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When your new baby arrives, it’s important to be aware of hygiene and safety in your home. All babies are at risk of infection due to their sensitive immune system but this is especially true for premature babies. Because their immune systems might not be fully equipped to fight harmful germs, premature babies need special care.
You don’t have to strip down your entire house, but it’s important to make a few small changes to make a healthy and happy environment for your newborn. Here are 5 simple safety and hygiene practices for when your baby arrives:
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1. Take Care of Your Own Hygiene
Anyone who has close contact with the baby should be vigilant about hygiene and should always wash their hands thoroughly before handling the baby. A premature baby hasn’t yet developed a mature immune system and dirty hands is an easy way for harmful germs to spread.
2. Clean Your Baby’s Toys Regularly
When your baby is going through the phase of putting things in their mouth, it’s important you know how to thoroughly clean your baby’s toys to prevent germs from spreading, especially for a premature baby. Most toys can be kept clean by soaking in warm water and a little bit of soap.
3. Pay Special Attention to Areas Where Food Is Made
Adjusting to life at home with your premature baby means keeping a close eye on areas where food may be prepared. Food contaminated with bacteria can spread quickly among infants so always wash down surfaces and kitchenware that have come into contact with raw meats, fish, and eggs and make sure that meat is kept separate in your fridge.
4. Avoid Too Many Visitors and Public Spaces
Friends and family may be eager to meet your little one, but premature babies are extremely susceptible to germs and so might not quite be ready to be passed around. When it’s time for visitors, let them know what to expect by being clear on things like no smoking, colds and even not bringing their own toddlers during the early stages.
5. Keep Your Baby Clean
Last but definitely not least, it’s important you keep your baby clean. Use a warm, wet cloth to clean your baby’s face, neck, ears and nose. Remember, there’s no need to bathe your baby every day, especially with premature babies as their skin can be very sensitive. 2-3 times a week is just fine.
In lots of ways, caring for a premature baby may not be so different than a term baby. You’ll have plenty of time to bond with your new baby but it’s important to take special care where hygiene is concerned and to create a safe and healthy environment for your baby to live and grow in. Happy parenting!