thread: Baby Hygiene - Is it just me?

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Jan 2007

    Baby Hygiene - Is it just me?

    (Not sure if this is the best place to post this - please move it if you think it belongs somewhere else)

    I am finding myself freaking out a bit at the lack of hygeine people have around my DS (5 months).

    Some examples
    1. at a cafe, his aunt was letting him pat his hands on the cafe table.
    2. the same aunt let DS suck on her fingers after she had just gotten back from a run and was all sweaty and had just patted her dog!
    3. I have a blanket that I lie down at people's houses when we visit for DS to play on so that he isn't rolling about on some germy floor. When I do this at my parents place, everyone 'respects' that space and walks around the blanket, however when we visit DH's family, everyone seems to think it's fine to walk on the blanket!

    I'm getting really p!ssed off by this - I mean, why do they think I put the blanket down for?! Why do they think I bother to sterilise DS's dummy? Why do they think I use hand sanitiser before handling bub if I can't wash my hands? My family also take care to make sure they have washed their hands before cuddling bub, etc, where DH's family are happy to let DS suck on their dirty sweaty hands! eek!

    My logic tells me that if a young baby should have it's bottles, dummies, etc sterilised, surely their play space should be kept as clean as possible too - and not trampled over by shoes/feet that have also walked over goodness knows what! BUT DH seems to think I'm just a bit anal about this sort of thing!

    Anyway, what do you think? Be honest! Am I a normal mummy or am I too obsessive about hygeine around my bub??

    Also, if I am normal and right to want to keep hygeine around DS, how can I tactfully tell these people to keep off, or wash their hands, or whatever?!!

    Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your opinions and advice.

  2. #2
    Registered User

    Sep 2006
    the mulberry bush

    hello there..... sucking on anyones finger except their own, or their mum's, i reckon is a bit off for bubs... my MIL let my girl suck ice cream off her finger at about 4 months, i was mortified, not so much at the ice cream, although it annoyed me, but more about her finger - i mean if she is going to suck on anyone's finger it will be her mums!! so a yucky sweaty finger, yuck!!!! i dunno how to get around that one...!!!

    i used to be a bit funny about things like cafe tables etc too, but i think a little bit of germs is good for them, it helps build up their immune system... if we keep their world ultra sanitised then the first bug to come along will win, as their immune system won't have a chance.... for me, i rarely sterilised the dummy, just ran it under a hot tap, and after a while didn't even do that... you will find that once bubs is mobile they put all sorts of things into their mouths, and also once crawling, their hands are constantly touching the floor or carpet, and then in their mouths etc, so you can't win... im sure once he is moving about you will slowly relax, as you can't protect them from everything...

    one thing i don't like, and i guess u can't do much about it, is them sucking on or playing with other kids toys, like at mothers group. my girl had never had a day sick in her life, then played with another baby's toy and he had had a virus, then the next day she was sick - i was a bit annoyed, but not much u can do about it.

    anyways not sure if ive been much help!! sorry.

  3. #3

    Mar 2004

    Each to their own but personally I'm not too fussy about a bit of dirt.
    It's good for babies because it helps them to build up their immune system and it gives their immune system something to go to war with. It's possible that the current prevalence of allergies is partly caused by the fact that the immune system hasn't got enough germs to fight so it fights things that are harmless.
    I sterilised Yasin's dummies for a while but once he started licking the floor I no longer bothered.
    My SIL is a scientist and she did her PhD thesis about immune systems and she's pretty much got the same philosophy as me about germs.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Feb 2006
    NSW Central Coast

    When DD was born, I made sure people washed hands etc to touch her, but now I don't worry so much about germs, especially now DD is getting about. She'll suck on anything and has a fetish for feet and shoes... Though this habit I do really try to stop her doing, but babies will be babies. My mum is fanatical about things being sterile and washes everything before DD uses it, but I don't anymore. I don't do her dummies anymore, just wash them in hot soapy water once a day or if they fall onto an obviously dirty surface. Though her sucking on other peoples fingers is a bit too far for me too. I only put my fingers in her mouth to check her teeth! Mum said when she had my brother she was fanatical (even more so!) about cleaning and bleached everything- floors, toys...every day, then he got really sick with gastro and ended up in hospital because he had no immunity to germs from everything being so sterile at home. Sometimes, people can go to far! That goes either way though...LOL!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Add Kazbah on Facebook Follow Kazbah On Twitter

