Do your visitors need to wash their hands before touching your baby? Should you buy stock in hand sanitizer? Read these 8 dos and donâ€™ts for keeping baby healthy to find out!
Long before I had kids, I observed an acquaintance introducing her baby to a group of people. She had a bottle of hand sanitizer and asked that everyone use it before touching the baby. At the time, I thought it was a little over the top, but shortly after having my first child, I realized what a genius my acquaintance was!
One of our readers finds herself similarly concerned and recently wrote in to mention that sheâ€™s concerned about her babyâ€™s hygiene. She wonders if itâ€™s important to ask all visitors to wash their hands prior to touching the baby.
My answer on most things â€œbabyâ€ is that if itâ€™s important to the mom or dad, thatâ€™s the only answer you need. Keeping your baby as healthy as possible in those first months is important, so hereâ€™s a list of Dos and Donâ€™ts to keep in mind when it comes to your babyâ€™s hygiene (and that of other people around your baby).
Visitor Do’s and Don’ts for a healthy baby
- DO ask anyone who intends to touch your baby to wash their hands first. This is common courtesy, if you ask me, so anyone who is offended by it probably shouldnâ€™t be touching your baby anyway.
- DONâ€™T be afraid to ask anyone who is near your baby frequently to get a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. Even if you choose to vaccinate your child and follow the recommended schedule, he or she wonâ€™t be fully vaccinated until the 5th dose at between 4 and 6 years of age.
- DO carry a receiving blanket with you when you go out to the store to cover the top of the carrier. No matter where you go and what you do, some stranger will walk up to look at your baby and try to touch her. And sorry stranger, but I donâ€™t know where that finger has been. The blanket will deter touching.
- DONâ€™T use hand sanitizer on your baby, and if someone uses hand sanitizer before they touch your baby, make sure it has time to dry. Your babyâ€™s skin is very thin and easily absorbs the alcohol in the sanitizer.
- DO change your babyâ€™s clothing and/or give him a bath after youâ€™ve been around a lot of people. It never hurts to wash off any germs that could be lingering!
- DONâ€™T play pass the baby. My sisterâ€™s baby shower was only 2 weeks after my daughter was born. My rule was simple â€“ I was the only one who held her during the shower. She was much too young and much too little for me to worry about her catching something!
- DO trust your instincts. You are the parent, and you get to decide what makes you comfortable and what doesnâ€™t. Did people probably think, â€œOh, sheâ€™s just a new mom and sheâ€™s uptightâ€ when I wouldnâ€™t let them hold my 2-week-old baby? Sure. Did I care? Nope. I did what I felt was right.
- DONâ€™T be afraid to call the doctor or make an appointment even if your baby has the sniffles. If youâ€™re worried, itâ€™s never a bad idea to call or go see the doctor.
You may roll your eyes at some (or all) of this list, or you may think, â€œthank goodness, someone understands!â€ Whatever your reaction, right on! Parenting is not easy, and we need to do what we believe is right for our babies.