Let's come up with a new definition of "clean"
You've probably noticed by now that babies make messes. It’s kind of their thing. Depending on what "clean" means to you, your outlook may be under reconstruction in the months since she was born.
- Clean means: organized
Having a new human around who is completely dependent on you for just about everything means a lot less time for picking up after yourself. If things being left out of place drives you up the wall, it might be time to learn how to cope.
A mindset that might be useful is to choose one day of the week when you set aside an hour to do nothing but pick up the house. This way, when something is left sitting out, you can convince yourself to put up with the mess with the promise that it’ll all be clean on Saturday (or whatever day you choose). With any luck, you’ll make it, and it will get a little easier to put up with every week.
- Clean means: free of germs
If you find yourself wiping down every surface before your baby touches it, after she touches it, and maybe one more time for good measure, this kind of cleaner might be you. Keeping things sanitary is all well and good, but taking it too far is asking for needless stress.
Let’s face it - if something is in your baby’s reach, it’ll end up in her mouth. Hard as you try, you just can’t sanitize everything, and even trying to, you might miss the important stuff. Any food area or shopping cart where raw meat has been, and any place where baby has or will be changed are the big ones.
Hands are how things are transported to the mouth, eyes, and nose, so keep your baby’s hands clean above all else. Sometimes you just have to accept that the rest of her is a lost cause.
- Clean means: not sticky
For some parents, texture is important. Surfaces shouldn’t be covered in anything that doesn’t belong, especially something wet or sticky. Don’t get them started on what your baby shouldn’t be covered in!
Are you this kind of clean? Does seeing your baby lightly coated in a thin film of drying food gross you out to no end? It turns out that playing with food has been linked to infant brain development. Mealtime is a feast for the senses, so this kind of exploration is really good for your baby's development. When you see your baby all covered in sauce, or with cereal stuck to her cheeks, remember that she is just learning through doing - there will be plenty of time to clean her up when she is done.
- Clean means: spotless
Stains. Lint. Fuzzies. Hanging bits of string. Getting a little anxious? For some, dirt is fine so long as it can’t be seen, and then it simply has to go.
You might want to consider some “disposable” additions to your wardrobe, like clothes bought on clearance you wouldn’t mind seeing ruined. The worst thing is to be mad at your baby for making a mess of something nice - she can’t help it! Sometimes spit just happens.
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