Parents Shower Newborn Baby in Cash, Stirring Up Debate About "Bacteria Blanket"
Commenters were grossed out.
A couple of new parents have gone viral after sharing a video of a visitor showering their newborn baby in $100 bills. In the clip, the infant is seen sleeping in a hospital crib, while an adult (apparently a family member) layers the currency on top of the child's blanket. Internet commenters promptly freaked out, noting that money is infamously dirty.
As one commenter put it: "Bro just created a bacteria blanket for a newborn." Read on to find out more about the response, how dirty money actually is, and doctors' recent surprising discovery about the immune system in infancy.
Some Commenters Were Grossed Out
"I appreciate his desire to bless the baby, provide for them and give them the world. On the other hand…MONEY IS DISGUSTINGLY GERMY! And baby is still building its immunity," one Twitter user wrote. "For the sake of my own sanity I'm going to assume he washed those bills before going to the hospital," said another. "I get it…I really do," another man chimed in.
"But I just don't think it's a healthy decision." "Sooo hopefully those are new $100 bills and they are untouched," another commenter responded. "buuuut also idk.. this could be a form of manifestation for the baby to always have money."
Some Had Fun With It
Others saw the humor in the situation. "Most parents convert the 100$ bills into diapers first, BEFORE wrapping their baby in it," one commenter tweeted. "This man missed a step!" "The point of this is to bless the baby with wealth throughout their life but like, if you've got enough dough to be laying THAT many $100 bills on your newborn child I feel like poverty isn't something your child is gonna have to worry about," another said.
"Put all that in a 529 education plan and let it compound," another suggested. Some pointed out that a viral video made a pretty cool birth announcement. "Wait why are people mad about this," another Twitter user wrote. "Imagine having a pic of yourself as a baby covered in 100 dollar bills that would go so hard."
How Dirty Is Money Anyway?
Pretty dirty. Time magazine noted that a 2002 study in Southern Medical Journal found pathogens—including staph—on 94% of dollar bills tested. "Paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet," the magazine noted.
"And bills are a hospitable environment for gross microbes: viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days."
But Infant Immunity Is Surprisingly Hardy
Although a doctor probably wouldn't advise re-enacting the viral video, immunity in infancy is actually stronger than most people think, researchers from Columbia University wrote in 2021.
"The infant immune system has a reputation for being weak and underdeveloped when compared to the adult immune system, but the comparison isn't quite fair," said microbiology and immunology professor Donna Farber, Ph.D.
Babies' Immune Systems Superior to Adults'?
Babies do tend to come down with colds and flu more often than grown-ups. But because newborns are encountering bacteria and viruses for the first time, their T cells—the immune system's fighters that battle back pathogens—actually seem to be more reactive than those of adults, the Columbia researchers found.
"The infant's immune system is robust, it's efficient, and it can get rid of pathogens in early life. In some ways, it may be even better than the adult immune system, since it's designed to respond to a multitude of new pathogens," said Farber. Not that you necessarily want to test that by emptying your wallet over the infants in your life.
And Then, Crickets
In other questionable parenting news, a Toronto food writer activated the internet's gag reflex this week when she talked about feeding her 18-month-old daughter crickets as an inexpensive source of protein. Tiffany Leigh said substituting bugs for beef, chicken, and pork has cut her weekly food bill nearly in half. "[Crickets are] a nutritional powerhouse," she said.
"A mere two tablespoons of cricket powder provides 100 per cent of the daily protein needs of a baby." Board-certified pediatric dietitian Venus Kalami gave the meal plan a thumbs-up, saying bugs are "packed with key nutrients like high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, minerals like iron (some have more than beef) and zinc, vital B vitamins, and more."
"During infancy, a child is particularly receptive to exploring a wide variety of foods—a strong argument for introducing insects early on and getting ahead of any negative stereotypes around eating bugs, such as being 'scary' or 'inedible,'" she added.