The first few years of life with a baby is full of surprises, love, and can certainly be a little bit stressful at times. Providing a picture perfect environment for your new bundle of joy is certainly on your mind from the décor to the food you are providing, but let’s not overlook how important it is to keep a healthy home for your newborn.
In the first two years of life, on average, most children have eight to ten colds according to the Academy of American Pediatrics, and because there is no cure for the common cold, the best treatment is to soothe the symptoms of your sick child. As they grow, some children develop allergies, asthma, or continue to be in desperate need for stable indoor air quality with conditions like cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Beyond increasing fluids, providing nutritious meals and getting rest, what else can you do to be proactive about health in your home for your little one?
It’s so easy in an age of hyper-information to become obsessed with cleanliness, so let your heart be your guide. Weekly clean surfaces with non-toxic cleaning supplies, vacuum, and wash linens in hot water, but remember, not all “germs” are necessarily bad for you, says Fredric Neuman, M.D., Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center in White Plains, New York. “Putting aside the huge number of bacteria and other germs that do not threaten us at all, there are many others that actually help us to survive. This is a distinction that is impossible to make convincingly to those who have developed a particular view of the world: germs are no good; and that’s that.”
Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice have long been used as a nontoxic and natural cleaner. In fact, tea tree oil is known to be a natural antiseptic. Easily blended with water to create a budget-friendly solution, tea tree oil has been found in studies to be capable of controlling the growth of E. coli. As with any cleaning solution, make sure you keep cleaning supplies away from little hands.
One of the first suggestions many pediatricians offer parents to soothe a sick infant is the addition of a humidifier to the bedroom. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a humidifier to relieve the symptoms of a stuffy nose and chest congestion. A Venta Airwasher not only adds and regulates humidity, it maintains an optimum level of indoor air quality ridding the environment of small particles like airborne pathogens, pollen, fine dust, pet dander, and tobacco smoke.
Peace of mind is everything when you have young children in your care. While our focus should be on providing a safe, healthy, and emotionally stable environment for children, remember to think ahead and protect them during the times you are not with them, like when they are sleeping. Going about your day knowing your child is safe, healthy, and happy is enough to make you sleep a little bit better at night!
And parents need all the sleep they can get…