Getting Ready For Your Baby
Concentrate on cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, and make them a top priority from now on. Your infant won't spend a lot of time in these areas, but older family members and guests will. They can pick up germs there and then spread them to your baby.
Preparing last night's chicken dinner could have contaminated the sink with salmonella or campylobacter bacteria, or both, which 80 to 100 percent of all poultry contain. Either can cause food poisoning. In addition, some germs that cause colds, viruses, and flu can survive on counters and other surfaces for days.
Clean counters and sinks often with germicidal cleaners, like powder with bleach, especially after you've made a meal. And follow these steps.
- Use separate cutting boards for meats and produce, or wash your board (and knife) well in between.
- Wash up thoroughly after each step of meal prep.
- Wash sponges in the dishwasher, then let them dry, or microwave them, moist, for one to two minutes.
- Mop the kitchen floor with a sanitizing cleaner whenever it's dirty.
- Keep areas where baby-feeding equipment will be stored scrupulously clean.
Washing the washroom
The bathroom is another breeding ground for germs, for obvious reasons. Plus, its warm and moist conditions allow many bugs to thrive.
- Disinfect the toilet bowl and seat every week with a commercial disinfectant or with bleach and water.
- Close the lid before you flush. Flushing propels droplets of dirty water up to 20 feet, hitting the tub, sinks--and toothbrushes.
- Soak sponges and loofahs in a water-bleach solution every week, then rinse them and let them dry.
- Rinse off toothbrushes and razors after each use, and let them air-dry.
- Change towels often, and wash them in hot water. Add bleach, if possible (test for colorfastness).
Your baby's nursery should be as clean as possible. "If you'll be using a secondhand crib, inspect the mattress for tears. Germs, including bacteria that can cause blood infections and pneumonia, can congregate there," Rearick says. Better still, buy a new mattress. In addition:
- Wipe down the crib, furniture, and other surfaces with soap and water.
- Ideally, keep the floor bare--coverings trap germs. Area rugs are easier to clean than carpeting.
- Avoid heavy drapes, which can also house germs, or clean them often.
All around the house
The rest of your home needs careful attention too.
- Vacuum floors, curtains, and upholstery regularly to keep dust mites and other allergy- and illness-causing contaminants in check. Use a vacuum that's equipped with an air filter.
- Clean frequently handled items, like telephones and doorknobs, with an antiseptic spray or an alcohol wipe (or at least a clean wet wipe) every week, and after someone with an illness has used them.
- Have separate shoes for indoor and outdoor use.