The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

Flu Shots and COVID: Yes, We Need Both Vaccines!

COVID-19 and Influenza: Recommendations from a Public Health Nurse
All of us, including those who are pregnant need the COVID vaccine and the flu shot.

Flu Shots and COVID vaccines are powerful health tools that keep us safe. Our resident expert, Public Health Nurse and Infection Prevention Specialist, Laura Hegarty-Moore explains why both are important to good health, and dispels some common myths about flu shots and COVID.

Why is it more important than ever to get your flu vaccine this year?

This fall and winter, influenza viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 (coronavirus) will both be spreading at the same time. In addition to protecting yourself and your family from severe illness and death from flu, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine this year for two key reasons:

  • It is possible to get sick with both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. This would be a potentially devastating hit to your immune system. The flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu, which reduces your chances of coming down with this potentially very serious double illness.
  • It will decrease the burden on the healthcare system at this very crucial time, helping to “flatten the curve,” as you’ve heard before. We want to make every effort to prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed by high amounts of people sick with COVID-19 and people sick with influenza.

Can the flu shot give me the flu?

No. This is a myth. The flu vaccine is not capable of giving you the flu.

Flu vaccines are made with either inactivated (killed) virus, attenuated (weakened) virus, or recombinant (only a single protein from the virus is used) virus. These viruses and particles are no longer infectious.

Some people do get mild symptoms after the flu vaccine such as low grade, fever, headache, and muscle aches. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Your immune system is building a response (a good thing!).
  • Influenza viruses are circulating at this time, so you may have been exposed to flu shortly before or after becoming vaccinated. It takes your body two weeks after vaccination to build up protection against the flu.
  • You may have also been exposed to one of the many other seasonal respiratory viruses out there, such as rhinovirus, commonly known as the cold virus.

While these symptoms are annoying, they’re considerably less severe than the actual flu illness.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

  • If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, the best time to get it is now! The ideal time to get the flu shot is about two weeks before flu season begins which is mid to late Fall. So, early-mid September is a good time to get vaccinated but you can get one anytime.

Remember that some babies and children need two doses of the flu vaccine to keep them safe from flu. These doses occur 4 weeks apart. And while newborns cannot receive the vaccine, it’s recommended for babies 6 months and older.

What about pregnant women? Is it safe for them to get the flu shot?

Absolutely! The flu vaccine has been proven safe in pregnant women. In fact, studies show that in addition to protecting the pregnant mom, receiving the flu vaccine during pregnancy can protect the newborn from flu for several months after birth, when baby is too young to get a flu shot. Pregnant women, children, and babies are at increased risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from flu. You could be saving your baby’s life by getting the flu vaccine while pregnant! I am currently pregnant and I was one of the first in line for my flu shot at the clinic this year!

Can I be contagious with flu before symptoms develop? What about after symptoms are gone?

Yes, you can be contagious with flu 1 day before symptoms start. You’re still considered contagious for 7 days after symptoms start and up until symptoms resolve. For example, even if your symptoms went away after 5 days, you can still be contagious for at least 2 more days! Young children and people who have weak immune systems can be contagious for even longer.  This is why it’s also important to be sure anyone caring for your little one is vaccinated.

Read more about giving birth during the pandemic and Nurse Laura’s coronavirus safety tips for everyone

Maternal Health Advocacy: If We Can Do it, You Can Do It!

Updated November 19, 2021:

Four weeks of paid family and medical leave is now part of the Build Back Better legislation currently in front of law makers! Maternal health advocacy has been a cause championed by many that is now becoming a reality. In addition to helping postpartum mothers heal and adjust to their new role, paid leave allows all family members to have better mental health, economic outcomes and long term benefits.

Paid leave can also be used for individuals to recover from a serious illness or provide care for another family member. The caregiver’s job will still be there after leave. This is an unfolding situation so we recommend following @paidleaveus on Instagram for the latest.


