Tell her she is welcome to love the baby to pieces but she should avoid kissing him directly on the lips until he is much older ( this goes for everyone ). She can still kiss the baby on its head and hug him to bits and carry him around the house talking to him for hours on end - it's just not a good idea to kiss newborns on the lips - for reasons well beyond herpes! Newborns don't have a fully developed immune system yet and are vulnerable to all sorts of infections so washing your hands before you pick up baby and avoiding direct contact with the nose and mouth are always a good idea. Even just a common ordinary cold can make a baby pretty sick :( Anyone with an obvious cold sore present or feels like one is about to start shouldn't kiss the baby anywhere ( same with if they feel otherwise ill they shouldn't visit ).
yes indeed you can transmit oral herpes even when there isn't a visible cold sore. Granted the virus is not contagious 24/7 - for hsv1 oral on average it's about 18 days total out of every 100 days even if there aren't any obvious cold sores during that time but when it comes to newborns - no kissing on the lips is always a good idea until they are a few months old. Since statistically over half of the adults around your baby have hsv1 orally, even if they can't recall ever having a cold sore, just telling everyone that your pediatrician stressed that no one should be kissing the baby on the lips in the begining due to all germs in general is a good idea. Still plenty of ways to love an adorable little baby - it's pretty safe to kiss the hands, feet and belly's ( ok so raspberry's are for the bellies not just plain ordinary kisses....he he he ) as long as an active cold sore isn't present.
http://www.westoverheights.com/genital_herpes/handbook/view_the_chapters/symptoms.html has a section on oral herpes that does talk about cold sores and transmitting the virus when symptoms aren't present if your family members try to tell you you are wrong. I know it's a fine line - you want to protect your baby without offending your family - especially not when someone already has to deal with obvious cold sores anyways that's why it's just easier to tell everyone the same thing which is in the baby's best interest anyways.
Congratulations on your new baby! May he/she be blessed with good health and bring TONS of joy into your life :)
Grace, thank you so much. Your information is very valuable. Thanks again.
Been there. Felt like a watch dog with my husband and his family and their cold sores. His mom would say "Oh honey, ain't nothin but a little ol cold sore." I stood my ground and was picky even to the point of them feeling like I was a *****. Hey, kids are 7 and 10 and no cold sores. They kiss them but not when they have a cold sore. To my knowledge they don't kiss them on the lips either. I never have had cold sores but out of common sense and respect for others newborns and toddlers, I wouldn't kiss them. I know, everyone wants to hug, hold and kiss a baby and it racks your nerves. Stand your ground girlfriend and don't be afraid of what people think. Give them the lecture and tell them your way or the highway. No taking it back once a baby/child gets a cold sore and the darn things are for life. Take it seriously as you do. You are in the right. Behind you and here for you, EB