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What the heck is she thinking?


lynn
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My sister told me yesterday that she planned to visit during Christmas break to visit her great nephew who will be about a month old. " Um dear sister you are an elementary school teacher.  Please don't visit my grandson during the flu season!! ".      Yep that's what I'll tell her over and over again.  Will she listen?  I hope so.  Am I being ridiculous?

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I'm sorry. I won't say you are being ridiculous but I will say it wouldn't have occurred to me to be upset. So, even if your sister and you don't see eye to eye on this I don't think she is coming out of left field suggesting she visit over her Christmas break if she is well. I hope you can work it out without hurt feelings. 

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4 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I'm sorry. I won't say you are being ridiculous but I will say it wouldn't have occurred to me to be upset. So, even if your sister and you don't see eye to eye on this I don't think she is coming out of left field suggesting she visit over her Christmas break if she is well. I hope you can work it out without hurt feelings. 

I am very  concerned about anything she may have pick up working around kids.   It would be better to wait until after flu season.

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1 minute ago, lynn said:

I am very  concerned about anything she may have pick up working around kids.   It would be better to wait until after flu season.

I understand. If I were your sister I would be taken off guard by your reaction but I would understand and respect it.

The thread title "what the heck is she thinking?"  suggests that she is a nut job for even suggesting a visit. To me the suggestion isn't nut job worthy. But I respect the wishes of parents and grandparents about their babes! I just don't think she's nuts. 

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You are overreacting.

You can politely decline the visit but most people, including elementary teachers, do not have the flu just because it is flu season. I think it is more reasonable to suggest people not visit when they are actively sick. 

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9 minutes ago, maize said:

You are overreacting.

You can politely decline the visit but most people, including elementary teachers, do not have the flu just because it is flu season. I think it is more reasonable to suggest people not visit when they are actively sick. 

 

This and ask people to wash their hands prior to holding baby as well as don't kiss baby on the face.  I have an asthmatic kid who always ends up with pneumonia if he gets the flu.............but I can't keep him sequestered for 6 months out of the year.  Flu B was still going around in MAY this year.

 

ETA:  If she has been a teacher for many years, she probably has an immune system made of impenetrable steel.  Teachers are usually very well protected from illnesses after a couple of years of working around kids.  I NEVER got sick after working in childcare for 6 months.  It took 10 years for my immune system to decline enough that I pick up stomach bugs, etc now.

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I have definitely heard of people isolating their babies for 6 weeks, or whatever, and I respect your caution.  I certainly made people wash their hands before holding my newborns, but other than that,  I brought them everywhere.

How do baby’s parents feel about this?  When *would* your sister be safe?

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It wouldn't have occurred to me to be concerned about that. Yes, flu season can start that early. But sometimes it doesn't start until later. And some years there's not much stuff going around at all. I've learned the hard way to not borrow trouble. I don't think I could get very worked up about it unless it got close to time for the visit and there was a bunch of crud going around, or a particularly bad flu.

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My aunt always visited my babies as newborns regardless of what season they were born in. It would never occur to me to limit a baby’s contact with a healthy adult. As long as she isn’t sick, I would have no problem with her visiting the baby. Like everyone else, she should wash her hands. My mom is an elementary school teacher and was around all my babies-even the ones born during flu season. Does your sister often get sick?

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You're not worried about the baby being born in a hospital during flu season?  Or going for a 2 week check up during flu season?  Or going out with mom to the store/church/elsewhere during flu season?

This, though?  A healthy adult who most very likely has had the yearly flu vaccine because she knows she's around kids all the time?  THIS is the big worry?

 

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As a mom who had two snuggly babies in Nov and Dec, respectively, the idea of shielding them from all visitors who might carry a germ until we safely arrived at late spring would not have crossed my mind. I did insist on hand-washing, and obviously, I would have prevented a symptomatically ill person from seeing my babies, but babies are born in the winter and life goes on. My winter babies were always passed around to dozens of relatives at Christmas time. 

Now, of course, if it were a sick baby or a fragile baby or something, then yeah. But not just because someone works with kids. In that case, there would be no taking babies to the pediatrician, either. 

