Being a new mama is a mixture of amazing, fun, stressful, exciting and super confusing all at the same time. For a new mama it can be confusing to know what the right and wrong decisions are when taking care of their baby.
There are many topics that may confuse new moms, but one in particular is hygiene. There is so much more to hygiene than making sure the baby is bathed. We have compiled a list of 20 hygiene guidelines that mom should follow for the first three months. Some of these things only need to be followed for the first three months, but some should continue past that. Some of these tips are for baby while some are for mama and even the whole family. The first three months of a newborn’s life can be stressful for everyone in the house, but especially mama.
Mama will have to do a lot of things differently and add some new things to her to do list. Some of these hygiene tips are probably a no-brainer while others will probably be pretty surprising.
20 Change Diapers Regularly
Baby’s pee and poo- a lot. It is important to keep up with the diaper changes so that baby stays clean and healthy. When baby sits in a dirty diaper for too long, it can make him really sore and cause a rash.
When changing the baby’s diaper, make sure you use a wipe and get the baby nice and clean before putting on a new diaper. It can be inconvenient to change the baby when you are on an outing or in the middle of the night, but for hygienic purposes, it is necessary.
19 Clean The Pacifier
If your little one loves the pacifier, you must remember to clean it daily. Your little one’s pacifier picks up more germs than you think it does, and it could lead to your little guy getting sick.
Putting a pacifier under running water is enough to get surface dirt removed, according to MomLovesBest, but it won’t get rid of the bacteria and germs that cling to it. Boiling or sterilizing it in the dishwasher/microwave is a much better way of keeping the paci clean. Whether you call it a binky, dumdum, paci, or a nuknuk, you need to make sure it is clean.
18 Vacuum The Floor
Even if baby cannot roll over and crawl, it is important to keep the floor clean so that baby can lay on it to get changed or for some tummy time. Dirt, crumbs, and cat litter and gross stuff from the outside can end up on your carpets, even if you don’t notice.
To make sure baby is healthy and safe on your floor, it is a great idea to quickly run the vacuum so that she is on a clean and safe surface. Even if baby can’t move, she can place a slobbery hand on the floor then put her hand in her mouth, which means she is putting anything near her in your mouth.
17 Clean Umbilical Area
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MayoClinic states that a newborn’s umbilical cord stump falls off typically within two weeks after birth. Before it falls off it is best to expose the stump to air to help dry out the base. Previously, parents were instructed to swab the stump with rubbing alcohol, but may doctors are advising different.
Do not put any creams, sprays, or gels on the stump unless prescribed by the doc. If you fail to take care of baby’s umbilical cord stump properly, it can lead to the stump getting infected. When handling the umbilical cord area, it is important to wash your own hands which prevents chance of germs that may cause infection.
16 Keep Baby Away From Pets
LivingAndLoving states that when your baby is young, do not allow the family cat or dog (or any cat or dog for that matter) to lick your baby’s face because this could transmit infectious material (such as feces) into the mouth or eyes of your baby.
Even if baby does not come in contact with the pets, its best that if you are playing with the dog to wash your hands afterwards before handling baby. It is crucial to never leave your baby alone with pets or near pets. It may look cute to see Fido lick your sweetie’s cheek, but it can do more harm than good.
15 Clean The Kids Toys
According to TheSpruce, toys and play area surfaces can be sources of germs swapped between toddlers, babies, and adults, sometimes transmitting illness. There are many ways to clean toys such as, putting dishwasher safe toys in the dishwasher, using soap and water, using environmentally-friendly surface cleaners and using wipes.
If the toys (such as stuffed animals or dolls) can be washed, it is best to throw them in the washer. We know that you can’t get rid of every single germ, but it is a good idea to try and clean the kid’s toys as often as possible, maybe mark it on your calendar so you don’t forget.
14 Don't Over Wash Baby
Giving the baby too many baths can be a big mistake. Too much bathing can dry out your sweetie’s skin which can be very uncomfortable. Between diaper blow outs, food stuck to baby’s skin folds, and spit up, it is understandable why parents would feel the need to constantly bathe the baby.
Time states that dry, cracked skin opens up gaps for infection, which causes germs to slip through, which means frequent bathing when your skin is already dry may increase the odds of coming down with something. Your baby does not need daily baths, but she will be okay with 3-4 baths a week.
13 Wipe Down Surfaces
It is important, for the whole family, to wipe down surfaces daily. This not only includes the counter top, kitchen table, and bathroom sink, but also the remote control and door handles as well.
This can be tedious, but it is worth it at the end of the day. Even if baby does not touch a lot of the surfaces you are cleaning, other family members do and when they touch baby after touching unclean surfaces, it can cause issues. If you do not have time to clean every day, try to make it a habit to do this every other day or so.
12 Handle Formula Milk Properly
If you formula feed your baby there are many rules to follow to ensure proper hygiene. TodaysParent states that washing your hands before preparing the bottle along with wiping down the counter or table you will be mixing it on is a great way to help keep baby safe.
It is also a good tip to check the expiration date of the formula and check for foreign particles in the can. Only use caps, rings, and bottles that have been sterilized and chuck the formula if it has been at room temp for more than 2 hours.
11 Wipe Down Baby's Gums
According to BabyCenter, it is a good idea to get into the habit of wiping your little one’s gums with a soft wet washcloth or a gauze. Bacteria in the mouth usually cannot harm the gums before teeth emerge, but it can be hard to tell when the teeth are starting to come in, so it is best to start this habit early.
