Please, Please, Don’t Touch the Baby!

The only thing sweeter than cuddling my own new baby is cuddling a friend’s new baby. Somehow, the ability to hand Baby back when she begins to whimper makes the time more enjoyable. Dakotapastor is the pastor of a quickly growing, brand new congregation, so I have a lot of chances to hold fresh new babies.

However, I am also the mother of a set of germy toddlers. (They are especially germy right now…we are fighting double stomach bugs.) Having toddlers in my house means I have to practice even more baby etiquette than I usually do.

What is baby etiquette?

Baby etiquette is the practice of protecting very young and vulnerable babies from the risk of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. RSV is a common, fairly benign respiratory virus in older toddlers and children, but it is very dangerous for newborns, especially preemies and medically fragile infants. (My Owen, who turns 10 on Thursday, spent 4 days in the hospital at 5 weeks of age due to RSV).

  • Baby etiquette means not visiting a new baby if you are ill, have recently been ill, or someone in your household is ill.
  • Baby etiquette means not bringing your toddlers and pre-school aged children to visit a new baby.
  • Baby etiquette means always washing your hands thoroughly before handling a newborn.
  • Baby etiquette means respecting a mother’s wishes regarding visiting and outings.
  • Baby etiquette means helping a new mom with household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, caring for older siblings, and cooking dinner so that mom and baby can bond and establish a good feeding relationship.

Protection from RSV is a valid concern.

RSV occurs in epidemics through fall and spring. The CDC defines “RSV Season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most of North America. However, RSV can occur outside of those parameters. Owen’s bout with RSV began on May 1!

One of the biggest risk factors of RSV is prematurity, the second highest risk factor is having preschool and school-aged siblings.

There is no treatment for RSV, so it is important to prevent it. Hand washing and cleaning bedding and toys often is important. Other preventative steps include avoiding crowds and cigarette smoke.

Symptoms of RSV include a persistent cough and wheezing, gasping for breath, difficulty feeding, blue color in the lips and fingernails, lethargy, and high fever. If you notice any of these symptoms, please see your doctor immediately!

To learn more about RSV, visit


Chime in! Do you have any baby etiquette tips to share? Have you had experience with RSV? I’d love to hear from you!

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Written by Dakotapam
I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including young adult sons down to 8-year old twin daughters. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!