By: Michelle King Joyner, DNP, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC/PC
Photo by: Paige Walker Photography
Congratulations! You’ve just had twins! Having twin newborns this wintery time of year means double the matching holiday cuteness and double the attention. It can mean double the sniffles and sneezes, too, if you’re not careful.
The celebration of your twins’ recent births is in full swing and all of your family is in town for the holidays. While it’s an exciting time, your home also becomes a revolving door of visitors, loved ones, and not-so-loved ones (i.e. germs). Given most twins are born a little early, their young immune systems and lungs heavily rely on illness prevention. To safeguard your new bundles of joy from getting those dangerous bugs when having people over this holiday season, here are 7 tips to follow:
Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!
These words can be repeated 3 times, but they still won’t be emphasized enough. After exchanging hugs and kisses with your visitors, your own hand hygiene becomes even more crucial. You may find yourself wanting to skip this step out of sheer exhaustion. DON’T! Otherwise, you might end up even more stressed with a household of fevers and coughs.
Place instant hand sanitizer near the front door.
Equally as important, make sure everyone that walks through your door washes their hands, too, whether they’re planning to hold your babies or not. This is such an easy step. If you place hand sanitizer in an obvious location for your visitors, such as on a table near the front door or on a chair next to the twins, then guests are more inclined to use it and less likely to miss it.
Screen your visitors for any recent colds or illnesses.
Before they come over, ask everyone if they’ve recently had any upset stomachs, body aches, fevers, etc. If they’ve had any symptoms within the past 2 weeks, play it safe and ask them to come back later when they’re feeling better. They’ll understand.
Be nosey about others’ Flushot and Whooping Cough vaccines.
If your visitor is only coming for a quick peek, don’t be shy. Still be sure to ask everyone if they got their flushot this season. If they didn’t, it’s probably best they keep their distance and not touch. On the other hand, if your family is going to be at your house every day and basically planning to move in during the holidays, it’s crucial to ensure they also have an updated whooping cough vaccine (also known as Tdap) at least a couple of weeks prior to meeting the twins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your twins are more likely to catch this potentially severe respiratory illness from someone within the household that maintains close physical contact. You likely received your Tdap during your last trimester of pregnancy. If you didn’t, then it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about it.
Limit the number of people.
It’s probably in everyone’s best interest if you limit your visitors to only a few at a time. The more people circulating through your home, the more viruses you’re willing to share. If you’re thinking about having a “Sip and See” party for your babies, consider postponing this until after February when you’ve made it past flu season.
Limit the ages of visitors – no babies or young children.
It may seem harsh to allow your adult sister over, but then tell her your 3-year-old nephew isn’t invited. Younger kids typically go to daycare and bring all sorts of viruses home with them. If you’re worried about this potential, consider waiting until the twins are at least 2 months old when you’ve made it through the roughest patch of “twin newbornhood” and their immune systems have had a chance to develop. The kiddos will eventually meet and it will be wonderful. In the meantime, you can always use FaceTime for your young friends and family!
No kisses on the face or hands.
This is the hardest one. And no, it does not apply to you as the parent (unless you’re sick)! Kisses on their sweet faces can directly transmit germs and kisses on their precious hands (that later they put in their mouths) aren’t good either. Those individuals recently bestowed with titles of “grandma,” “aunt,” etc. are the ones that may struggle the most with this. Gently let them know you don’t want to take any chances. Remind them that their kiss-worthy cheeks will still be there after winter. As an alternative, though, they can smooch the tops of the twins’ heads or bottoms of their feet and probably be just fine.