Does a Not-So-Clean House Mean a Healthier Baby?

baby receiving a breathing treatment
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Is it safe to assume that you've seen The Princess Bride? Well, if you haven't, go and watch it until the part where Westley and Vizzini have a battle of wits. But make sure you come back and read this post. I'm trusting you!

So, Vizzini is challenged to a battle of wits by Westley, the heartthrob and main character in the movie. As part of the battle of wits, Westley pours wine into two goblets, and then pours poison into one of them. Vizzini, using his “brains,” was supposed to choose which of the goblets had the poison in it and give it to Westley to drink. Little did he know, Westley had built up an immunity to this poison by taking it in small doses over a large period of time.

According to a study done by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, it's exactly the same way for children and allergies and asthma. This study found that if you have a brand new baby and a super clean house (most likely because of the phenomenon called “nesting”), your baby won't be as resistant to germs, bacteria, and allergens from rodents, roaches, and cats.

{ MORE: Allergies & Asthma }

This sounds terrible, especially the rodents and roaches part, but a little bit of germs can be a good thing.

The lack of exposure won't necessarily cause issues early in life. It's what happens later in life that's the main concern here.

During the first year of your baby's life is the time when the study says it's best for children to be exposed to household allergens, germs, and bacteria. While it's probably best that you don't stick the cat in your baby's crib or line the baseboards in the baby's room with peanut butter and cheese for the mice, it is a smart idea to let your children build a strong defense against asthma or against allergies.

{ MORE: Colds in Pregnancy Might be Responsible for Childhood Asthma }

Just go a little easy on the cleaning. I mean, nesting is for the birds.

What do you think of these results? 



What do you think?

Does a Not-So-Clean House Mean a Healthier Baby?

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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  1. Jenny says:

    Totally agree, this has been my belief for as long as I can remember. And I am very careful to avoid anti-bacterial products, too. It only makes sense that if they are never exposed to any germs at home, how could they ever have a chance to develop a strong immune system?

  2. Zahra says:

    I’ve always said that the immune system has to build itself. And by that I mean that it needs to encounter lots of stuff to find out what is worth reacting to and what isn’t. An allergy is your immune system “overreacting” to something innocuous. I’m not an intense cleaner, I am definitely against anti-bacterial this and that (how do you think super-bacteria are created?) and my baby definitively had some food that dropped on the floor handed back to him within the 3-second window.

  3. AhavaMama3 says:

    I’m thinking OMG are you serious?!?!
    I’ve been a basket case about my house not being clean. I guess I could relax a bit now after seeing this.

    • jesster131 says:

      Yes that means you can relax a bit now. My little man is 2 now & has almost never been sick. I am by now means a clean freak. Has been exposed to stuff & has developed a healthy strong immune system. An overly clean home makes that hard for them to do. Once they go to school every time a classmate gets a cold they will too.

  4. Dani says:

    It makes enough sense to me. I will by no means stop cleaning to my satisfaction. It just means if I forget to vacuum or dust the baseboards once in awhile (or a lot since I will have a newborn), everything will be just fine.


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