Your new baby has finally arrived home from the hospital. Everyone is excited to see her, and you are freaking out about germs and hygiene.
This is totally understandable, since your baby’s immune system is highly sensitive. Practising good hygiene is a must when you have a new baby.
We list 10 very simple hygiene practises every new parent should adopt.
1. Wash your hands often
This is a must whether you have a baby or not, but this becomes essentially important when there’s a new bundle of joy around. Choose a good antibacterial soap that can be used by the whole family.
This is essential for removing harmful bacteria and germs that cause colds, flu, diarrhoea and other common infections. Also remember to dry your hands properly and to also wash hand towels often. It is very important to wash your hands before holding and feeding your baby. The same is true after handling raw food, after changing a nappy, or going to the toilet, after touching pets, after touching any dirty items like nappies, the rubbish or food waste.
2. Clean toys regularly
As parents soon find out, babies put everything into their mouths. That is why it is important to clean you child’s toys with an effective disinfectant. Wipe plastic toys down, and make sure you rinse them regularly. Put furry or plush toys in the washing machine and hang in the sunlight to dry.
3. Keep the house clean
It is not always possible to clean the house everyday from top to bottom with disinfectant. But do pay attention to the areas that are more likely to harbour germs and bacteria such as the kitchen counter tops, the bathroom, kitchen chairs, cutlery, crockery and glassware. Make sure you use warm soapy water to wash these clean. Pay close attention to taps, toilet seats and door handles. Make sure to also dry these surfaces well if they are not in a well-ventilated area with natural light.
4. Bath baby
Make sure to keep your baby clean with regular baths. But remember that in the first year of baby’s life, she need only bath three times a week. This is because baby’s skin is still very sensitive.
5. Keep baby’s nails short
Always keep your baby’s nails well-trimmed and short, so that she can’t scratch herself. Some parents argue that the best time to cut her nails is when she is asleep. Use baby nail clippers and make sure not to cut the nails too short as this will also hurt baby.
6. Clean the outside of baby’s ears
Never ever wash inside baby’s ears. Only wash the outside of the ears and never insert cotton wool buds into her ears. If your baby is continuously touching their ears this may be a sign of an infection, make sure to have this checked by your doctor.
7. Clean baby’s nose
Make sure to remove any dried mucous from your baby’s nose as this can cause difficulty in breathing. Use a nasal syringe to remove any excess mucous, but make sure to check this with your doctor first.
8. Clean your baby’s eyelids
Use damp cotton wool to gently clean your baby’s eyelids. See a doctor if you notice any irritation around the eyes.
9. Care of the Umbilicus
Looking after your baby’s umbilical cord is very important. Until the umbilical cord remenants have been shed, the area should be cleaned at least once a day, or even twice to prevent it from becoming infected.
Use clean warm water and some cotton wool togently wipe the area once and discard the cotton. Repeat this until hard scabbed areas are made soft. If you notice any bleeding or pus, report this to your doctor.
10. Nappy Changing
Baby’s require frequent nappy changes. To prevent sore and broken skin around the nappy area, always wipe down the nappy area with warm water and cotton wool. When cleaning girls, always remember to use a front to back motion. This helps to prevent contamination of the urethra and bladder from bacteria and faeces. Make sure the creases are dried and use lubricant such as Vaseline to keep the skin moisturised.