When your child’s teeth appear, it is best to start brushing them twice a day with a baby toothbrush and a small amount of baby toothpaste. As adults, we need our mouth to be clean, and baby’s need the same thing.
10 Properly Clean Feeding Products
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LivingAndLoving says that it is super important to sanitize the feeding kit (including breast pump attachments) to protect your newborn from microbes that they can inject during feeding. It is also important to make sure that all bottles, spoons, and bowls are cleaned properly.
Quickly rinsing out a bottle under the water will not fully clean the bottle of any bacteria, germs, and left over milk.
Properly cleaning, drying, and storing any item that you use for your baby’s food is important for their health and safety. Of course, mom should wash her hands before handling baby’s food so that she does not pass on any yucky germs.
9 Wash Your Hands
Life is busy, and we understand you cannot live in a bubble to keep out bad germs, but it is best to try to remember to wash your hands often. Your hands can carry many germs that can seriously make baby, dad, big bro, and even yourself sick. You should wash your hands not only to eliminate bad germs, but also for cleanliness.
Washing hands before you handle baby, before you eat, and after going to the bathroom can be helpful in stopping the spread of yucky bacteria and germs that can harm you and your family. Using hand sanitizer is also a great way to get rid of those germs if you cannot make it to the sink.
8 Keep Baby's Fingernails Short
Fingernails are known to be a breeding ground for dirt, icky germs and dead skin cells, according to Famifi. Baby’s love putting their hands in their mouth, so it is important to keep those nails short and clean. It is also important to cut baby’s nails so she does not scratch herself.
You can use a nail file, nail clippers, or even an electric nail trimmer. Cutting the baby’s nails can be intimidating for many parents, but once you get the hang of it, you can make it a weekly habit. It is important for mom and dad to keep their nails healthy and clean as well.
7 Don't Under-Wash Baby
Earlier, we talked about not over-washing the baby, but it is also dangerous to under-wash her as well. Baby’s get poop, pee, spit-up, and food on them, and it is important for hygienic reasons to get baby clean. As your baby becomes more mobile, she will start picking up more germs from the surfaces of the floors and tables, so it is important that baby gets clean.
Baby should bathe every other day, or between 3 and 4 days a week. Less than that can be very unhygienic for your little one. There is no need for harsh soaps, a gentle baby cleanser will do the trick.
6 Don't Bring The Baby To Large Groups
The more people your little one is exposed to, the more likely it is that he will come in contact with someone who is sick. LivingAndLoving states that it is a good tip to not expose your baby to large groups of people before he is sick weeks old. This is especially important during cold and flu season.
If going to a crowded place (such as a mall) keeping baby in her stroller with a car seat cover on it can help protect baby from being confronted by strangers. If at a family party, make sure everyone washes their hands before touching baby and does not kiss her mouth.
5 Handle Breastmilk Properly
Breastfeeding moms should keep their nips clean as well as change their nursing pads often. When it comes to expressing milk, according to PositiveParenting, wash your hands beforehand and avoid pumping in the bathroom, toilet, kitchen or places where food is prepared. Properly clean and dry pump and bottle parts and use fresh milk within six hours.
Frozen milk should be kept in the freeze for no longer than six months and refrigerated milk should be kept in the back of the fridge for no longer than six days. Store your milk in containers meant for milk storage (specific bottles and bags) and dispose of bags after each use.
4 Wash Baby Down Between Baths
Since we know it is not good to bathe baby every day, it can be beneficial to still try and keep baby clean. Making sure you wipe down her hands, face, and neck with a washcloth is a good way to get rid of any spit up, food, or sweat. This ensures that baby is healthy and clean until the next bath day!
You can also use Johnsons Hand and Face Wipes, that are gentle on the skin, to get rid of 95% of dirt and germs. Your baby will get to a point where she touches everything, so making sure those hands are clean helps to ensure that she is healthy.
3 No Kissing Baby On The Mouth
According to YouAreMom, harmful viruses and bacteria can be transmitted to baby when mom kisses his mouth. It can be so tempting to kiss those sweet little baby lips, but it is better for mom to keep her germs to herself. Both mom and baby have bacteria and germs, and it is best to avoid kissing.
We often lick our lips to moisturize them, which results in bacteria sitting on our lips. Kissing the top of your baby’s head is a better option. Your little one does not have the defenses you have to fight off certain diseases and sicknesses.
2 Take Care Of Yourself
The first few months of a new mama’s life are crazy, and sometimes she can lose track of her own hygiene. Between the sleepless nights, tired days, constant feeding, and tending to other kiddo’s it is easy for a mama to lose herself. This can result in mom showering less, putting deodorant on and even forgetting to brush her teeth.
Mom needs to be healthy not only for herself, but for her baby. It can be helpful to take even a half an hour to yourself each day to clean yourself up. You will look better, feel better, and be cleaner.
1 Change Dirty Clothes
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Although spit up is nothing bad, it can be smelly and sticky. We know that as a new mom, changing your clothes every time baby poops, pees, or spits up on you can be tiresome. Many mama’s just take a baby wipe and wipe off the spit up on her shoulder.
It is important for mama to get out of the clothes that have her baby’s liquids all over them, at least by the end of the night. When baby spits up on herself, it is okay to wipe it off (unless it makes her drenched) but be sure to change her clothes at some point before bed time to ensure that she is clean.
Sources: Baby Center, Living and Loving, Amazon, The Spruce, You Are Mom, Time, Mayo Clinic, Mom Loves Best