That's the kind of message society tends to shove down people's throats nowadays. Admittedly, health standards have improved in this day and age, but sometimes it feels as if it is being taken to ridiculous extremes.
Being exposed to certain germs and bacteria is actually healthy, to allow us to build a stronger immune system. Living in a bubble-wrapped world takes its toll on our health in that aspect.
As you know by know, if you've been reading the blog, I am one for recycling as much as possible when it comes to baby stuff - by making use of 2nd hand goods as often as I can. This means one thing though- someone else's poopy baby has used that item of clothing/furniture/toy. So, how to clean it all - especially non-machine washable stuff?
Cleaning is not enough - you actually have to disinfect and sterilise to the best of your domestic capabilities.
The best advice I have come across so far when it comes to non-machine washable items such as prams, push chairs, cots, and toys, is this: White Vinegar. Surprisingly enough, Vinegar should be your number 1 best friend. Clicky here, and you'll see why.
It is a fairly simple process really- all you need is:
- White vinegar
- Hot water
- Clean spray bottle
- Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment/ Lint roller.
Some websites recommend the use of a few drops of Lemon or Tea Tree Essential Oils - however they might be too harsh for your baby's delicate skin -especially if you don't know how to properly use them.
There are other methods I've come across, but the above seems to be the simplest and most cost effective one of them all. For other examples on how to clean 2nd hand items, you can clicky here. Also, clicky here for some guidelines on how to clean fabric items which cannot be machine washed [such as the uber-padded bits of car seats, the cloth insides of Baby's bed]
Anything non-plastic, non-metal, and non-fabric [i.e. wooden, wicker etc] needs to be cleaned slightly differently. The good news is that there are quite a few products that can be store-bought - and they don't have to be different from the products you use on your non-baby items! Here is a brief guide on the cleaning & disinfecting process.
One extremely popular brand of disinfectant is Milton. I came across the name several times whilst Googling - and when I mentioned to my mum I needed to clean the pram and car seats, she immediately said "Milton." as well - so there must be something to it. Here is a link that explains how this alleged wonder-product can be used.
The most important point I would like to make though is when it comes to washing liquids - be it shower gels, shampoos, or clothes detergents. Make sure you go for specially designed brands whenever you can - simply using something which is "suitable for sensitive skin" isn't enough. My being a "hippie" variant means I try to go for as much organic and non-animal tested and vegetarian-friendly products as possible. Knowing that there is a chance Creature will have extremely sensitive skin due to it being the case in other relatives means that I would like to minimise the chances of contributing to his/her having reactions to these detergents.
One brand I quite liked whilst shopping around is Earth Friendly Baby - which hits the mark on all aspects of my check-list. I will try and remember to let you know what the results were once I actually start using the products. I've come across some pretty good reviews though. Fingers crossed!
To conclude - when it comes to washing your baby - at first a daily bath is not necessary. Unless there has been a Nappy Explosion. Until their umbilical cord stub falls off, you can just give Baby a sponge bath. It is important to keep the umbilical cord stub as dry as possible to prevent the risks of infection. You can either get a Tops 'n Tails bowl, or a small basin, to help you with the sponge bath process. Once you're ready to give Baby his/her first proper bath, ideally, you should have someone with experience with you. Slippery Baby is Slippery. One gadget a friend of mine swears by is a Bath Support. She says it makes her life much easier,especially when she has to bathe Baby on her own. More on this another time though. In the meanwhile, happy cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilising!