With the arrival of my daughter Liz, my life took a sharp turn in a direction I never knew existed. I wouldn’t say it was a U-turn because life had never been the same before. I had been a free, adventurous person but now every little thing seems scary – be it reading a magazine (she loves to tear away the pages and eat them) or cooking in the kitchen (she crawls from the playmat or comes walking and pulls the drawers) or taking out the laundry (she enjoys picking up clothes, biting and scattering them) or drinking water from a bottle (she wants to open the bottle and pour water all around).
My adventures have changed dramatically from going out in the open and doing some crazy stuff to staying indoors and getting alarmed at every mewl and whimper. My life now revolves around the baby and most of my time goes in keeping everything out of reach. So, here’s a list I came up with from my own experiences –
1. Frequently Wash the Toys
Toys have a lot of germs as they get exposed to the environment when played with, and accumulate dust when they sit in the toy box. So, it’s advisable to wash the toys regularly with warm soapy water. Especially after your baby has a cold/fever, make sure you wash the toys that your baby played with.
2. Carry Your Own Toys While Going Out
Once we visited a friend who had a baby too. Liz played with their toys and put them in her mouth. Oh! Babies taste and feel! The very next morning, Liz woke up with a high temperature which refused to come down for three long days and I don’t even want to talk about how I survived. Well, for those of you who are wondering, I did carry my own toys but babies get excited when they see new toys. So, it takes some effort to engage babies with their own toys and I promised myself to make an effort the next time.
3. Clean the Sanitiser Bottle on the Outside
I have one sanitiser at home and one in the car. I use it generously all the time. Recently, I noticed dust accumulating on both the bottles and that’s when I realized it needed some cleaning. So, if you’re a sanitiser freak, you don’t want to miss out on this point.
4. Wipe Your TV/AC Remotes Regularly
Babies are interested in everything other than what is offered to them. And, remotes fall in the category of their interest. If placed in the living room which is accessible to guests too, you might want to keep a check on this one.
5. Clean the Doorknobs
Doorknobs are touched by everyone, and you just can’t be sure of how many clean/dirty hands have touched it. So, while cleaning the house, make sure you wipe them too.
6. Wash Secondhand Baby Products Thoroughly Before Use
It might sound gross, but babies not only put everything in their mouths but also spit up, pee and poop anywhere they want to. To keep your baby safe from foreign germs, it’s a good habit to wash secondhand products with a good baby detergent before your baby gets hold of them.
7. Read the Instruction Manual Before Setting Up Baby Gear
We got a ‘Pack and Play On the Go’ from one of our friends who were relocating to another country. Only after opening and setting it up did I realize that it was only for babies under 7 kgs and my baby had already outgrown it. I had to pack it all again, and it wasn’t an easy job.
8. Keep a Check on Electrical Wires
I once left a toaster on the kitchen slab and went into the bedroom to get something, without noticing the wire dangling down. Liz was fascinated and quickly sprinted in her walker and pulled it. I first heard a thud and then a cry. I quickly rushed to check and found the toaster on her hand. Luckily, it was a lightweight toaster and she didn’t get hurt. And, I learnt my lesson (the hard way, though!).
9. Plug-In Electrical Sockets with Socket Covers
Babies and toddlers are attracted to anything which has holes. They want to put their fingers in to get a feel of it. Danger has no limits. Socket covers are available in all hardware stores and serve this purpose well.
10. Carry the Changing Mat wherever you Go and Wash it Regularly
A changing mat is used multiple times a day and not just at home. It’s good to carry your changing mat wherever you go because changing tables available in malls may not be cleaned every day.
11. Wash the Playmat Often
Like toys, the playmat is also used often and the baby spends a good amount of time on it. So, keeping the play area fresh and clean keeps your baby healthy and active.
12. Keep Sharp Objects Out of Reach
Childproofing is a myth! You cannot keep all the cupboards locked all the time (especially, the kitchen). So, keep sharp objects like forks and knives out of reach to avoid accidents.
13. Buy Machine-Washable Products
When shopping for baby products (baby gym/ playmat/ pram/ stroller/ bouncer, etc), buy machine-washable products as far as possible. It saves a lot of time and energy.
14. Keep the Restaurant Menu Out of your Child’s Reach
Just like money, a menu is one of the items which goes from hand to hand but is never cleaned.
15. Don’t Leave your Flip-flops on the Floor while the Baby is on the Floor/Playmat
While all your shoes and sandals make their way into the shoe cabinet, your flip-flops might be lying around waiting to catch your baby’s attention. Like I already mentioned, babies are interested in anything which is not given to them.
No matter what you hear, listen to what your heart says (they are called mother’s instincts) and follow them. It’ll not only please you but also keep you strong and going.
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