As I’m sure you know by now, becoming new parents isn’t an easy task. You have to prepare hard to receive a new member in your family. And when I say this, I’m not just talking about new things to buy. Most likely you’ll have to develop some good cleaning habits that will maintain the health of your newborn. Hygiene is important before the baby arrives, and even more once the baby is back home. As my wife and I experienced on our own, the following cleaning habits kept our girls happy and in perfect shape since day 1.
1. Strict Pet Rule
Pets are your “babies” before your actual baby is born, so keeping them out of the house all the time can be tough. However, having a strict “no pets allowed in the baby room” rule to ensure that it stays clean, hygienic and free of any dirt or nasty stuff that the pet may bring into the house is a must. The nursery should be out of your pets’ reach long before birth. Once your newborn is home, keep the pets away from him for at least six months.
This rule applies to you as well. After you are done playing with your pet, don’t rush off to your baby, get shower first. A single loveable lick from your dog could contain thousands of microbes and although they may not be enough to get you sick, they are too much for the baby’s immune system to handle. While keeping the babies exposed to help developing their antibodies is necessary, you should know when to protect your little one from potential danger.
2. Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize
One of the best cleaning habits (not just around babies) is to maintain a clean and as sterile as possible environment. When talking about flooring, this could be achieved using a vacuum cleaner and a steam mop combo, or by using a hybrid (an appliance which can do both in the same time, such as the Bissell Symphony). The hot air destroys 99% of bacteria and germs. If you have carpets, use a good scrubber such as Shark Sonic Duo or Hoover Floormate for a good deep clean.
If the sheets under your baby have been urinated on, sterilize them after washing, to make sure there is no chance of infection. Using all the sterilized clothing and equipment is especially necessary if your little one has caught the flu lately and doesn’t feel good. If your baby will be sucking on pacifiers, make sure you sterilize them regularly, especially when he drops them on the floor.
There are multiple ways you can sterilize things. You can either boil, steam, use chemical substances or even use your microwave to sterilize the food equipment and clothing of the baby.
3. Handling Feeding Equipment
Speaking of the food equipment, feeding bottles need to be cleaned thoroughly. Even if the mother breastfeeds the baby, you need feeding bottles around to store the expressed milk. All the feeding equipment that comes in contact with the milk must be thoroughly cleaned and any residual milk must be washed away.
Wash the bottles with a soft soap solution and make sure that the teat of the feeder is not blocked by milk residue. Use a special brush to clean the bottles, most kits have one by default. If the mother uses a breast pump to express milk, you must sterilize each of the equipment components before storage, and once again before usage.
4. Cleaning Diapers
Disposable diapers are most commonly used, but if you are using a diaper service, cloth diapers can be less expensive. Most newborn babies will need about 10 diapers a day so for starters, keeping at least 4 dozen diapers around the house may be a good idea. Another tip is to keep some moisturizer cream and baby powder and look for any signs of rash on the baby’s back. This will help keep the rash soothed, avoid infection and save your little one and yourself a lot of trouble.
Have a designated diaper changing station and a trash bin with diaper bags to dispose the wastes. With some warm water and cotton, wipe the baby gently and use different cotton every time you to make sure that there is no waste left behind. Wash your hands or use some alcohol to sterilize them before and after you take care of the dirty diapers, since remaining matter can easily contaminate you and the baby, as well as anything else you come in contact with.
5. Maintaining Baby’s Hygiene
Just like their mum and dad, the baby needs proper hygiene too, so you must ensure that the baby’s nails are clipped regularly, the ears are cleaned with care, and the nose is dirt-free as well. Keeping the finger nails trimmed and tidy is necessary since babies tend to suck on their thumbs and fingers all the time. If there is any dirt or grit stuck under them, they will naturally end up swallowing it. Baby sized nail clippers will be ideal to clip off those tiny fingernails without any problem.
When cleaning the ears of the baby, make sure that you are only washing the outside part of the ear and the earlobe of the baby and not the inside of it. It is strictly advised to never use cotton swab or Q-tips to clean the baby’s inner ear since they have very delicate ear drums. Always look for dried mucus that may get collected in the nose. Cleaning the nose gently and regularly is important for the baby could have trouble breathing if the nasal passage is blocked. Use a moist cloth or a nasal syringe to clean out all of the mucus and gently wipe to avoid any unwanted rashes.
Although bathing the baby regularly is important, you should avoid bathing the baby too frequently since their skin is too soft and can easily become dry and rough. Bathing twice or three times a week is enough for the baby in the first year, and it is advised to use a sponge in the first months.
Use a gentle baby soap, a moist bath linen and some warm water and keep the baby covered, exposing only the parts which you are washing. Fill a small tub with about 2 liters of warm water with a temperature that is suitable for you to keep your hand emerged inside the tub. With a warm cloth, wash the baby’s face and hair, but make sure that the water does not come in contact with the baby’s eyes.
As a final word, parents should care about developing and maintaining these good habits, while getting rid of bad ones. You can get help on managing habits by using mobile apps such as Evernote, maintaining to-do lists, and reading personal development books such as those written by S.J. Scott or Stephen Guise.
Did I miss an essential habit? I would love your feedback!