Your little ones’ immunity systems are incredibly sensitive, able to pick up many passing diseases and infections and bub’s personal hygiene is highly important
It goes without saying: when
it comes to taking care of your baby’s health, bub’s personal hygiene is of the
utmost importance, and one of your most important responsibilities. Along with
making sure that your baby is fed and safe, protecting him from illness and
infection at this fragile time of life is essential.
Your little one’s immune
system is incredibly sensitive, able to pick up many passing diseases and
infections. Allergy-causing dust can easily find its way onto your baby’s body,
particularly through their hands and feet. More seriously, germs and
bacteria get transferred from one person to another quite fast.
your baby is born his immune system is not fully developed
When they are born, babies are
incredibly well put together by all of the magic of mum’s womb, but they don’t
yet have all of their immune systems in
place or their natural defenses against
illness and infection. With time and growth their bodies get tougher, but in
the very beginning, they still have a few
weaknesses that you need to be careful to look after.
Babies don’t have the capacity
to create their own antibodies until they are at least 2-3 months old, and
their immune systems aren’t fully developed until they are around six months
As babies get older and more
exposed to germs and toxins in their environment they are better able to fight
back against things that could make them ill.
Start with good hygiene
Once baby’s immune system is
weakened by germs, they can become prone to dangerous illnesses that they may
not have already been vaccinated against – especially if they’re too young to
start their vaccination schedule.
The best defense is a good offense, so a basic understanding of baby hygiene is the perfect
way to help prevent a number of health complications, especially when your child has a delicate immune system.
Good personal hygiene will not
only help bub stay healthy, and protected from illness – it will also help
teach them good habits as they grow older. As bub watches you practice these
techniques, it will become a habit that they will continue to practice well
Regularly wash the baby’s body, hair,and hands, ensuring that you use non-allergenic soaps; a bath twice
a day is best, especially for younger children. It’s also important to keep
their nails trimmed because dirt can
easily get under long nails, and if they scratch themselves, this can cause
infection. Make sure to clear wax from your baby’s ears, and dirt from their
eyes and nose at all times.
As they grow older, place
items such as hairbrush or toothbrushes in their hands, and guide them through
the process of brushing their hair or teeth – this will help them to learn how
to do it themselves. Eventually, they will start to pick these habits up. It’s
essential that you instill these habits
at a young age – such as reminding them to wash their hands after using the toilet and to brush their teeth twice a day.
Don’t let your pet in your
baby’s room until bubs is around six
months old and has a better developed
immune system. Never let your pet sleep in your baby’s bed. Keep pet food, beds
and litter trays out of your baby’s reach; safety gates are good for this until
your little one is around 2 years of age.
A clean home is a happy home –
especially a baby’s room. Bub will get
the best sleep if they’re sleeping in a clean cot,
so ensure that you are regularly cleaning and changing the sheets once a week.
Keep the room dust-free, going
through it twice a week to remove any roving dust mites, and go over surfaces
with baby-friendly antibacterial products to kill any germs or bacteria that
may have found their way into the room. If you have screen windows, don’t
forget to clean those, as well – they tend to trap a lot of dust as well.
Always ensure any room baby is
in is well ventilated, with plenty of fresh air. However, try to keep insects
at bay – you can either use a surface
spray for the odd bug that ventures inside, or baby-friendly insecticide on
bub’s skin, to prevent insect bites if you live in an area prone to bugs like
mosquitoes, midges and the like. The best preventative is to keep all screen
doors closed as much as possible.
The most important area to
keep clean is the bathroom, as this area tends to have the nastiest bugs.
Always cover your nappy bin and rubbish and clear them as quickly as you can –
you don’t want bub exploring an overflowing garbage bin.
Similarly, always keep the lid
of the toilet down; germs can hop out even when it’s not in use.
myths about babies and hygiene
1. Can they
eat food off the floor?
Once your baby is crawling he
can get into all sorts of trouble. You should keep your floor and any areas
within his reach as clean as possible, as well as locking cupboards with
anything dangerous in them.
But even the most persistent
of mothers can miss some things, especially if your
baby has an older sibling or two. There is bound to be something under the
couch or hidden in the carpet that your baby tries to eat.
They get to a stage where
absolutely everything ends up straight in their mouth anyway, from their hands
and feet to toys, and anything else they
get their chubby little mitts on. Dust from the floor will not make your baby
sick, but germs and viruses can. Keep germs from outside to a minimum by taking
off shoes at the door and leaving prams and strollers outside.
2. If you
expose babies to more germs are they less likely to have food allergies?
Studies have shown that
exposing babies to some dirt and dust can help their immune systems. Children
raised in homes that were not as fastidiously cleaned were less likely to
develop allergen related conditions such as asthma
The information is still new
and disputed by experts at this stage, so it might be better to err on the side
of caution and keep your house as clean as you can. But at the same time, don’t
stress too much about this little things, because some exposure to bacteria and
allergens is okay.
3. Can you
clean a pacifier/dummy from the floor by popping it in your mouth?
There are varied opinions on
this one. Originally it was thought to be an unsafe way to ‘clean’ your baby’s
dummy, because of the bacteria in your own mouth, but a study in 2013 turned
that debate around, saying that parents who suck on their children’s dummies to
clean them expose their babies to more germs and allergens, and leading to
healthier babies in the long-term.
Dentists, however, say that tooth
disease and infection can be passed onto your baby, so you should avoid this
‘cleaning’ habit. Giving the dummy a rinse in hot water is one of the best
things you can do while out, or at least give the dummy a wipe over with a baby
you keep everyone away from your baby?
It can be tempting to just
keep all outsiders away from your baby in the beginning, but while this might be effective at protecting your
little ones from germs it is a very good way to upset a lot of friends and
family. And by the time your second baby comes around, he will have a toddler
sibling who acts as a very good germ monkey, bringing all sorts of toxins,
dirt, germs and unknown entities into the house.
If you have a friend who
admits to having a cold or some other kind of virus, it is perfectly reasonable
to ask them to stay away until they are feeling a bit better.
Clear bins (kitchen and
bathrooms or toilets) frequently
Ensuring proper ventilation in
the home is very important, as it will help protect your baby from infections
or diseases caused by dust or bacteria
Try not to bring any outside
shoes and slippers into the house; this prevents
them from tracking dirt and germs through the house
Try to clean baby’s clothes
separately from the adults’ clothes, so that they don’t pick up potential
Remember to not leave any
cleaning items or dirty dust cloths in baby’s room
Ask for help when you need it,
and accept help when people offer it. Cleaning your house might be a little
down the list of priorities when you are just trying to feed your baby and get
the odd scrap of sleep for yourself. Ask your partner or other family or
friends to help out by running the vacuum through the baby’s room and living
If you are worried about
exposing your baby to chemicals, there is a wide range of natural cleaning
products you can make which are just as antibacterial as the chemical-grade
stuff. Ingredients including vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential
oils like orange or tea-tree can be used to make cleaners which work really
well, smell great and are safe for your baby and the environment.
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