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I forgot to say that both of mine were born in November. We did avoid big crowds the winters they were born, especially with oldest DS ('cause we were paranoid cautious first time parents). But we didn't think anything about family and friends visiting.

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Christmas break may be the only time in the foreseeable future that she can visit. So, to answer your question, I guess I do think you are being ridiculous. Maybe there is another reason you don't want her to visit?  I can't imagine saying no just because it's flu season and she might, maybe, be exposed to the flu.  But if I am ever a grandma I expect I will leave those decisions up to the parents anyway.  

ETA: I wouldn't use the word ridiculous but that was what the OP said. Like others have said, "over-cautious" is the word I'd use. 

 

 

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You're being ridiculous overly cautious.  

Also, if this is your sister, then her grand nephew is not your baby. This is a decision for the parents to make. Are they worried about it? Were they worried about it before you brought it up, lol? Are they isolating the baby or do they take him out of the house to church or the grocery store or any public area? Because teachers have been known to be at church and in grocery stores ?

Some people do choose to keep the baby at home for a good while, no outings and few visitors, and that's fine, it's up to them. But if they aren't doing that, it doesn't make sense to ban a visitor who works with kids. 

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14 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I just want to say that I respect the right of parents to make these decisions for their baby. Some might be more protective than I feel necessary but it is their baby and their choice. And sometimes there are medical issues that I might not know about. 

Sure. We have a bunch of young families at our church and when new babies come, some families sequester themselves for some weeks, some come out right away, and everything in between. Some parents hand their babies around and some keep them close.  (I never ask to hold a baby, first because I don't really like holding newborns, but also I don't want to put the parents in the position of having to say no if they don't want people holding the baby.  It drives me crazy when people ask that, and for all I know that's one reason people stay home - aggressive acquaintances wanting to hold the baby.)  Some people do complain when parents stay home for 6 weeks but what the heck, it's their baby so they get to do what they think is best.

Some doctors are more cautious than others too. When my January baby was born, I asked the doc when we could resume our regular activities with our older child. He said "whenever you want." When I told him it included "indoor playground" days with lots of little kids he said it was fine. So, since I trusted the doctor, I went ahead. I imagine his answer would have been different if the baby had health problems, etc.  

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My first was in the NICU because she refused to breathe.  She was born in November.  My in laws took her to the San Antonio river walk the day we came home from the hospital so my husband and I could nap.  My second kid went to Cracker Barrel on the way home from the hospital at less than 24 hours old because I was starving and to the indoor playground at the mall the next day.  I can’t imagine sequestering a baby like that.  I mean, if they are fragile or super premature or something, sure.  Avoiding actively sick people, yes. In San Antonio, it was considered bad luck for someone not to touch the baby, so we had elderly Hispanic women sprinting across the parking lot to touch them.  Don’t newborns have some immunity from mom for awhile?  And breast milk is protective.  I can’t imagine someone else telling me that visitors can’t come see my baby for six months.  

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Even with medically fragile fall babies, we still allowed visitors.  We have options of hand sanitizer on the entry table, or washing hands at the sink if they prefer.  We ask if they've been exposed to anyone who is sick before letting anyone hold a baby. That's it.

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People have such different takes on illness and illness seasons and so forth. I really think the key thing here is for no one to be called ridiculous. This is why I think "manners" can be so dangerous. To the OP, it's OBVIOUS "good manners" not to come during that time frame. To the rest of us, that's not something that would have ever occurred to us, but now we're all judged as rude or dummies if we're the ones in that situation. Likewise, OP is just concerned for the new baby. While her fears are statistically unfounded, they're not really ridiculous either.

I do think since it's not your baby, it's a good idea to stay out of it though. 

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1 hour ago, marbel said:

Sure. We have a bunch of young families at our church and when new babies come, some families sequester themselves for some weeks, some come out right away, and everything in between. Some parents hand their babies around and some keep them close.  (I never ask to hold a baby, first because I don't really like holding newborns, but also I don't want to put the parents in the position of having to say no if they don't want people holding the baby.  It drives me crazy when people ask that, and for all I know that's one reason people stay home - aggressive acquaintances wanting to hold the baby.)  Some people do complain when parents stay home for 6 weeks but what the heck, it's their baby so they get to do what they think is best.

