You have your first baby—congratulations! As a new mom, you need to take special care, not just your baby’s but also your own cleanliness and hygiene in order to ensure his or her wellbeing. Your baby’s health depends a lot on your health. Remember: healthy mom equals a healthy baby.
If you are not healthy and hygienic, think about the possible effects that it could bring to your beautiful baby’s health. Essentially, taking care of your personal hygiene should start right from your pregnancy.
Adjustments to Motherhood
As a new mom, you will face challenges in adjusting to your everyday life after giving birth to your baby. Although it’s important to care for your baby, you also have to take care of yourself.
Most new mothers don’t return to work for at least the first six weeks after birth. This allows time to give tired parents to adapt and develop a new normal. Since a baby has to be fed and changed often, you may face sleepless nights. Even nestling in your cozy sofa, it can be frustrating and tiresome. Hence, consider using a sleep calculator to plan your sleep routine with your baby and still have a good night’s sleep.
In the meantime, here’s what new moms do to keep themselves clean:
Always wash your hands
Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Proper handwashing at proper intervals is the best way to keep the bacteria spreading around your house. Also, this will prevent you from getting diseases as well as keeping your baby away from sicknesses like cold, flu, or stomach infections.
According to a research among new mothers, handwashing was rare, especially before preparing food and eating. Come to think of it, and you are feeding your baby with unclean hands. Isn’t that scary? Having your hands are contaminated with bacteria that can greatly affect your baby’s health-or worse, it can lead to death.
When water and soap are not available, and hands are not visibly dirty, you can use hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Keep sanitizers out of the reach of children because they may be harmful if swallowed.
When to wash your hands
Always wash your hands:
- before breast or feeding
- after changing your baby’s diapers
- after contact with blood or other body fluids (vomit, mucus, saliva)
- before picking up or playing with your baby
Always wash your hands:
- before you eat
- before and after changing maternity or sanitary products
- before giving or taking medicine
- before and after you use the toilet
- after cleaning your organic mattress
- after handling animals or their food, toys, leashes, or waste
- after touching anything like your bedroom rugs
- whenever your hands look dirty
2. Change your nursing bra daily
The rule-of-thumb for new mothers for using nursing bra: make sure that you’re changing your nursing bra daily. Nursing bras tend to get dirty faster and festers bacterial growth than regular bras. Since you’re breastfeeding, you don’t want to take any risks- it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re changing it twice or thrice a day, you do not need aggressively clean your nursing bra. However, if your bra label has specific instructions on cleaning, carefully follow them.
3. Avoid using scented soaps, lotions, and alcohol
Even though it’s not necessary to clean and wash your nipples after each feed, you can rinse them with warm water and a clean towel after every three feeds if you feel the need to do so. It is still best to wash them once a day when you shower.
Although breastfeeding may bring delight to new moms, it may also bring some painful side effects. You may find a solution from nipple cream or lotions to the struggles of your sore and sensitive nipples.
However, avoid using scented shower gels, lotions, and soaps. When you do wash your nipples, avoid using scented soaps and shower gels. Don’t use wet wipes that contain alcohol too. These products can make your skin dry, damaged, and cracked, making it difficult to breastfeed. Instead, use natural, herbal soaps, or a gentle, unscented body wash.
4. Keep your breast pump clean after every use
As you start with breastfeeding, rub a small amount of breast milk into your nipples as you are done with feeding. Allow your nipples to breathe. Give as much air as possible to your nipples. The release of this fluid often leads to damp and itchy breasts. Thus, it becomes necessary to keep your breasts and areas around it clean.
Aside from your breast, the equipment you are using for breastfeeding need care too —your breast pump. When it comes to cleaning your breast pump, there shouldn’t be any kind of sharing of cleaning equipment. This means you do not use the brush or sponge that you use to wash kitchen dishes, or other children’s bottles, to clean your breast pump accessories.
If possible, have a dedicated wash basin for washing your pump parts. The regular kitchen sink may have a host of germs lurking around unbeknownst to you! This is another crucial breastfeeding hygiene tip you should keep in mind.
To be extra safe — for you can never be too safe when it comes to your baby — boil or steam the parts.
5. Change sheets regularly
Since newborn babies have weaker immune systems, they are vulnerable to acquiring infections easily from unclean surroundings. Prolonged exposure to bed sheets that become a hotbed for germs is extremely dangerous to their health and wellness.
In order to protect the place where your baby rests his or her head every night, make sure you change your bed sheets once in a few days or more often if there is an overflow of the diaper into the bed. This will prevent build up in your baby’s bed.
Also, make sure to wash their sheets at least once a week and a little antiseptic liquid in the rinse cycle.
Initially, you can vacuum both sides of the mattress and underneath it to scoop up any loose debris. If the baby’s mattress is waterproof, just wipe down with a baby wipe. If it isn’t waterproof, mix ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, ¾ cup water, and ½ tsp. dish soap. Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and wipe down the mattress. Then, wash all the sheets and blankets.
If you have furniture that is too dirty even to try cleaning, you might want to check out products from Resident Home to give your home a much needed, modern makeover.
Keep in mind
Throughout your journey as a new mother, one of the most important tasks to prioritize is to keep good hygiene.
Always remember that the health of your baby depends on your health. Hence, you will be breastfeeding a lot and to keep you and your baby healthy. It’s a chance for you to form a strong bond with your newborn and spend quality time with them.
With such simple ways of maintaining proper hygiene, you can prevent infections in both, you and your baby.