Zoe Marshall has written a heartfelt plea asking people not to kiss newborn babies on the mouth.
The wife of rugby league legend Benji Marshall, who gave birth to the couple's longed-for son Fox in February last year, explained on parenting site Mamamia that she was horrified when just days after coming home from hospital with Fox, a friend kissed her baby on the mouth.
"Full on smooches. I hadn't even done this yet and there they were non stop on the lips! I didn't know what to do. I was in such shock. I kind of shimmied my way in and pretended he needed a feed. I just had to get him away from those puckering lips," she said.
Zoe said she "waited anxiously" over the next couple of days to see if Fox became ill.
"Of course he was fine, but it made me think. Is that normal to kiss other peoples babies on the lips? ... If someone should be smooching, it is me!"
The 34-year-old mother of one, who has been open about both her struggles adjusting to motherhood and her long and exhausting battle with endometriosis before conceiving Fox, stated that she would "never kiss any baby on the mouth".
"I don't even ask friends who are new mums if I can have a hold. I wait for them to offer. It's such a fragile stage. For both mum and baby."
The self-confessed "germophobe" explained that while she was pregnant with Fox she read an article about a newborn baby dying from being kissed on the lips.
From that day on she was adamant no one would even be allowed into her hospital room after she gave birth unless they'd had a whooping cough vaccine, sanitised their hands and been given a clean bill of health.
Studies have shown that kissing babies on the mouth can cause the baby to have tooth decay. Dr Michael Chong, a paediatric dental specialist from Australia, has been quoted as saying mothers and fathers with active dental decay can risk passing on their bacteria to their children.
Zoe said she also felt uncomfortable when strangers wanted to touch Fox when she began taking him out in public.
Zoe opened up on social media last year about the struggles she faced adjusting to motherhood.
"Beautiful family photo," she captioned the image above. "But also a struggle. Today is RUOK day. I have to be honest. Today I am. In fact the last few weeks I've been feeling good. Finally. The two months prior were brutal. Suffering extreme post natal depletion."
The term post-natal depletion was coined by Dr. Oscar Serrallach. It refers to the extreme toll pregnancy can take on a woman's body. While it is a different to post-natal depression, some of the resulting symptoms can be the same; a constant feeling of tiredness which can impact a mother's emotional wellbeing and lead to feelings of sadness and not being able to cope.
For Zoe "it played out in low immunity, constant flu symptoms, exhaustion, moodiness, sadness and overwhelm."
Zoe also famously drank her own placenta in a shake.
The health benefits of consuming one's own placenta has been a hotly contested topic of debate. According to some, drinking a placenta shake post birth can help a new mother's milk come in sooner, aid in healing of the body, provide a boost of hormones and stop the onset of the 'baby blues'.
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