Hygiene plays a crucial component of a baby's overall care. Practicing a good hygiene is extremely important to keep your baby happy and healthy all the time.

Eight essential hygiene rules for your baby. Here are eight simple good hygiene practices to adopt when you have a baby.

  • Washing your hands with a good antibacterial soap is essential for removing harmful bacteria and germs that cause colds, flu, diarrhea and other infections. Be sure to dry your hands properly and wash your hand towels regularly. It's especially important to wash your hands before feeding your baby, after handling raw food, after changing a nappy or going to the toilet yourself, after touching pets, after touching anything dirty such as dirty nappies, rubbish or food waste.
  • You don't need to clean the house every day from top to bottom with disinfectant, you just need to pay particular attention to the surfaces that are most likely to harbour germs and bacteria. Focus on the areas that have a lot of contact with food, bodies and hands, such as bathrooms, kitchen benches, tables, crockery, cutlery and glassware. You need to be cleaning these properly. Use hot water with detergent for crockery, cutlery and glasses, while kitchens and bathrooms will need a thorough clean with a good disinfectant. Pay particular attention to taps, toilet seats, benches and door handles. Dry surfaces as well if they are not in a well-ventilated area with natural light.
  • Babies love to put things into their mouths, and toys are often the closest thing to hand. Be sure to regularly give your child's toys a clean with a good disinfectant. Wipe hard plastic toys down and make sure you rinse them thoroughly or put plush toys through the washing machine.
  • A good bath is essential for keeping your baby clean and tidy, but you need to make sure you are not over-washing as this is damaging to your baby's sensitive skin. In the first year of your baby's life a full bath is necessary only two or three times a week. Check out our step-by-step guide to bathing your baby.
  • These are three areas that need some special attention. Always keep your baby's nails well-trimmed so that they can't scratch themselves — the best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep. Be sure to use baby-sized nail clippers and not to cut the nails too short as these will hurt your baby.
  • Only wash the outside of your baby's ears, never the inside, and never insert cotton wool buds into your baby's ears. If your baby is unhappy and touching their ears repeatedly, this could be a sign of infection — be sure to get this looked at by a medical professional.
  • Clean any dried mucous from your baby's nose, as this can cause difficulty breathing. Use a damp wash cloth to gently remove the dried mucous. A nasal syringe may be needed to help remove excess mucous, but consult your baby's health practitioner before using one of these.
  • Be sure to keep your baby's eyes clear of any dried mucous. Use damp cotton wool to gently clean their eyes and seek medical attention if you notice your baby's eyes are irritated.

The fourth trimester – caring for yourself after childbirth

The fourth trimester - caring for yourself after childbirth

Sister Burgie Ireland offers some expert advice on how to care for yourself after the birth of your baby.

The post The fourth trimester – caring for yourself after childbirth appeared first on Living and Loving.


The fourth trimester - caring for yourself after childbirth

Sister Burgie Ireland offers some expert advice on how to care for yourself after the birth of your baby.

The post The fourth trimester – caring for yourself after childbirth appeared first on Living and Loving.

The fourth trimester - caring for yourself after childbirth

Preparing for childbirth is such a mammoth task that women often don’t have time to think about the fourth trimester – the first three months after the birth. While you may be looking forward to maternity leave, any seasoned mother will tell you it’s no holiday. Remember, it takes nine months to make a baby − it will take at least another nine to recover.

ALSO SEE: What to expect as you adjust to parenthood

The first few days

Text books call this the “sensitive period”, because everything hurts. The euphoric hormonal high that women experience immediately after birth will help you get through the first “magic hour” of skin-to-skin with your newborn, but this is short-lived and you will soon want to be left alone to sleep and process what’s just happened.
Over the next few days, you’ll feel sensitivity in your breasts. If you had a vaginal birth, your perineum (area between the vagina and the anus) will feel sore and if you had a C-section you’ll have an incision to contend with. Sometimes, haemorroids become an issue.
You will also be feeling emotionally sensitive – the birth may not have gone the way you wanted, newborns are extremely demanding and you may feel convinced that your partner doesn’t understand what you’re going through.
By the third day, your milk will have “come in” and you’ll go home from hospital.

ALSO SEE: 9 remedies to help soothe those stitches down there

Top Tips

  • Get up and walk as much as possible.
  • Keep your energy up by eating regular, nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Take painkillers according to instructions from your healthcare provider and don’t wait until you feel the pain to take them.
  • Avoid constipation by drinking plenty of water and including fibre in your diet.
  • Have a bath as soon as you can.

The first six weeks

This time is known as the “babymoon” and is when you will recover and bond with your baby. Recuperation is individual – while some women quickly bounce back, others take longer. A few struggle physically and emotionally, but the secret is to be yourself and not compare motherhood with your friend, what you’ve read or even a previous birth. Every mother is different – and so is her baby. You have instincts that will teach you what to do and each mother and baby needs to do this in her own way and in her own time.

Top Tips

  • Encourage your partner to ask for paternity leave.
  • Keep a cabbage in the fridge for full, heavy breasts – applying a leaf under your bra can help engorgement.
  • When nothing else helps, have a hot bath and turn up the music.
  • When friends offer to help, accept it.
  • Sleep or rest when your baby does.

Month 2

Getting organised

Motherhood brings new responsibilities, like taking your baby to the clinic for shots, weigh-ins and check-ups. Your baby also needs to be registered with an ID number and added to the family medical aid. On top of this, he needs regular feeding and changing. All this is time-consuming work, but remember that babies adapt to the way they’re mothered.

Top tips

  • Ask for advice, but learn to solve your own problems.
  • Your circle of friends will change. Your friends who don’t have babies will get bored with your baby chatter− don’t take this personally. You’ll soon identify with a new circle of friends who have babies.
  • Pack a practical nappy bag.
  • Start getting into a daily routine.

ALSO SEE: How to pack a nappy bag

Month 3

Getting ready to go back to work

While some women can’t wait to start working again, others dread leaving their precious babies in the care of a crèche or nanny.

ALSO SEE: 15 survival strategies for moms returning to work after maternity leave

Top tips

  • Research and visit day cares that are close to where you live or work.
  • Speak to a lactation consultant about how you can return to work and continue breastfeeding.
  • Be practical about what you’ll be able to achieve in a day.
  • Cook and freeze meals.
  • Focus on the essentials and learn to say no.

ALSO SEE: Day care vs. a nanny – which is best for you?

Just because you are educated and hold a responsible position in the working world, it doesn’t mean you’ll instinctively know what to do as a new mother.
With very little training, you’re expected to know what to do when you come home from the hospital with a helpless, fragile human being. When your baby cries, you’re expected to know what’s wrong. But if you take one day at a time, learn from your mistakes and trust your instincts, you’ll be just fine!

How is your partner doing?

While a woman’s life is turned upside down, men only have to make a few changes like eating take-aways and seriously staggered sex. To be fair, standing by and watching his partner cope with labour pain is not easy, and neither is resisting the urge to faint or leave the operating theatre during the birth. Although your partner may seem to be indifferent to what’s important to you, he will be concerned about new responsibilities like finances, keeping his family safe and trying to be helpful.

Top tips

  • Don’t hand the baby to him and blame him for your terrible day as soon as he walks through the door.
  • Make an effort to avoid baby chatter when the two of you are alone.
  • Pop a small bottle of sparkling wine to help you relax the first time you have sex.
  • Warn him in advance when he doesn’t have a clean shirt for work the next day.
  • Ask for his advice or opinion and include him in decisions relating to the baby.

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