You have lots to plan for your baby’s arrival. Top of your baby checklist will be choosing a name, shopping for baby essentials, and decorating the nursery. But what about protecting your new baby from germs and bacteria once they’re settling in at home?
Strategies for visitors
“There are two primary rules you should stick to when people come round to see your new baby,” says Dr Kgosi Letlape, member of the Global Hygiene Council and Dettol goodwill ambassador.
- They must wash their hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap before touching the baby.
- The visitor shouldn’t see the baby if they have a cold or other illness/symptoms, or if they could be contagious (for example, if someone in their own home is sick). Don’t be embarrassed to ask that they wait until they’re better.
Good hygiene for a clean nursery
“When your baby first comes home, until their natural immunity has developed, it’s important that everything they come into contact with is hygienically clean,” says Dr Letlape. This means making sure surfaces are cleaned (with soap and water) and also disinfected (using a sanitising wipe or disinfectant spray) to properly kill germs.
Tips for a hygienically clean nursery space:
- Remember to wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap after cleaning and disinfecting, and especially before touching your baby again.
- Make sure your changing mat is waterproof so it can be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Choose a cot that is easy to wipe clean if your baby is sick.
Taking baby out
“Always remember to wash your hands before touching your baby, and don’t be embarrassed to ask others to do so too,” advises Dr Letlape. “Always keep a hand sanitiser in your bag in case you don’t have access to soap and water and avoid contact with people who are ill, especially if they’ve had a tummy upset in the past 48 hours as this can really harm a newborn,” he says.
Always clean and disinfect nappy changing surfaces and any other surface that you may have contaminated after a nappy change, and pack your baby bag to include the things you need for on-the-go feeding and nappy changing.
Some supplies to always have in your baby bag:
- Personal disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitiser so you can kill the germs on your hands when you don’t have access to soap and water
- A bag for dirty nappies
“Finally… don’t be afraid to say no to those who ask to hold your baby!” says Dr Letlape.