Some doctors are more cautious than others too. When my January baby was born, I asked the doc when we could resume our regular activities with our older child. He said "whenever you want." When I told him it included "indoor playground" days with lots of little kids he said it was fine. So, since I trusted the doctor, I went ahead. I imagine his answer would have been different if the baby had health problems, etc.  

Yeah, I had one SIL who acted like it was her inborn right to hold my babies immediately upon seeing them. I had to tell her off one time because I had just gotten my edgy baby to sleep and she wanted to pick him up! I don’t know...I guess she had those kind of babies who sleep like a rock no matter who holds them, but I didn’t have that kind of baby. 

I also don’t really like being “made” to hold someone’s baby. I’m not dying to hold babies and really prefer admiring them in mama’s arms. But I was just visiting my great niece and the great-grandma stuck the baby in my arms - why, I don’t know. I mean, it wasn’t awful or anything and I didn’t make a protest, but TBH, it’s not my cup of tea really. I was plenty happy to hand baby off to another admirer soon enough. 

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23 minutes ago, Quill said:

Yeah, I had one SIL who acted like it was her inborn right to hold my babies immediately upon seeing them. I had to tell her off one time because I had just gotten my edgy baby to sleep and she wanted to pick him up! I don’t know...I guess she had those kind of babies who sleep like a rock no matter who holds them, but I didn’t have that kind of baby. 

I also don’t really like being “made” to hold someone’s baby. I’m not dying to hold babies and really prefer admiring them in mama’s arms. But I was just visiting my great niece and the great-grandma stuck the baby in my arms - why, I don’t know. I mean, it wasn’t awful or anything and I didn’t make a protest, but TBH, it’s not my cup of tea really. I was plenty happy to hand baby off to another admirer soon enough. 

 

Yeah, I have inadvertently hurt peoples' feelings by declining when they say 'want to hold the baby?'  I don't respond rudely, but say something like 'oh, no, that's OK, I'm not super comfortable with newborns' but some people think it means I hate their baby.  I know new parents can be emotional, but come on.  Now, if someone needs me to hold their baby, of course I am happy to help them. But I don't see holding a newborn as a treat.

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22 hours ago, lynn said:

My sister told me yesterday that she planned to visit during Christmas break to visit her great nephew who will be about a month old. " Um dear sister you are an elementary school teacher.  Please don't visit my grandson during the flu season!! ".      Yep that's what I'll tell her over and over again.  Will she listen?  I hope so.  Am I being ridiculous?

 

Does your sister have a habit of visiting people while she is ill or when she knows she has been directly exposed to illness? Does your sister seem to catch every little illness that’s going around, to the point where it seems like she is always sick?

You seem so adamant about this, so I’m wondering if your sister has a history of being careless and inconsiderate when it comes to spreading germs.

How do the baby’s parents feel about your sister visiting during flu season? 

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If you want to prevent someone from holding a newborn, I've had good luck wearing them in a wrap.  They're also less likely to touch a baby nuzzled inside something like a Moby in a newborn hold, IME. And the wraps tend to keep them snug and sleepy.

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1 hour ago, marbel said:

 

Yeah, I have inadvertently hurt peoples' feelings by declining when they say 'want to hold the baby?'  I don't respond rudely, but say something like 'oh, no, that's OK, I'm not super comfortable with newborns' but some people think it means I hate their baby.  I know new parents can be emotional, but come on.  Now, if someone needs me to hold their baby, of course I am happy to help them. But I don't see holding a newborn as a treat.

 

My boss (yes, my boss) once got a bottle ready for her baby and then asked me if I wanted to feed her. I looked puzzled and said, "Um, no?" 

It is possible that I lacked diplomacy in my youth. And career-building skills. 

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Lots of babies have older siblings who are elementary school students during flu season. They generally aren't as good as their teachers are about washing hands. Absent major health problems, I've never heard of anyone banning big siblings from the home.

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Just this year, my 4 month old almost died of an RSV infection and was in respiratory distress. My sister's co-worker's baby (3 months) contacted RSV at the same time as ours and did die. I think this has seriously colored how I view protecting a new baby. It was one of the most scary experiences I ever had. Honestly at one point, I thought she might die while I watched. I would talk to the parents about hand watching and keeping the baby away from anyone is is remotely sick. RSV seems like a minor cold but it can be deadly to babies. The Flu is not the only worry.

