As people adopt social distancing measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, every mom should know that newborns are most prone to infections as their immune system is still developing, and hence, they should be protected from infection-causing germs and bacteria.
Simple tips like washing your hands before feeding your baby, after changing a nappy, after touching pets or any surface and not mixing baby's clothes with that of any adult's can go a long way in protecting your baby from infections, health experts said.
These measures need to be followed every day, not just during the period of pandemic.
"Hygiene plays a key role in keeping your baby healthy. It reduces the chance of your baby falling ill due to the germs and virus she is exposed to every day. So, to ensure baby's safety, parents should maintain good hygiene, especially mothers, since the baby spends a lot of time with her," said Dr. Prathibha Babshet, Ayurveda expert, The Himalaya Drug Company.
Your hands carry germs and bacteria that most often cause common cold, flu, and other infections.
Washing your hands properly and regularly for a minimum of 20 seconds with water and soap is essential to remove harmful bacteria and germs, Dr. Prathibha said.
It is equally important to encourage your toddler to wash hands. Keep a sanitizer with you at all times, just in case you do not have the option to wash your hands, she said.
While your baby is playing, crawling, or running, she comes in contact with floor surfaces and almost everything in the house. This exposes her to all kinds of bacteria. Therefore, make sure to clean surfaces with disinfectants, the Ayurveda expert advised.
New mothers should also remember that it is natural for your baby to create a mess while crawling, playing, or eating.
A good bath is necessary to keep your baby clean and tidy. Make sure you replace your baby's bath towel every 3-4 months, she said, adding that it is equally important for the mother to maintain basic hygiene, which will prevent germs from passing on to the baby.
As baby's clothes and diapers get soiled every other hour, make sure you change the diaper every 2-3 hours and clean or wipe the baby's bottom also.
Wash your baby's clothes regularly and keep them sanitised. Be sure not to mix baby clothes with yours or any adult's, since germs can be transmitted from those to your baby's clothes.
You can opt for a baby laundry detergent which is effective and gentle on baby's clothes and formulated with naturally derived cleansing agents, herbs with antibacterial properties, and is free from phosphorous, parabens, SLS/SLES/ ALS, synthetic color, added bleach, and silicates, Dr. Prathibha said.
Keeping your nails long can cause a bacterial infection because dirt can accumulate in your nails.
"For both mother and baby, we suggest keeping nails short and clean. You can clip your baby's nails when she is sleeping. Always remember it's an essential part of baby hygiene," said the Ayurveda expert.
Incorporating these practices into your daily routine will help ensure your baby is being brought up in a clean and germ-free environment. This is one of the best things you can do for your baby's health during her growing years.