If you're a first-time mom or dad, you can bet that germs are going to be your number one enemy the second your bundle of joy pops out of the oven. For seasoned parents, depending on how 'germaphobic' you were with your first, the severity of it tends to decrease and you start letting things slide (because let's be honest... no one with more than one kid has the time or energy to sterilize that pacifier after it hits the floor for the 18th time that day).
Don't get us wrong- first-time parents do have a reason to be overly protective and concerned about seemingly harmless microbes. After all, a baby's immune system doesn't really get in gear until around six months of age. That being said, there are ways to kick-start your baby's immunity without taking them to the indoor ball-pit and exposing them to very harmful and potentially deadly viruses.
The number one aid in immune development, aside from getting sick, is breastmilk. Breastmilk responds to your baby's needs and provides your baby with immune cells from your body that they wouldn't otherwise get. Now, we know not every mom can or wants to breastfeed and that's OK too. Just because you don't breastfeed, doesn't automatically mean your baby is set for a life of illness, but breast milk does help protect your infant, especially early on.
When it comes to what's safe for a baby under six-months-old, it's really at your discretion. You know your environment and which areas of your home present less of a threat. Picking up a teething toy and letting your baby chew on it after it was on the floor of the nursery, for example, is very different than if it were laying on the welcome mat where everyone wipes their shoes.
Another thing to remember is that you want your baby in a clean environment but not a sterile environment. Exposing your baby to germs is important in developing an immune system but that doesn't mean they need to get sick in order for that to happen. A lot of microbes are good and a vital part of proper development so before you lather your house in Lysol, differentiate between which areas are more likely to carry the bad ones (i.e. doorknobs, bathrooms, garbage cans, etc.) and which would be okay.
Keeping your infant away from harmful bacteria and viruses can be hard and you're considered lucky if you can make it to the six-month mark before your baby gets sick. Sometimes it's also hard when you know what's safe for your baby but others don't agree, but don't be scared to stand up for your baby's health. You know what's best for your baby.