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There are no words to describe the frustration I feel when people that come into contact with my baby are not hygiene conscious. I know there are mums reading this who can feel their blood boiling just thinking about it!
My frustrations have no doubt become worse because it’s the festive season, which brings with it Christmas parties and parties to welcome in the new year. Your baby is suddenly surrounded by lots of people, many who they don’t know, and many who want a cuddle. That means exposure to more germs, especially when people aren’t mindful of how they touch them...and no one wants a sick baby during their summer holiday.
There’s almost nothing worse than having a sick baby. You feel helpless…because you are. You can’t reason with a baby to take the medicine that will make them feel better. You can’t get them to blow their own nose. They don’t understand your words of comfort and assurance.
I know I’m not the only mum who’s become a hygiene control freak following just one bout of sickness. I’d rather wash my hands four million times than try just once to use a nasal aspirator to get my baby’s boogers out.
One of the hardest things to learn when you become a mum is how to voice your concerns and wishes, especially to people who you’re not familiar with yourself. Sometimes you find yourself in situations where someone’s acting a certain way towards your baby and you simply don’t know how to tell them to stop. You might just stand there awkwardly. You might smile or giggle nervously. You might drop hints that you want them to stop what they’re doing. You might put your arms out to your baby but the other person doesn’t give them up. You think to yourself how can they think that this is okay with me…and my baby?
When I refer to people’s lack of hygiene, I’m not talking about them using hand sanitiser every time they touch my baby. I’m talking about things that people do which most adults wouldn’t even like done to them.
Fellow mamas, wouldn’t it be nice if people followed at least these 5 basic rules?
I always thought these things were just common sense, but I know from my own experience and from stories told to me by others that they’re not. By the same token, I know that when people interact with a baby, they're almost always acting with the best intentions.
If you want to do something, like offer a child something to eat, my advice is to just ask the parent first. That gives the parent the option to at least say “no problem, I’ll just grab the snacks I pre-packed for them.”
Most importantly, the first step should always be to think before you act…if you ask yourself does this baby, who couldn’t pick me out of a lineup, want me to kiss them on the lips? then you might just realise it’s not needed or wanted by the mother or the baby...
I'm married to Sam and I'm a mother to Henry.