- Wash all of your baby's toys before you give them to your child. For the first year of his/her life, everything is going to go straight to the mouth. Give toys a gentle bath in warm, soapy water. Imagine all the hands that handled the toy in the store before you received it.
- There is nothing wrong with asking visitors to wash their hands before handling your child. A newborn's immune system is still developing during the first several months of life. It's sometimes helpful to carry around hand-sanitizer in your diaper bag for this very reason. You don't have to be rude, simply say "hey, would you like some hand sanitizer?" Very few people will say no.
- Invest in a "Kind Sign." When my little one was born, I didn't mind friends or family handling the baby, but I was seriously bothered when complete strangers would come up and touch and kiss my baby. I had NO idea what germs they carried, and didn't appreciate them invading my child's space. I now own a kind sign that says "Your germs are bigger than I am, please wash your hands before touching mine." The signs easily attach to infant car seat carriers.
- There are many cute infant carrier covers on the market these days. I always liked to cover my child when we were in public places, especially Wal-Mart during flu season. It helps create a calm environment for the child and protects from stray coughs and sneezes.
- I loved microwavable sterilizer bags. I used them for bottles, pacifiers, and my breast pump equipment. add a little bit of water to the bag and place it in the microwave. The steam helps to kill the germs on your baby's items.
- Be mindful of what chemicals you are introducing into your baby's environment. I have been trying more and more to use natural materials when I clean my home. It's amazing how many things you can clean with baking soda and vinegar.
- Clean the hard surfaces of the nursery before the baby arrives. It will help cut down on dust and eliminate any potential fungus or germs lingering on the surface. Read your crib's manufacturer's instructions for tips on how to properly clean and maintain your child's bed.
- I am a baby-wearing mom. I always recommend that new moms invest in a comfortable baby carrier that fits their lifestyle. I wore a Moby Wrap with my first one, and it was a life saver. It enables your baby to feel safe, snug and secure, while still enabling you to get things done around the house.
- A little bit off subject, but I definitely recommend that you practice adjusting the straps on your infant car seat. We made the mistake of not looking into it before we were ready to head home from the hospital. We spent about ten minutes in the hospital parking lot trying to figure out how to loosen and tighten the straps. It will make the whole "going home" process a lot easier if you've had a trial run.
- I know it's off the subject of "germs" but one of the BEST tips for a new mom would be to accept ANY help that is offered. You will never be more exhausted, more hormonally all over the place than you are during those first weeks of life. If someone offers to pick up some groceries, drop your pride and let them.
You can do it. It may feel daunting at times. After all, it's the most precious thing you'll probably bring home. It's a lot of common sense and a lot of practical advice. Never be afraid to call a girlfriend or a mom. We're here as women to support and encourage one another in the mothering process. Kiss that baby and cherish every moment.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.