Do you ask people to wash their hands before holding baby?

(84 Posts)
Lostinspace1 Mon 16-Sep-13 12:58:35

Just curious as I've read a couple of threads about people putting their fingers in baby's mouths...ew.

According to NHS guidelines its reasonable to ask people to wash their hands before handing a newborn, so it's something I can imagine asking my family...bit trickier with family-in law though...

Also, when is it ok for people to not wash their hands before holding baby? A month later, after the baby has built up a bit of an immune system?

whenigrowupiwanttobeaunicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 15:20:08

Erm - No!
My DDs are 13 and 11 and I don't remember anybody ever raising the issue in my ante-natal groups or in the friendship groups I made with other mums at the time.
But many of my close friends have had babies recently (I had mine very young) and it seems to be a new "thing" or "trend".
Unless they had just been to the bathroom or something I see no need for hand washing, but I'm pretty sure nobody I know would need to be reminded of handwashing after going to the toilet - at least I hope so!

As mentioned on a couple of pps, immune systems develop by being in contact with some germs!
Surely over-sterile is worse in the long run?

ZenGardener Mon 16-Sep-13 15:20:08

I won't but I already have three little kids and a cat. I suspect adult visitors will be the least of her problems.

I never did, and my dses are now strapping, healthy 16, 18 and 20-year-olds.

BackforGood Mon 16-Sep-13 15:36:57

No - never come across it at all in RL, only ever heard of it on MN. Babies are living in the real world, with all sorts of bacteria just around them in the air. How do you think new babies that have older siblings survive ?

OddBoots Mon 16-Sep-13 15:39:27

I don't have a newborn but quite a few babies have been born in the family recently and when I have had the joy of being able to hold them I automatically go and wash my hands first, it's common sense isn't it? I don't live with the baby so my germs are unfamiliar to them, it's different when you live in the same household.

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 15:39:59

As I never washed my own hands just before picking my baby up, NO I've never done it.
It hadn't crossed my mind to do so either.

Would've careful about the 'newborn'. When is a baby not a newborn anymore? At 6 days, 2 weeks, a month?

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 16-Sep-13 16:28:34

Yes, I did. Especially when they'd just arrived on the bus in flu season, for example.

Famzilla Mon 16-Sep-13 17:11:54

What? I have never heard of this before. Smoking I can get but just because?

But you're not even touching the baby, you're usually just touching their clothes!

Needless to say I have never done this, DD is almost 6 months and loves nothing more than chewing a good finger. She has never been unwell. Kids need to be exposed to some bacteria y'know!

picnicbasketcase Mon 16-Sep-13 17:23:17

Nobody ever smoked around either of mine, so I never had to say anything about that, but I would have otherwise.

I never asked anyone to wash their hands before holding them either, I know that none of our family members are particularly grubby so it wouldn't have occurred to me. I was quite happy to let any of them hold the DC, luckily didn't have clingy babies.

MrsOakenshield Mon 16-Sep-13 17:32:53

I don't remember asking people to but I think a lot did, mainly because they would have got here on public transport which is pretty yuck. Equally, I don't remember anyone putting their finger into DD's mouth.

I thought anti-bac hand gel only worked on clean hands? Having put my finger into my mouth after using that gel, it's a vile taste so in a way not any better for the baby!

Lostinspace1 Mon 16-Sep-13 17:35:13

Interesting mix of responses.

I tend to wash my hands after being on public transport anyway or after being out and about generally so I don't think it's wrong to ask visitors to wash theirs before holding a newborn. Also, people like touching babies faces etc so it's not just the clothes. My baby will be born in the winter so coughs/colds will be rampant.

Each to their own!

purplemurple1 Mon 16-Sep-13 17:49:51

My bb is 16days old and this has never crossed my mind, and I think almost everyone has shoved a finger in there to keep him quite over the past 2 weeks and we have a dog so I've no doubt theres been some sharing of germs.

Oh well, I guess he isn't a newborn now any way.

