An Aussie mum and first-aid educator has defended imposing rules on her friends and family visiting her new baby, including no kissing her newborn child.
Tiny Hearts co-founder Nikki Jurcutz, who is 36 weeks' pregnant, shared a list of her "newborn rules" online she says will "keep our little ones safe". But she was "shocked" to receive a message in her inbox from a "very unhappy" grandmother.
The former paramedic shared the list of rules on her Instagram page last week which she sent to her own friends and family ahead of the birth of her child. They include "wash your hands before holding", "don't show up unannounced", and "no kissing baby please" — but her "boundaries" have since "copped some heat" she explained in a video on Saturday.
One message, sent from someone's mother-in-law, accused Nikki of "spreading information" that stops extended family from "connecting" with the babies. "You should be ashamed. You've made [new mothers] worried and for what?! You or anyone won't stop me kissing her," the woman said of her granddaughter.
Babies at risk of serious illness
But Nikki stayed firm in her decision to limit her baby's interaction with other people and encouraged others to do the same. She said the reason is because "babies are vulnerable" and are at risk of getting sick.
"Babies have very little immunity which means they can get sick easily and can’t fight the infection, so even viruses like common colds can become very serious for babies. An innocent kiss can be deadly for babies," she told Yahoo News.
Nikki explained newborns can be exposed to any illness or virus that adults typically carry including Herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, whooping cough, hand, foot and mouth and chicken pox. "All viruses that are spread by droplet or contact," she said.
"Without the advanced immunity that we as adults have developed, the likelihood of a baby becoming seriously unwell is much greater," she added, saying setting boundaries means we are being proactive about keeping our precious babies safe.
Warning over 'unpredictable and serious' virus
An eight-day-old baby died in 2018 after contracting the preventable HSV-1 virus, or herpes, after being kissed by a carrier or touched with unwashed hands. Her mum Abigal Friend claimed the sickness "completely destroyed her body".
New warnings have also been issued about Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) with a major report fearing more than 12,000 babies could be hospitalised with the “unpredictable” virus in 2023, NCA Newswire reported.
Immunisation Foundation of Australia founder Catherine Hughes said the virus was “unpredictable and can be very serious”. There is also no vaccine to prevent RSV, or reduce its effects. Infants less than six months of age were found to be the most at-risk group. Karl Stefanovic previously detailed his own daughter's battle with the virus.
'No one deserves to live that hell'
Most people agreed with Nikki's concerns with some sharing their own heartbreaking stories.
"My daughter got HSV when she was born from a family member kissing her. She spent over 5 weeks in hospital including 2 weeks in ICU," one woman commented. "The doctors didn’t know if she was going to make it but thankfully she did, she’s now eight years old. Please set the boundaries, don’t let anyone kiss your babies."
A healthcare professional chimed in and encouraged her to "keep preaching". "I've seen what happens in newborn babies who have been kissed and exposed to viruses. No one wants or deserves to live that hell," she said.
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