Preparing for a new addition to your family is a process both necessary and intensive. You must install child locks on the cabinet doors, put hazardous materials out of reach, paint and furnish the nursery, all the while with an ever-expanding waistline for mom! Cleaning your home from top to bottom is just as important as stocking up on diapers. Do it early enough so that you don’t endanger mom’s health or the baby’s, and hire a professional service if it helps you relax. Try to complete these cleaning steps in advance, invaluable to ensuring a safe, clean homecoming for your bundle of joy.
• Remove all pet dander, dust, and allergens. Newborns don’t yet have fully formed immune systems, so take the initiative to kill as many homegrown allergens as possible. Vacuum all carpeted floors and do a thorough dusting, especially in those dark corners and hard-to-reach ledges were dust bunnies love to hide.
• If possible, remove curtains and drapes-the primary home dust collectors. If only in one room of your house, at least replace these in the nursery with blinds – they dust easily.
• Clean and disinfect all the surfaces where tiny baby hands tend to grab. The television remote may look harmless but actually teems with germs that could cause illness. Use a non-toxic wipe or homemade cleaner to effectively remove up to 99.9% of germs in danger zones like the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen, food-born illnesses always pose a risk, especially for newborns. Make sure all surfaces stay “so clean you could eat off them,” as food tends to touch these surfaces anyways.
• Place soap, water, and clean hand towels at all the sinks in your home for guests to wash their hands before holding your newborn. No matter how awkward, enforce this rule, especially for young children, who carry a lot of germs. Make sure that every visitor washes their hands for at least 30 seconds before cradling the baby. Everyone, especially mom, remember to wash your hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, or preparing food for yourself or the baby. New moms, keep in mind that your child will quickly become used to the germs that naturally live on your body.
• In the changing table drawers, keep a hand stash of cleaning products in addition to a generous supply of diapers. You’ll want to clean the table after each change with a disinfecting wipe or homemade spray. You can use these products on other areas in the nursery, like the crib, where the baby will inevitably put his or her mouth on the bars and tiny hands on the railing.
• Keep all feeding items clean, especially before the first use, and ideally after every use. Boil brand new bottle nipples in hot water, and throw out old pacifiers and nipples that are cracked or stained. Instead of using a harmful chemical like bleach to disinfect baby products, simply soak the bottles, nipples, and breast pump attachments in water mixed with baking soda. Or, put the used feeding items through a dishwasher cycle-the high heat will zap most of the lingering germs. Make sure to very carefully dry the items, as bacteria love moisture.
• Get and stay organized. Vigilant and constant organization is the key to managing a new baby and a clean home. Have a designated spot for everything-formula, diapers, medicine, disinfectants-and return everything to the proper place immediately after using and cleaning. Implement an organization system and stick to it in every room of the house, especially in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the nursery. You’ll save yourself time and energy if you clean as you go, plus, you’ll keep germs perpetually at a minimum.
Mom, listen up. First and foremost, you must remain rested and healthy to tend for your newborn. As hard as it may seem, put yourself first and get some sleep so you can be the best parent possible that your child deserves. It’s also important to mention that it’s possible to have too clean a home. Studies show that some children with asthma and allergies didn’t develop immunities because of overly antiseptic homes. So, just use common sense and don’t drive yourself crazy. That’s the baby’s job.