Babies are seemingly both magnets for and causes of germs and viruses due to their immune system that’s still growing, so practicing good hygiene is extremely important to keep baby happy and healthy!
Here are 5 tips that you and your partner should do to at home:
1. Wash Your Hands
It’s something that our parents keep telling us, no matter how old we are (similar to how they affectionately call us ‘boy ah’ or ‘girl ah’, even though we’re well past that age). We really should listen to them on washing hands, especially after baby’s living with us!
If we want to touch or play with baby, it’s important that we wash our hands after doing any of these:
After we use the toilet
Touching a pet
Changing their diapers
If we’re sick
We should use good antibacterial soap or hand sanitiser to remove harmful bacteria and germs that could cause a bunch of infections like colds, flu, diarrhoea, and more. After we’ve washed our hands, make sure to dry them properly (and regularly wash the hand towels that we use too).
2. Keep Toys Clean
One thing that babies love to do when they’re able to pick things up is to put them in their mouths afterwards. It looks really cute when they’re giggling while chewing on a TV remote (yes, I know that’s not a toy, but almost anything that they can pick up magically transforms into a toy for them), but imagine the amount of germs and dirt that’s on it!
So, step one, keep non-toys out of baby’s reach and sight as much as possible. They won’t want things that they can’t see.
Step two, keep the actual toys close to baby and keep them clean! Regularly wipe those toys down with a good, child-friendly disinfectant. For hard plastic toys, rinse them thoroughly. For soft toys, try to use the washing machine on them as much as possible, because they trap a lot more dirt and germs within them.
Step three, it might eventually be impossible or too tiring, but try your best to keep the toys in a clean storage cabinet or box.
3. Change Baby’s Diaper Frequently
Keep infections and rashes away from baby’s bum when you change their diapers ASAP after a code brown (poo). Dirty diapers are a hotspot for infections to occur, so it’s essential that you wash your hands after you get rid of them.
To treat diaper rashes, use a good diaper rash cream that’s easy on baby’s sensitive skin.
For reusable cloth diapers, you should dump them into a dry diaper pail and then wash the collected diapers every day or every other day. If you’re worried about the smell the diapers give off, try pouring a bit of baking soda onto the diapers.
When washing your cloth diapers in the washing machine, do a cold rinse first followed by a regular hot rinse with around half to a quarter of your normal amount of detergent. When drying them, you should partially dry them and then air dry them – make sure not to use your hottest drying setting too, as this will lessen the lifespan of cloth diapers.
4. Sanitise Feeding Equipment
Using a breast pump to express some extra milk for feeding later? Make sure your hands are clean before using it, and after use, ensure that all the attachments are properly sanitised and sterilised.
Because baby will be drinking the milk that’s been expressed, the equipment that helps to express your milk needs to be as clean as possible.
You can either use a steam steriliser or a UV steriliser – both do the job well and will get rid of most of the bacteria and germs.
5. Keeping Your Home Clean
Everyone loves a clean house, and it’s especially important to keep it clean when baby’s around. You don’t need to do a 100%, top-to-bottom clean with a steamer and disinfectant every single day, but you do need to look out for areas that have the most amount of contact with food and hands. These include and aren’t limited to: the toilet, kitchen, tables, pots and pans, cutlery and utensils.
You’ll just need some hot water and detergent to clean the items that you can pick up in your hands, and disinfectant for the toilet and kitchen. Disinfect areas that have high amounts of human contact like the taps, toilet seats, and door handles.
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