When you’re a new parent, you want to protect your child from everything including germs and potential illness. While it may be amusing to joke about never leaving the house without your hand sanitizer or a trunk load of baby wipes, people with germaphobic tendencies can actually be doing more harm than good for their family by overly-sanitizing their environment. Though it is good to wash your hands regularly and maintain a clean environment, how much is too much?
How To Handle Your Baby and Your Fear of Germs
Keeping a healthy body and environment is important to new parents, and it’s only understandable that you might have every cleaning product under the sun in your cupboard. However, you may be doing your family a disservice. According to Health.com, over-sterilization can actually kill good bacteria that helps your skin and digestive track to stay healthy. So how do you balance the two?
1) Understand the “Hygiene Hypothesis.”
The theory of Hygiene Hypothesis has been under some study and mounting support since the late 1980’s. It relates to a correlation that was discovered between an increase in auto-immune diseases and allergies new and higher usages of cleaning and sanitation products. Further, it puts forward that when humans are not exposed to their normal level of germs and bacteria in their environment that their immune systems then attacks inward.
2) Realize that kids are messy and will get dirty.
Many of the bacteria, microbes and germs that are with us today have been in our environment for longer than humans have been on the planet, and some are actually essential for life as we know it. Just like your baby needs mental stimulation, their immune and digestive systems require revving up too. When your child gets a little dirty from routine play, there’s no need to run for the sani-wipes straight away.
3) Don’t overly wash your baby.
Your baby has extremely sensitive skin. Giving your baby too many baths a week can actually irritate the delicate balance, causing rashes and other discomforts. Aim to wash your child only 1-2 times per week. Remember, they’re not like adults who are running around and getting sweaty, so a daily wash isn’t required.
4) Do sanitize diaper-related and nursing related items.
What many doctors are now suggesting is a return of a more common-sense approach to keeping our family environments clean. Anything diaper related, including the changing area, diaper bin and other implements should be been kept clean and sanitary, as should nipples and breast pumps. Wash baby’s bedding and clothing on a hot wash for maximum cleanliness.
5) Don’t get too bent out of shape about toys.
While slobbered on cuddly toys can pay a weekly visit to the washing machine, baby toys kept in a clean environment don’t really require frequent sanitation. If there’s been a large play date or someone’s accidentally spit up in the should be washable play yard, then a quick wipe down with regular soap and water will do fine. You can also use your dishwasher for more hardy, plastic toys.
When you’re a germaphobe, it’s hard to keep your sanitary sanity. The best bet is to try to err on a more common-sense, natural approach to keeping your baby clean. By doing so, you’ll ensure maximum health results for you and your family. It is highly encouraged that you not obsess over the babies cleanliness and focus more on the contact surfaces. Having products that are easy to clean like a washable play yard will make it easier to keep your sanitary lifestyle on track.