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?

nicelyneurotic Tue 17-Sep-13 09:06:38

Tasmanian makes a good point about public transport. I am always desperate to wash my hands after travelling and wouldn't dream of touching a baby (or anyone really) afterwards. Also if I've been shopping and touching money or those grubby pin machines.

rosiedays Tue 17-Sep-13 09:21:36

I thought it was normal to wash hands before picking up newborn until I did it at mil with a new family baby and everyone laughed.
Anyone who picked up my newborn had washed there hands. I bought a lovely hand soap for them to use.

weeblueberry Tue 17-Sep-13 10:08:47

I didn't do it myself but if someone else asked me to wash mine before holding their newborn I can't say it would bother me.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Tue 17-Sep-13 10:15:06

No. Not unless they'd been petting an animal or something.

Do you plan to wash your hands every single time you pick up the baby? If you drive to the supermarket and open the car door, and touch the car seat straps, will you then alcohol gel your hands before picking up your baby? What about when you've been all round the supermarket and she starts to cry at the checkout? Will you scoop her up, or will you alcohol gel your hands first, or nip off to wash them?

What about a second child? Will you be grabbing the toddler and washing their hands every time they go near the baby?

I wouldn't like anyone putting their fingers in my baby's mouth though. I've never had that happen with either of mine - that's a parent job as far as I can see.

LaRegina Tue 17-Sep-13 10:18:47

No I never would have thought to ask - but if anybody had put their finger (washed or not!) in my baby's mouth I would have gone completely nuts.

WantedGSOH Tue 17-Sep-13 10:20:26

I know lots of people say that we're more precious nowadays about germs, but there is a direct link between improved hygiene, and infant survival.

It's also worth bearing in mind that in the 'good old days' people didn't travel as far or as easily, and certainly weren't exposed to so many strangers constantly. Think how many tube/train/bus journeys are made every day by so many people! Diseases & illnesses therefore travel like wildfire nowadays in comparison, even globally via planes.

I think hand washing is the number one & best thing that can be done to prevent spread of illnesses. I would definitely wash my hands, & remove an outside coat, scarf etc before cuddling a young baby. It's bloody selfish not to I think.

rrreow Tue 17-Sep-13 11:38:40

I asked smokers to wash their hands if they handled my newborn baby just after they had nipped out for a cigarette. No one else though.

Oh and I asked my very elderly grandmother to use some santitising hand rub before handling my then 5 month old son.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 17-Sep-13 19:47:52

No. I'm a great believer in the importance of building up a healthy immune system. I would actually be annoyed if someone used that nasty antibacterial hand rub and then put their finger in my baby's mouth - chemicals are worse than a bit of honest dirt as far as I'm concerned.

Not that anyone did put their finger in my babies' mouths, except MIL when she was helping us trying to settle them. I would find it a bit odd if random visitors wanted to do that, to be honest.

MultipleMama Wed 18-Sep-13 00:35:45

Just to point out; I see most posters saying no and that they now have healthy kids and it did no harm but I can turn round and say I make visitors wash their hands and I too have healthy children. So obviously, I'm not harming their immune system either.

Germs are not only spread by contact, most are airborne. A child may get ill at some point in their lives whether or not you make people wash their hands.

I demand it because I want to protect them as much as I can from pesky germs.

In the end it's each to their own. No one way is the right way.

MrRected Wed 18-Sep-13 00:45:14

Never occurred to me to do that. In fact I would have thought you a nutter for asking.

Until my DD got RSV Bronchiolitis at 5 weeks old (she was five weeks early and got sick on her due date). She deteriorated rapidly - within 12 hours of being admitted she went into respiratory failure and was admitted into ICU. We spent a month in ICU/HDU, it was truly the worst time of my life.

After that, I expected everybody to wash their hands with hospital provided handwash when coming into the house. She was also quarantined after being discharged from hospital because she was so little and prone to catching every bug around. So if I ever (impossible) had another one, I'd also keep visits limited to close family until a newborn was at least 8 weeks old.

MultipleMama Wed 18-Sep-13 00:49:44

Off topic but if you say germs help build immune systems then why are people with have certain illnesses or those who had a bone marrow transplants put in a isolated room where germs aren't allowed and people have to mask up etc? If germs help improve/build up the immune system.