    Sep 2006
    Dandy Ranges ;)

    I think that walking on the blanket is rude, I'd be tempted to just ask please not to!
    As for sucking fingers with dogs etc, well DS I found sucking my dog's tail yesterday, (doh) and eating my uggs. (ugh!!!!!!! gross!)

    I do think a little bit of germs are good, but in moderation, and something that I know is kept relatively clean - a cafe is a bit too much, don't know enough of who was at that table before, or even if it was clean!

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jun 2005
    Blue Mountains

    We just follow general hygiene rules (washing hands, washing dummies etc), nothing special for bubs hehe. No sterilising or anything here.

    I agree tho, that sucking on someone elses fingers is gross! And washing hands after touching a dog - well, shouldn't this be done anyway? not just with regards to bubs?

    But if it's upsetting you, definitely say something. I don't think it's rude at all to just politely say can you please wash your hands first. Or please don't step on the blanket.

  7. #7
    Registered User

    May 2007

    I think what you are doing is a little over the top. What will you do when bub starts to crawl??
    My DS sucks on shoes etc. I didnt want him sucking on toys at mothers group either but when he started to crawl that ment I had to stop him from playing with things he really wanted to play with, how mean of me!!
    Other peoples fingers in your bubs mouth, however, I think is rude. My FIL did this and he sucked his fingers before hand, Im guessing to "clean" them then felt around DS mouth for teeth, that made me furious. I didnt say anything though.
    Public tables, thats a bit over the top but if you are worried you can buy anti bacterial wipes. My sis buys them and wipes shopping trollies with them before her DS gets in them. It will make you feel better about bub touching things anyway.
    My DS has only been sick twice and he is now 9 1/2 months and he doesnt have anything sterilised.
    It seems that if you get sick, baby gets sick and if baby gets sick you get sick.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    Sucking someone else's fingers is a bit yuck to me & also trampling on bub's blanket is not on. Cafe tables & dirt, meh no big deal to me.

  9. #9
    2013 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Apr 2006
    Winter is coming

    Are you supposed to wash your hands before touching babies? I hadn't heard of that. My bub sucks on my fingers all the time. I don't wash my hands specifically after patting the dog, I don't imagine she carries any life threatening germs on her and it would seem a bit pointless since she licks his face (which he finds funny).

    He sucks on anyones finger, if someone leaves a finger lurking near his face he will attack it. The boy is obsessed with fingers.

    I agree with Dachlostar, a bit of dirt and grime is good for them.
    Last edited by Artechim; December 11th, 2007 at 08:04 AM.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Nov 2004
    Chasing Daylight...

    Hi NelleBelle

    WRT bottles and sterilising.... the general school of thought amongst midwives seems to be that sterilising is unnecessary. The two hospitals I was in washed their bottles in hot soapy water and left them to air dry. So no sterilising there.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Jul 2006

    Some will say you can stop sterilising bottles after 6 months, some say 12 months, some say don't bother with it at all. Each to their own I say, you have to do what you're comfortable with.

    However, the point of sterilising bottles is not that you need to sterilise everything that goes in their mouth. Formula will have all sorts bacteria in it if it's left out long enough. That's why it's suggested to sterilise bottles used for formula, but not for bottles used for EBM.

  12. #12
    Registered User

    Jan 2007

    Thanks for your responses ladies!

    It's fascinating... seems I might perhaps be being a little too obsessive. Or maybe not! Some of you think cafe tables are fine, but fingers aren't; and others think fingers are fine but cafe tables aren't! So I guess it's one of those every mum for themselves types of things!

    I do appreciate that bubs do need contact with germs to build up their immune systems, but I figured that if you are supposed to sterilise bottles, etc when they're very little, then it made sense to try and keep their environment pretty clean too.