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1 hour ago, stibalfamily said:

Just this year, my 4 month old almost died of an RSV infection and was in respiratory distress. My sister's co-worker's baby (3 months) contacted RSV at the same time as ours and did die. I think this has seriously colored how I view protecting a new baby. It was one of the most scary experiences I ever had. Honestly at one point, I thought she might die while I watched. I would talk to the parents about hand watching and keeping the baby away from anyone is is remotely sick. RSV seems like a minor cold but it can be deadly to babies. The Flu is not the only worry.

One of my friends, a nurse, was so distressed after her first almost died of RSV during its first winter that they purposely planned their next baby to be born in the spring. So I can certainly understand how this type of experience can make someone much more cautious.

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9 hours ago, lynn said:

My sister told me yesterday that she planned to visit during Christmas break to visit her great nephew who will be about a month old. " Um dear sister you are an elementary school teacher.  Please don't visit my grandson during the flu season!! ".      Yep that's what I'll tell her over and over again.  Will she listen?  I hope so.  Am I being ridiculous?

Yea. A bit. ?

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Personally I could go either way with a one-month-old who is not medially fragile.  (One month is still pretty young.)  But this is the aunt, not just a random person, and as a teacher, she probably can't just visit any time of the year.  Basic reasonable hygiene should be fine.

When my kid brother was born, he had 4 school-aged siblings who spent their days in 4 different germ-infested classrooms, then came home and mauled him.  He (and millions like him) survived.

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3 hours ago, stibalfamily said:

Just this year, my 4 month old almost died of an RSV infection and was in respiratory distress. My sister's co-worker's baby (3 months) contacted RSV at the same time as ours and did die. I think this has seriously colored how I view protecting a new baby. It was one of the most scary experiences I ever had. Honestly at one point, I thought she might die while I watched. I would talk to the parents about hand watching and keeping the baby away from anyone is is remotely sick. RSV seems like a minor cold but it can be deadly to babies. The Flu is not the only worry.

And this comes under one of the things that PARENTS need to consider.  But it isn't ridiculous for someone who is not remotely sick to visit even if it is during flu season.  (I agree with everyone that sick people should not be visiting newborns.) 

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I think you're overreacting.  It wouldn't have occurred to me to think what you're thinking.  Every time you go to the grocery store you expose yourself to germs.  Assuming your dh is working, then every time he goes to work he exposes himself to germs.  That list goes on and on.  If your sister is sick, then of course she shouldn't come.  In my experience though, teachers often have a hardy immune system.  They've been exposed to a lot of things and built up lots of immunities.  I don't remember seeing my own sister sick for years and years!  (She's a kindergarten teacher.)

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maybe you could politely suggest she get a flu shot and pertussis if you are super worried.  But honestly as a mum I'd have been more worried about putting kids in the grocery cart than about an adult who is likely to be aware of sickness and excellent at hand washing and hygiene.  (I'm assuming but most childcare workers and school teachers are good with this!)

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DS was a premie born in January. The ped told us visitors should stay away if they had any symptoms of illness (including a cold) and DS needed an RSV shot, and we promoted hand-washing. However, there was no reason to rule out contact with people just because it was winter.

My PS-attending 6yo sister was among the visitors in his first few weeks, along with all my school-teaching friends. None of them were sick, and DS did not get sick.

If the relative in question usually spends Christmas break recovering from the wild germies, the concern is understandable--but otherwise, I'd leave it to the parents to speak up if they have an issue.

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5 minutes ago, llllll said:

I had 3 winter babies - 1 in December and 2 in January.  I guess it was flu season when I took one of them in for a well checkup.  Half the people in the waiting room were obviously sick and we had to sit there for a while.  I should have left instantly when I saw that, but I didn't and we caught whatever it was, including my newborn.  VERY annoying.  Up until that happened, however, I hadn't even thought about my babies catching anything.  They seemed fairly resilient and they had lots of brothers and sisters at home who were plenty slimy and germy.  ?

Our doctor's office set aside a block of time early each morning for well baby checkup appointments. It was so nice to be able to bring the babies in before the waiting room filled up with sick people.