This is what confuses me when a debate like this comes up. I'm interested in seeing if there's a difference between them.

rosiedays Wed 18-Sep-13 08:34:14

Those of you who don't get guests to wash their hands. . Have you any idea what a bug like noro virus does to anew born??

Yes the immune system needs to develop and it does but surely a tiny newborn baby coming from 9 month in a sterile environment need to be protected the best we can from such bugs until the immune system has a chance to develop! !!

Please wash your hands in future. How would you feel if it was you that passed a life threatening bug to a tiny baby which could have been avoided simple by taking 1 minute to wash your hands. ??

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 09:12:17

No, even with my prem ds did it ever cross my mind once we had left the hospital.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 09:13:31

I think if someone has the noro virus then you are likely to get it even if you wash your hands.

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 09:19:39

I thought those NHS guidelines were for healthcare professionals!

And in answer, no, never asked regular people to pre-wash.

WaspInTheHouse Wed 18-Sep-13 09:20:29

Are we also to wear facial masks while handling newborns?

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 18-Sep-13 09:20:49

Handwashing will drastically reduce the risk of contracting noro or colds/flu. I would always ask just blame the Hv if needed thats the excuse I used- bottom line it may stop your child getting ill so I would do it.

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 18-Sep-13 09:23:53

There's been many public health campaigns reminding people about the importance of hand washing in stopping the spread of diseases. I'm sure coming up to flu season we'll see more adverts on TV and in newspapers.
I more surprised that people don't offer themselves if I'm visiting friends with babies I'll always say 'I'll just wash my hands first' before I go and cuddle baby.

ithaka Wed 18-Sep-13 09:28:26

No way - I have horses & my newborn spent most of her life on a farmyard anyway. She is now a cracking wee rider herself.

My sister did with her first, but she is an attention seeking nutjob who had a massive case of PFB. My number 4 she had stopped caring & the child was practically raised by the family dogs - and is none the worse for it.

ZiaMaria Wed 18-Sep-13 09:43:30

I never asked anyone to - but then no-one ever wanted to put their fingers in DD's mouth... Later of course, DD would seize fingers and chomp on them herself, but I assumed she could take any bugs.

Hulababy Wed 18-Sep-13 10:38:31

The reason why babies with specific illnesses are kept in isolation is because they have compromised immunity. The average baby doesn't come into that category.

Boobybeau Wed 18-Sep-13 11:10:20

I didn't ask but I wanted to (but then I'm about OCD about germs) it mad be nuts when a stranger felt they could stroke my new baby or touch their hands with our asking.

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 18-Sep-13 11:38:10

The thing I don't understand about all these people who do ask for hand washing is that, surely (unless maybe it is your first) you yourself are out and about in situations where your hands will touch dirty things - doorknobs, money, etc. Then you will pick up the baby and carry it. Just thinking about my morning, a newborn would have gone into a car seat for school, I'd have touched my door, my car door, my car keys and steering wheel, assorted coats and bookbags. Then I'd have carried the baby into the playground, then back, back into car seat and I would not have been able to wash my hands at all.

Likewise, picking up screaming baby in between nose wiping, hair brushing and weetabix dispensing, I doubt I could have washed my hands every time.

What is the point in asking family and friends to wash their hands every time when the people who handle the baby the most cannot feasibly do so?

Different if there is a bug going round though, as I can see that the more hands the more chance someone with the bug will transmit it.

oohdaddypig Wed 18-Sep-13 12:39:02

Contrast - that's just it - there are always bugs going around and simple hand washing makes a huge difference.

Obviously you can't wash your hands every time you do anything.

There are so many bugs around these days - people fly all over the world then jump on public transport and come into the house to touch a newborn? It's just common sense to quickly wash your hands.

If a newborn contracts something like group b strep it can be very serious.

I'm not remotely a germ phobic and I don't believe in antibacterial gels. But soap and hot water after coming in from an office or off the bus? I would do that even without a newborn in the house!

TheContrastofWhiteonWhite Wed 18-Sep-13 12:42:13

I do actually get the washing hands after public transport thing. All those germs on the poles and things. Yuck!

I just still don't get asking someone to wash their hands because they are about to hold a baby when the baby will be held dozens and dozens more times that day by someone who hasn't just washed their hands.

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