch and twinge. And that’s before the baby is even born.

And when you actually have your bub it’s tempting just to wrap the tiny pink skinned thing up in plastic and take off to a hut in the depths of Siberia (except maybe for the dangers of those wild boars).

When you do finally leave the house, each and every passer-by is a threat.

“Oh you had your baby?”

“What did you have?”

“Can I peek?”

Are these people for real? I just spent half-an-hour duct taping down a muslin wrap do these jokers actually expect me to undo it again?

Your hackles rise at the mere sight of dirty fingernails reaching out to caress your beloved’s forehead.

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And you develop a unique radar with the ability to focus-in upon every snooty sniffling toddler in a mile’s radius.

Back away. Nothing to see here.

I’m actually quite surprised that anyone needs to warn new mums not to kiss their babies –with my first born I was so paranoid at what germs he was exposed to, you would have a greater chance of kissing George Clooney than planting one on him.

By the time my second son and then daughter made their appearance in the world I was so inured to dirt and germs and so weary from hundreds of sleepless nights, I would have probably let him crawl around in a port-a-loo as long as I got a moment’s peace.

The thing you learn with babies is that you simply can’t bubble wrap them – as much as you want to.

You can do you best to keep the germs away. You can stick up signs asking visitors to wash their hands – and you can certainly ask family to stay away unless they’ve had their whooping cough vaccine but you can’t protect them from everything.

While there is no doubt Claire’s post certainly only written from the goodness of her heart. But what it needs to be followed up with it a small dose of reality. The fact is that it’s extremely uncommon for a baby to contract HSV-1 from this kind of contact. Most babies that catch herpes do so from their mothers through the birthing process.

Claire’s baby Brooke. ( Facebook)

In Australia only four cases occur per every 100,000 live births.

Of course we need to be aware of this – as rarely infants do die. And we need to increase awareness so that the responsibility lies in the person with the active cold sore – who should know from experience not to kiss anyone newborn – or older with a cold sore.

What this is though isn’t something that should send even more fear through new mums.

In a way I feel sorry for the legions of women that might just take this latest Facebook post to the extreme.

Let’s face it, newborns are designed to be kissed. It’s awfully difficult to resist. The effect of cradling a newborn baby isn’t just blissful for the baby but for the person providing the cuddles as well. The thought that mums would place limitations on family members cuddling their babies for fear of a very, very rare chance of catching herpes is sad.

So heed this post of course, but keep it real. No newborn should miss out on kisses.

Do you think it is reasonable to ask people not to come near your newborn? 

Tags: kids , motherhood , health-and-wellbeing
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