Keeping baby healthy in the kitchen means more than just serving veggies – it also means making sure your kitchen is clean and free of harmful germs that can cause foodborne illness. But this can be tough, given that the kitchen is often the busiest and germiest place in the home.
Here are 5 simple steps you can take to help protect your baby from foodborne illness, whether you’re wielding a bottle or an airplane spoon.
1. Wipe Out Germ Hot-Spots
The kitchen is full of odd corners you may not think to clean, which end up being breeding grounds for bacteria. For example, your kitchen sponge probably carries more germs than a toilet seat (gross). Besides the sponge, other common culprits include: cutting boards, the inside of your fridge (especially meat and vegetable drawers), garbage can lids, the kitchen sink, and cabinet handles and knobs. Disinfect these areas as part of your cleaning routine.
2. Disinfect Counters and Worktops
Besides being where you prepare food, kitchen counters also tend to be the common dumpting ground for all kinds of germy non-culinary items, such as mail, loose change, and car keys. That's why it’s important to disinfect kitchen surfaces often to prevent cross-contamination. Stock up on a double duty, family-friendly cleaner that will wipe up any spills while also disinfecting.
3. Wash Hands. Then Wash ‘Em Again!
When you’re feeding baby, there’s no such thing as washing your hands too much -- hands are the number one carrier of germs. Make sure to wash your hands before and after mealtime, and after touching anything suspect like meat, the garbage can, or your pets. This will help ensure that foodborne illness causing bacteria doesn’t come into contact with baby’s mouth. Try a hands-free soap dispenser that will dispense the proper amount of soap for maximum effectiveness.
4. Triple Clean the High Chair
All moms know that the chances of baby keeping food in their bowl are slim to none. The floor, the high chair, your face – food seems to go everywhere but in baby’s mouth! That means it’s doubly important to make sure the high chair surface is free of harmful bacteria, since baby will probably be eating their cereal off of it. Wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe and then rinse with water before and after meals for a quick, healthy clean.
5. Stay Away from Baby’s Leftovers
The saliva that may be in leftover jarred baby food, breast milk, or formula is a stealth breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Luckily, avoiding this is easy. Try to only fill up a bottle as much as you think baby will eat in one sitting, and feed baby from a separate bowl (rather than right from the jar) to avoid contaminating an entire jar of baby food. And if you do have leftovers – throw them out.