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I'm going to have to agree with others that it's an overreaction. Also, does your grandson live with you? I'm asking because I don't remember if you've ever said. If not, it's up to the parents to decide who should and shouldn't visit. Actually, it's up to them regardless of where they live. As a grandparent I understand your concern for the precious little one, but gently - it's not your place.

 

18 hours ago, TeenagerMom said:

 

 

ETA:  If she has been a teacher for many years, she probably has an immune system made of impenetrable steel.  Teachers are usually very well protected from illnesses after a couple of years of working around kids.  I NEVER got sick after working in childcare for 6 months.  It took 10 years for my immune system to decline enough that I pick up stomach bugs, etc now.

Yes. When I was teaching we could always tell who the new teachers were even if they didn't look so young and fresh out of college. They were the ones who were always sick. It didn't take long though, to build up immunity.

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21 hours ago, lynn said:

I am very  concerned about anything she may have pick up working around kids.   It would be better to wait until after flu season.

 

Either way I'd see it as the parents' choice. If sister is healthy and parents have no concerns, no problem. Unfortunately, no matter what precautions we take, babies will likely catch something but end up being fine.

When ds was a baby, all the cousins and their parents were constantly around. I did not bother trying to restrict visits nor did we isolate him. Now, if he has any other health issues that make him more fragile, then yes, I'd be more vigilant.

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I haven't read many of the responses so I apologize if this has been said. Anyone can be a potential carrier of the flu during that season.  Even you?  You could pick it up at the grocery store or a meeting, etc and give it to your grandchild, right?  It sounds awful to punish someone for being a teacher.  When I had little ones I discouraged anyone from touching their hands or kissing their face when they were that small, especially during flu season but just being around the baby shouldn't be a problem.  If she were sick, running a fever, etc that would be different.  Potential for danger exists all around us and all the time.  We can't possibly avoid all of the dangers that could threaten the ones we love.  I know that is hard to accept but it is simply reality ? 

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The only time I'd actually restrict visitors is if the baby has some kind of health issues that affect his immune system or ir he himself is sick at that time. It seems he's due sometime in November if he'll be a month old around the Christmas holidays, so you don't know if he'll be perfectly healthy. Of course I hope he is, but until then it doesn't make sense to pre-screen visitors simply based on his age and their profession. Unless we're missing something there isn't an expectation that he'll have health issues. And again, it's the parents' decision not the grandparents.

Our granddaughter is due in a few weeks and she will have Down Syndrome. There are health issues that can come with DS. We hope she'll be healthy but we know that as much as we're looking forward to meeting her we might have to wait.

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We're one of those ridiculous families that sequesters a newborn born in flu season. Yes, we had older siblings that were in public school at the time but that's why we didn't want any additional sources of germs coming into contact with our early January baby.

The hospital would not allow anyone under 16 in the maternity ward because of flu season, not even siblings. We asked for no visitors until we were ready to bring him out for everyone to see. We had decided this before he was born and then we were even more relieved that we made these decisions ahead of time because he ended up being born just barely at term (37 weeks) due to preeclampsia and then he couldn't breastfeed due to dsyphagia which caused him to aspirate anything thinner than honey consistancy into his lungs making pneumonia an even higher risk for him than the average newborn. We managed to keep him from getting ill until he was 4 months old when he caught the chicken pox from his siblings.

We didn't take him out to the store until late spring-early summer. Someone stayed home with the baby when siblings had to go to activities or when others asked how they could help with the baby, we asked them to run errands or take the siblings out so that the baby didn't have to be exposed to any additional germs. All the doctor's offices and the children's hospital we had to take him to for his dysphagia all had separate waiting areas for sick and well children. We kept him covered and did not allow others to touch him when he had to take him out. I'm sure we hurt some feelings along the way, but I have no regrets about keeping my winter baby away from as many sources of illness as I possibly could. He will be 6yo this January.

Now, I will say that I wouldn't have liked my mother or mother-in-law makes those decisions for me and telling people who could and could not visit regardless of whether she erred on the side inviting every one in the county to see her new grandbaby or told everyone they weren't allowed to visit until the baby was 2 years old. I really think it's a choice the parents need to make and not feel pressured about it either way.

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