Being Cold ≠ Getting a Cold – A Mom Shaming Experience

Sometimes as moms, it feels like we’re always under scrutiny.

You let your child eat what?!

You took them where?!

You know what I’m talking about: Mom shaming. DUN DUN DUN! It seems like no matter how much thought you put into making a decision for your child, there can be that one person who tries to undo it all in a few seconds with a judgmental remark (even though he/she is often WRONG).

As supermoms, we have to remember that we can’t please everyone. We just have to focus on what’s best for OUR cutie-pie’s wellbeing, try to make informed choices, and block out the haters.

Example:  I live close to the beach.  When Jelly bean was 4 or 5 months old, I’d take her for walks most days. One somewhat windy day I was wearing a light sweatshirt and so was Jelly Bean, as she was bundled in a baby carrier on my chest.  As I approached the beach, a woman made a face in my direction as if she’d just seen someone punch their child in the face, clearly appalled.  I turned back to see what she was looking at.  I saw nothing and continued down the hill confused, but more in bliss of my bonding with my angel.  Finally, as I got closer, she screams, “did you lose her bonnet”?  I sooo wish I was quick enough to have responded, “Oh, are you a pediatrician”?  She was shaming me for the way Jelly Bean was dressed – She knew NOTHING about Jelly Bean yet couldn’t keep her opinion to herself.

News flash! According to Medical News Today and other reliable sources, it’s a fact that low-ish temperatures and being cold (though we weren’t cold) don’t actually make you sick. Viruses and bacteria do.  Plus, I dress my sweetheart in what she’ll be comfortable in based on what I know about her. Haven’t you even thought, “Ah, what a beautiful day,” while someone nearby is zipping up their winter coat? Perceptions of weather, like of everything else, vary. But let’s get back to that cold temperature thing.

Yes, cold weather does bring out more illnesses, but it isn’t being cold that makes you sick. Would stocking a fridge at a restaurant give you the flu? No, of course not! It’s all about the germs. The reason why cold and sickness are associated is because colder temperatures do allow for viruses to replicate more rapidly, and cold temperatures are thought to weaken the immune system, at least slightly. But if you successfully avoid the germs, it doesn’t really matter that you’re wearing 2 layers not 3 if you don’t feel cold.  On that day, I did not and Jelly Bean was a chubby baby so her extra body fat made her averse to blankets and a lot of layers.

Some things that you can do to prevent the spread of germs, a.k.a the real culprits:

  • Wash your hands and your angel’s hands thoroughly and often
  • Keep their hands out of their mouth as much as you can (mission impossible, I know)
  • Modeling good sneezing and coughing procedure
    • Sneeze into a clean tissue
    • Vampire sneeze/cough (into your sleeve)
    • Wash hands immediately if sneezed on
  • Increasing their vitamin D intake which is naturally lowered during darker winter months and integral to the immune system
  • Don’t share drinks/food. I know this is tough for so many, especially family members.  And it’s nearly impossible to “enforce” with Jelly Bean since she is still so curious, but if one person has been exposed to germs, you decrease your chances of “sharing” illness by NOT sharing his/her drink…even when it’s your child.
  • Also, don’t drink or eat straight from cartons that you don’t plan to finish in a sitting. If you put the milk back after taking a swig or put the Halo Top Pint back after a few spoonfuls that weren’t served into a bowl, you’ve transferred your saliva to it and between now and your return, you’ve giving it a chance to germinate.  We got to see this first hand under a microscope in culinary school. Trust me, it would make you stop doing that too!

It’s super important to teach your little tykes the true causes of getting sick while they’re young so that they can learn real ways to prevent spreading germs. We all know how germy toddlers can be, so give them a head start in health promotion and disease prevention.

And next time you see someone out without a parka, you can rest easy knowing that the temperature is only one factor in the world of sniffles and doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll get sick.