But what about washing your baby before mealtimes? Anyone who has begun weaning their little one can sympathise it gets MESSY!We should always wash our own hands before eating and babies’ hands are no different... especially once they are old enough to start eating, crawling and getting into all sorts of mischief! Hand washing is the simplest, yet most effective way to stop the spread of bacteria and therefore keep our babies safe and protected from illnesses. For some tips on washing your baby’s hands; including the logistics and what to use on baby’s skin, I’ve answered some of the common hand washing questions below….
How should you wash your baby’s hands?One of the most straightforward ways to wash your baby’s hands is of course to hold your baby over the sink, balancing them on your knee and washing their hands with soap and water as you would your own (being careful not to press little one’s tummy into the sink whilst doing so). However, if the logistics of doing this isn’t for you (especially when your baby is little), then you can also apply soap to their hands using a dampened soapy washcloth instead, using another dampened with just water to wipe away the soap. Remember you can also put the bowl of soapy water in front of baby or toddler, using a cloth to make sure you get in between all of their fingers, and again use a damp cloth to clean off the soapy residue.Just make sure when you’re drying their hands, the towel is clean and dry.
What to wash their hands with?Soap and water are always best to wash hands with… regardless of age! However, if you’re worried that your regular kitchen soap might be a little too harsh for your baby’s delicate skin, then you can always use some of their regular body wash instead! Truth is…. anything soapy will do the job when it comes to hand washing!
What about when out and about?When out and about, always stick to using soap and water wherever you can. If there is no soap and water available, hand sanitiser may be used if there is no alternative but make sure you rub it in until completely dry and if using an alcohol based hand sanitiser, then keep your baby’s hands well moisturised as alcohol based hand sanitisers can be a little harsh for your baby’s delicate skin.
What about toddlers?It is really important to embed a good hand washing routine as early on in life as possible. As your baby progresses into a toddler, it’s important to change your hand washing technique as they grow, keeping it fun whilst giving them lots of praise and encouragement! Here’s some ideas how you can start getting your toddler involved in washing their hands and help them to understand that it’s an important part of their daily routine…
- Get a step stool so they can reach the sink themselves
- Give them independence – Toddlers LOVE the feeling of being able to do something for themselves, so supervise to make sure they wash their hands properly but let them do the main work themselves.
- Always communicate with them to tell them it’s time to wash their hands and why (it’s dinner time for example!)
- Sing a song with them whilst they wash their hands. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds which is enough time to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, but you could always sing along to a nursery rhyme or any other song your child loves to make sure they stay at the sink long enough!
- Teach them the importance of washing their hands using body paint or glitter every so often so that they have a visual aid of how they need to wash their hands for them to be clean
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