Hulababy Mon 16-Sep-13 17:56:45

I have never been asked to wash my hands before holding anyone's baby - never!

I would be somewhat amused to be asked and no doubt think they were being very precious unless said baby had some form of auto-immune type issue. I'd do it and probably not say anything unless a close friend/family - who I'd normally be able to laugh/joke with - but would be rolling my eyes secretively.

Obviously if I had been doing something dirty beforehand I would wash my hands - but not just day to day. But then I;d be washing my hands anyway if they were dirty.

My nephew was born this summer and it is not something she was told she should be doing - so def not routine advise.

I certainly never asked anyone to wash before handling DD, though that was some 11 years ago now.

Surely we can't protect babies from every bit of germ - else they'd never be allowed beyond their own nursery in some little bubble. And once a second born arrives - you wouldn't stand a chance! First born would be all over them every second ime.

peachmint Mon 16-Sep-13 17:57:39

I would find this a bit PFB, sorry.

Hulababy Mon 16-Sep-13 18:00:23

Do you not worry about being too sterile around little ones? Surely that can cause even more issues later on when they are exposed to the odd germ?

tasmaniandevilchaser Mon 16-Sep-13 18:05:26

I was told by a couple of different midwives to ask visitors to wash their hands before handling my newborn. In fact most of my visitors just wash their hands before holding the baby without me asking. But visitors are usually arriving on London public transport, which is filthy. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people scratch their bumcrack, pick their nose etc and hold the poles. I always wash my hands after travelling on public transport, whether I'm going to hold a baby or not.

ceeveebee Mon 16-Sep-13 18:05:27

My mil and fil still insist on making a big thing of washing their hands as soon as they arrive at our house, mil sata things like "oh I can't cuddle you, I've not washed my hands yet" - my DTs are nearly two now - it irritates the hell out of me. This is the same mil who insisted I put a hand towel in the kitchen when the hv was about to visit as she said it would be marked on my notes otherwise!

I never wash my hands just because I happen to have been outside the house - as long as you wash hands after toilet, cooking, handling chemicals etc I really don't see the need to. Unless baby is ill etc

LadyInDisguise Mon 16-Sep-13 18:37:59

Lost just out interest, when do you think it will not be necessary for people to wash their hands before holding a newborn?

Also I agree with you 'each to their own' but maybe keep on mind the range of answers you got today and remember that for quite a lot if people, they would not se it as a problem. Not that it means you should let them do it. But that it might explain their surprise at your request.

anothermonday Mon 16-Sep-13 20:37:54

Yes I did. But DC1 had a shaky start and spent time in SCBU, so I think that was where I got the idea from. Some of DH's relatives visitors minded a lot (and even refused).

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 16-Sep-13 20:39:52

I did I had a couple of 'really?!' Looks but told people the Hv was advising us to ask all visitors as there were bugs going around -it worked

usualsuspect Mon 16-Sep-13 20:40:25

No,wouldn't have crossed my mind.

hettienne Mon 16-Sep-13 20:43:10

I have been asked to as a nanny to babies!

I didn't with DS except for DP washing his hands after smoking. Actually I may have asked some of my grubbier younger cousins (boys 7-12).

SquirrelSpit Mon 16-Sep-13 22:27:37

Never even thought about it, dd is nine months old and has not been ill yet (touch wood)
But everyones different and if you're more comfortable asking them to do so, then go for it. If someone asked me too i wouldn't mind but would probably think they were being a little pfb

oohdaddypig Mon 16-Sep-13 22:37:12

Yes, for the first few weeks. There are a few bugs you don't want very young babies to catch and hand washing takes 30 seconds.

I'm not remotely a clean freak BTW. I think it's common sense especially as people are obsessed with putting their fingers in babies' mouths

shallweshop Mon 16-Sep-13 22:39:32

No, it has never occurred to me to ask and I have never done it myself. Unless you have a very sick, premature/vulnerable baby I would say its not a great idea to be too precious about germs.

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