The first steps
As your baby grows, they will begin to explore the world around them and be ready for their first new experiences. They will begin to grasp objects, learn to roll over and will spend less time asleep.
As you help them through these developmental stages, it is important to remember that their immune system is still very immature and you must maintain the sterilisation practices you adopted during their first few weeks.
As they grow and become more active, you will find that your baby needs more than just milk.
Depending on your baby, weaning – the introduction of solid foods – can start anytime from 4-6 months. With weaning comes new demands for hygiene.
The importance of sterilising
Whereas you may have previously only needed to sterilise breast feeding equipment, bottles, soothers and teething rings, now there will be a whole range of utensils that could be potential breeding grounds for bacteria!
One of the most common mistakes made by parents is to stop sterilising baby’s feeding utensils at a time when they are at their highest risk of infection.
At six months, your baby’s natural immunity is at its lowest, so rather than relaxing your hygiene programme, it’s important to be even more careful about cleaning and sterilising everything they could potentially put in their mouths.
As soon as weaning starts, all cups, bowls, plates and spoons should be sterilised in the same way as breast pumps or bottles.
Make sure that feeding utensils fit properly and fully into the steriliser or Sterilising Unit.
If you use Milton, everything should be fully covered with the fluid and the lid should fit firmly. If necessary, you may have to buy a larger unit (such as the Milton Sterilising Unit) when your baby moves onto solids.
As your baby’s teeth come through, they will also bite onto spoons and cups. Deep scratches in hard plastic bowls, spouts and spoons will harbour bacteria. Clean them thoroughly before sterilising to remove all food deposits and replace them when they become too old.
Soothers and Teethers
Your baby will soon begin to cut their first teeth and will use any object at hand to bite on, to help them come through their gums.
Try to provide teethers that can be easily cleaned and keep several washed and in the steriliser ready to use.
Replace baby’s teethers with sterile ones at regular intervals.
In the first months of life, a baby uses their mouth to explore the world. The sensory functions of the tongue and roof of the mouth are more advanced than their hands, and so when faced with something new, they automatically put it in their mouth. Of course, it’s not possible to keep everything germ free, but you can make sure that toys are cleaned regularly and don’t forget:
- Bath toys
- Bath mats
- Pram rattles
As soon as your baby begins to crawl and eventually walk, this opens up a whole new world of opportunities to explore.
Unfortunately, often the most interesting places are the dog bowl and the rubbish bin, so once again you will need to re-think your hygiene routine.
It’s still important to sterilise
The claim that ‘once they start crawling across the floor, there’s no longer any point in sterilising everything’ is untrue.
The fact is, your child’s immunity remains weak for the first twelve months of life and it takes a much smaller number of bacteria to affect a baby than an adult.
They may be on the move and into everything, but unfortunately that just means that you have to work harder to keep them safe and protected from harmful germs.
Up until the age of one year, you should still be sterilising all feeding utensils, including bowls, spoons and beakers. But you will now have to think a little further to keep other hazards at bay. This is where Milton products can really help to tackle the hotspots in the kitchen, nursery and bathroom where bacteria are lurking.
Pay particular attention to the following kitchen hotspots;
Rubbish bins – these should be regularly emptied and cleaned using a Milton solution.
Dog bowls and litter trays – many bacteria such as Campylobacter are passed on from animal faeces so keep these out of baby’s reach. You should clean these items each day.
The floor – especially where food remnants can be found; around the table, sink and fridge.
As your child progresses on to toddler foods, take extra care when handling and preparing food.
It goes without saying that hands should be washed before handling food and use a solution of Milton Fluid or Milton Antibacterial Surface Spray to clean surfaces before and after food preparation to prevent contamination by germs from raw foods, particularly milk and protein.
Keep the fridge temperature between 1°C and 4°C and use a solution of Milton or Milton Antibacterial Surface Spray to clean the shelves – it won’t taint or affect the food in any way.
Poor toilet hygiene is a major contributor to cases of food poisoning so it goes without saying that you should be more careful than ever with a young baby in the house.
Good hand washing is an absolute MUST and you must also make sure that toilets are kept as clean as possible using disinfectants.
When you begin potty training your baby, you will need to ensure that the potty is kept as clean as possible. You will find that your baby is quite fascinated with it and wants to handle it and carry it around!
Clean it with a Milton solution regularly and pay attention to the handle!
Wash your baby’s hands for them each time they touch the potty – their fingers will soon go straight into their mouth again.