Germs: the age old question..are they good or bad for babies? On one hand, they can absolutely make them sick- give them a little cold, cough, etc. but is that necessarily always a bad thing? When our twins were born early, we were warned from all different professionals about keeping them as healthy as possible, as their little immune systems were considered premature and not as strong a full term baby. Sterilizing everything on a regular basis, bathing daily, using disinfectant wipes on literally everything they could ever touch… not only was that overwhelming to hear, it seemed impossible to uphold, and little did I know.. it was!
Let me break it down for you- and I’m not just using the fact that we had two babies at once as an excuse, but we sterilized their bottles and my pumping parts maybe twice and now that they are almost 9 months old and seem to have no negative effects from lack of serialization, we think we are in clear (as guilty as we may have felt about it in the early months!) It just seemed so tedious and because I cleaned them with soap and water every time they were used anyway, almost unnecessary. I understand that the process of heating them to a certain level, either by boiling or microwaving (or using a serializing machine) certainly helps to clean any lingering germs off but it was just something we were never crazy about doing. And that’s just one aspect..
Bathing.. we were “taught” at the hospital that it was ideal to fully bathe the babies every other day at least, washing their hands and face on daily basis, especially on days when they didn’t get a full bath. I was all about this- wanted to stay as on top of it as possible and make it a part of their night-time routine. That lasted about 2 weeks. Bathing two babies every day is a lot of work! and, again, not using that as an excuse, it was all just part of the process of learning what worked the best for our family and developing our own routine! We are now down to bathing them 2-3 times a week and making sure that their face and hands get washed clean at least once a day.
We also quickly learned that we were not the type of people to use shopping cart/high chair or any other type of covers, not really for any other reason other than it was just another thing to worry about bringing along (and we kind of were slowly starting to realize that maybe these types of germs weren’t so bad anyway..)
I definitely agree that sick babies/kids should be kept separately from others, especially when it’s something that is obviously contagious, until they are feeling better, but what we have found works for our family, is that little exposure to everyday germs that even we are exposed to, isn’t so bad. I’m sure a lot of people won’t agree with this lifestyle, and more power to you if you can keep up with keeping everyday germs away, but I just have to say, that our twins, approaching 9 months old, still have yet to have a fever (knock on wood!) they have had colds, but nothing that really caused them to be down and out. So, before you go crazy trying to be as clean as possible, do some research on what helps to develop an immune system, and keep it healthy, because you might be pleasantly surprised at what little you have to do to get that!