    Does anyone know what age you normally stop sterilising stuff (bottles, etc)??? I've never used bottles with bub so I'm not too familiar with the usual standards, but I figure that will give an indication of when babies systems are better able to cope with non-sterile stuff. IYKWIM

    And just one other thing... what about other people letting your bub put their fingers (bub's fingers) in their (the other person's) mouths? Any thoughts on that one? A friend of my dad's let DS put DS's fingers in his mouth and I was a little horrified - but I don't mind if it is his own or DH's or my mouth he shoves them into.

    Thanks again!

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Jan 2007

    Thanks Janie and MistyFying. (your responses seem to appear on the page before I asked the question which is a little strange!)

    I had no idea that sterilising bottles wasn't essential, and that it is only really recommended when using formula. I had just assumed that little babies were really sensitive to germs or something. I guess I can chill out a little! DH will be pleased!

    Thanks again!!

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Add Kazbah on Facebook Follow Kazbah On Twitter

    Sep 2006
    Dandy Ranges ;)

    Nelle, I generally find once Pip scratches someone's face, they keep his hands away themselves! But he doesn't get held by that many people to be honest, as our families aren't very close (geographically) to us.

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Jan 2007

    Good point Kazbah. DS's little claws can get a bit ouchy.. with all the grabbing and pinching and scratching!!

    I'm actually in the same boat as you - I live a couple of states away from all our rellies and DS doesn't usually come in contact with too many people. Now that we are up in QLD visiting everyone over the holidays, DS has suddenly come in to contact with heaps of people.... probably why I've suddenly got so neurotic about all this!
    Last edited by bubbaloo; December 11th, 2007 at 06:01 PM. : goof

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Follow Pandora On Twitter

    Jan 2005

    I think sterlising bottles was to do with the chemicals in the formula, which is i think why EBM bottles dont need to be sterilised.

    I took a blanket for DS to lie down on when we went places too, and of all of the things on your list thats the one that annoys me the most. Its obviously you have put it down for a reason so i think its rude of someone to walk all over it.

    the thought of someone patting an animal and not washing their hands afterwards makes my stomach turn, but everything else I could take or leave.

  17. #17
    Registered User

    Jul 2007
    Over the rainbow

    My bub was a prem, so in the begining I did not let anyone hold her before their hands was not washed, I sterilized EVERYTHING and I kept her away from sick ppl and public places. As she grew, I started to relax more and more. I stopped sterilizing her bottles when she started crawling. I just figured that the germs on the floor is worse than what could be left after hot, soapy water. and BB helped me realize that!!
    At the moment she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth - other ppl's fingers, carkeys, shoes, trash (if she gets to the bin before me)
    The one thing I am still very tatty about is pets. When and if she catch the cat, I will wipe her hands and I do not let the dog lick her or let she lick the dog. That is still a no-go zone for me.

  18. #18
    Registered User

    Oct 2004

    To be honest, I am pretty lax on some hygiene things...

    I dont mind Claire patting her hands on a table in a cafe.. but if the table is visibly filthy then I'll ask them to clean the table for me. OR sometimes I'll just wipe it down with a wipe so its a bit cleaner.

    She sucks on my fingers. Not often, but she still does it sometimes. I do wash my hands after patting an animal - you dont know what they have rolled in! I havent really thought about her sucking someone elses fingers. I am not too sure about that only because some people are just feral. I dont think I lke the idea of her putting her fingers in someone elses mouth. She'll then go and suck on her own fingers and I dont know if the other person is sick or has some kind of evil contagious gum disease (if there even is such a thing?)

    She is breastfed although she will have the occasionl bottle of EBM if I am out for a while. I usually just wash her bottles in hot soapy water, rather than sterilising them.

    I dont clean my floors every day. And I dont bleach anything. Occasionaly I may use some disinfectant on my kitchen or bathroom floors but usually I just clean with boiling water or a steam mop. She gets into everything and LOVES bins (dirty child!!) but I do keep her away from bins. I just dont understand her facination with bins but that is one thing that is way to gross for her to go near!


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