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.

Struggling with a bad sleeper? Here’s help!


If getting a good night’s sleep has been a distant memory since your baby’s arrival, it may be time to call in the experts.

The post Struggling with a bad sleeper? Here’s help! appeared first on Living and Loving written by Lynne Gidish .


If getting a good night’s sleep has been a distant memory since your baby’s arrival, it may be time to call in the experts.

The post Struggling with a bad sleeper? Here’s help! appeared first on Living and Loving written by Lynne Gidish .


While parenting is fraught with all sorts of stressors, sleep is an issue that’s so emotive that a simple query about whether your child is sleeping through the night yet is enough to trigger yet another sleepless night.

Sleep deprivation is a huge wake-up call for parents as it’s very rarely factored into their pre-baby preparations. “Yet sleep is fundamentally important for the physical and emotional wellbeing of both children and adults,” says Petro Thamm, a specialist sleep consultant and director of Good Night. “Our brains can’t function properly when we’re sleep deprived and sleep debt affects every aspect of our lives. It’s also particularly important for children as the growth hormone needed for tissue and muscle development is primarily released during sleep. What parents need to understand is that babies will develop the ability to sleep well naturally – just as they learn how to walk. However, this will only happen if you provide the correct environment for them.”

ALSO SEE: 8 top sleep tips for sleep deprived moms

So, what’s going wrong?

Lee-Ann Stretch, founder of Sleep Matters, maintains that although all babies are different, they should generally be able to sleep for approximately eight to10 hours from the age of three to six months and for 10 to12 hours from six to12 months, adding that, “This has absolutely nothing to do with your child being ‘good’ or not! Some babies are self-soothers and have no trouble sleeping from a very young age, while others battle to self-soothe and need assistance.

ALSO SEE: A new mom’s guide to newborn sleep

Problems arise when babies or toddlers wake up three to five times a night. This means they’re not connecting their sleep cycles and have not learned to self-soothe, so can’t put themselves back to sleep. These children are called ‘signallers’ and call or cry out for help.

There are various factors that can contribute towards a child not sleeping through the night, including not getting enough sleep during the day, hunger, thirst, teething, ear or other infections, being too hot or too cold, overstimulation or a dirty nappy.  

However, it also depends on the parents themselves – how soon they put their babies into their own rooms and whether they rock them to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own. Probably one of the biggest issues is that parents don’t like to hear their babies crying and tend to rush to pick them up.

ALSO SEE: 4 ways you could be sabotaging your baby’s sleep

Then there are the moms who work full time and are often so consumed with guilt that they overcompensate at night and end up lying with their children until they fall asleep. This is repeated each time the child wakes up and they eventually end up sleeping in their child’s room. That’s why all parents need to be realistic about their expectations and have a good understanding of sleep routines and what they should and should not do.”

There are a number of things parents might be doing wrong that contribute to sleepless nights, she says. These include:

  • Underestimating how important the first few months are in establishing good sleeping habits
  • Not creating an environment conducive to sleep
  • Doing too much to get their children to sleep instead of allowing them enough opportunity to fall asleep alone
  • Putting too much emphasis on feeding (automatically feeding babies when they wake, thinking they’re hungry). Sleep is influenced by the brain and not the stomach
  • Not seeing sleep as a discipline and allowing the child to take the lead.

Breaking the cycle

“There are all sorts of sleep-training techniques on the internet,” says Lee-Ann. “Parents often worry whether they’re doing the training correctly and whether it’s traumatising the child. That’s why it’s vital for parents to be on the same page, especially if they decide to go it alone. One of the biggest reasons that sleep training fails is because parents aren’t 100% committed and give in at the first sign of a hysterical child or when one of them becomes too distraught to continue.
“When sleep training is done correctly, it helps to break negative sleep associations and establishes a routine that will encourage babies and toddlers to fall asleep by themselves instead of stubbornly resisting.


Lee-Ann’s tips to get your baby to sleep through the night

  • Have a routine. Children thrive on predictability and knowing what they are going to do next.
  • Ensure there’s a calm sleeping environment. Prepare a dark room with black-out curtains during the day.
  • Replace negative sleep associations with positive ones. Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle or rock him to sleep as he will need this to fall asleep each time he wakes. The aim is to teach your child to self-soothe and fall asleep alone.
  • Create a wind-down period before bedtime. No child can go to sleep after playing or running around.
  • Be consistent and confident Be ready to see sleep training through. If you stop in the middle, you’ll confuse your child and he’ll become more resistant to your attempt. Your child will also feel your anxiety and react to it.

ALSO SEE: 5 tried-and-tested baby sleep tips you need to try today

More about the experts:

Lee-Ann Stretch is the founder of Sleep Matters, who help babies sleep through the night and. Lee-Ann has been helping babies and toddlers fall asleep since 2006 with Mom’s Helper in Cape Town and Sleep Matters in Johannesburg. Through her years of experience she has gained an in-depth knowledge of all the best sleep training techniques and cater predominantly to toddlers and babies older than 7 months. Read more about Lee-Ann Stretch here.

Petro Thamm, former Regional Director (Africa) of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, was the only certified sleep consultant in South Africa, trained by Dana Obleman from Sleep Sense TM Institute in America and founded Good Night – Child Sleep Consultancy. She specialized in baby and toddler sleep and helping parents struggling with their child’s sleep by using positive sleep solutions and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type treatments. Since the humble beginnings of the start of the business, she has helped hundreds of families to better sleep and further educates herself in the spheres of neuroscience, nutrition, toddler discipline, breastfeeding and other baby and sleep related matters. Read more about Petro Thamm here.

The post Struggling with a bad sleeper? Here’s help! appeared first on Living and Loving written by Lynne Gidish .

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