November 2020 – My team and I visited Capitol Hill to lobby about the importance of postpartum care, specifically in support of H.R. 34 – the 21st Century Cures Act, “Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows” and the need to continue to recognize postpartum issues.  Going hand in hand with this is also the need to have qualified professionals recognizing and helping those struggling in the postpartum phase. 

Like everyone who works in mother/baby care, we’ve known for years here at Let Mommy Sleep that early support and intervention just home from baby’s birth are the key to keeping mothers healthy, parents confident and babies safe.  The data in support of even one 2 hour postpartum visit also shows cost effective benefits across the board. 

These early days home with baby are when everyone is at their most vulnerable and by visiting parents just home from the hospital, Registered Nurses, Lactation Consultants and other trained providers head off issues before they become problems. We troubleshoot breastfeeding challenges before they snowball into an issue that makes mom quit nursing.  We identify postpartum depression versus baby blues before it spirals into darkness and we share evidence based safety and newborn care.  We also help parents see that not only are they “good enough” for their baby, they are amazing!

In a political climate that has become extreme, we remain a nonpartisan company that supports all families trying to do their best just as we did in 2014 with President Obama’s Summit for Working Families, as we will do on the Hill and as our night nurses continue to do in homes every night. 

If you would like to support maternal health, learn about active legislation in your state and speak up for families, here are 3 ways to get started:

  1. Visit March for Moms. They work every day educating about maternal death, and how it can be prevented.
  2. Did you know diapers are NOT covered under state or federal child safety-net programs? Donate diapers or funds for diapers via the National Diaper Bank.
  3. Be a hands-on or phone support to new and postpartum families by volunterring with Postpartum Support International.

Thank you to everyone who continues to work for healthy pregnancies, families and their babies.

-Denise Stern

CEO, Let Mommy Sleep

COVID-Safe DC Monument Walk for Families

You’ve baked all the bread, gone to all the drive-thru’s and watched Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. You even figured out Apple TV. So for DC, Virginia and Maryland families looking for a COVID-safe activity, we’re sharing a COVID-Safe DC Monument Walk for Families; a kid-friendly tour of some of Washington DC’s amazing outdoor monuments and memorials. This walk takes about 2 hours and is 2 miles long, but your mileage may vary (literally!) depending on the time you take at each location or if you spend extra time in any of the wide open fields! 

For your GPS, the easiest public parking is at: 455 Rock Creek Trail. There’s lots of spaces and you’ll be right next to the Potomac River, which is a fun start for the kids after being in the car.

Here’s the family friendly route we took:

1. Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial -Most people naturally think of the Stone of Hope statue when they think of this Memorial, but the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial actually encompasses another 4 acres.

2. Korean War Veterans Memorial – The 19 stainless steel statues representing the service members who fought in the Korean War are a memorable part of this memorial.

3. Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool – No tour of the monuments is complete without an up close view of the iconic tribute to President Lincoln and the Reflecting Pool.

4. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Three Soldiers are right before The Wall, as is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Both are smaller but worth seeing for sure.  If you’d like a little side trip, visit the Albert Einstein Memorial at 2101 Constitution Ave. It’s in the opposite direction, but is only a 2 minute walk from The Wall and it’s very easy to get back to the original route.

5. Constitution Gardens – This is one of the lesser known park areas but is very scenic and has a little island on the park area. The island is a Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. You can easily see it but it may be closed due to coronavirus safety restrictions. 

6. World War II Memorial – Gentle reminder to little ones that this is an actual Memorial because it might be tempting to splash in the pools or run around.

7. Ash Woods, also known as the District of Columbia War Memorial to honor DC residents who served in World War I.

8. Back to the car for a picnic on the Potomac! Bonus that you’re bound to see lots of low flying helicopters and maybe a few planes taking off. 

You may notice we haven’t included the Washington Monument. Don’t worry you’ll be able to run to it from the WWII Memorial and you’ll see it very easily for most of the walk. As for restrooms, the public buildings are closed but there are plenty of port-a-potties along the route. As of this writing, masks and social distancing are required. We hope this helps your lockdown to be a little easier. Any tips we should know? Let us know on Twitter!

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