Why It’s Ok to Keep a Not-So-Clean House During Baby’s First Year of Life

cleaning supplies
Image via Flickr/ go_greener_oz

Moms who just don't have the time or energy will be happy to hear that maintaining clean floors that you can eat off of is over rated and just not necessary even when you have a tiny baby. Results from a recent study published by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, showed that a newborn who lives in a house that is extremely clean will not be as resistant to germs, bacteria and other allergens from rodents, roaches, and cats. In turn, the lack of exposure to these germs may lead to an increase risk of allergies or asthma later in life.

The study tracked 467 inner city newborns living in Baltimore, New York City, Boston and St. Louis from in utero to the age of three and beyond. Allergen levels, as well as bacterial content of the dust found in the infants' homes were measured. Interestingly enough, infants who were being raised in homes with cat and mouse dander and cockroach droppings during their first year of life had lower rates of wheezing at the age of 7, as compared to children who were not exposed to allergens. A shocking 41% of allergy-free and wheeze-free children in the study were raised in homes that had high levels of bacterial and allergens, while just 8% of children who had both allergies and wheezing were exposed to the substances their first year of life.

{ MORE: How to Clean Up Baby Vomit from Your Carpet }

Researchers involved in this investigation warned people not to expose your child to unnecessary allergens or bacteria, based on these results alone. Stating that there are many different factors that can influence the chances of an inner city child developing asthma, including tobacco smoke and a high-stress household. Here are some general cleanliness guidelines:

1. The study results revealed that overall, dogs and cats do not cause an increased risk of allergies when a baby is exposed to them, so your pet can stay.

2. A pacifier that has been on the floor can be rinsed off with hot water. There is no need for immediate sterilization, but don't “rinse” it with your own mouth. If the pacifier falls on the street, rinse it with hot, soapy water. Rinse all pacifiers in equal parts white vinegar and water once a day, to prevent fungus.

3. Store bath toys outside of the bathtub to allow them to fully dry after use. Regularly replace toys that have holes in them (such as rubber ducks), since they tend to grow mold.

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4. Clean toys that your baby puts into his or her mouth regularly, by running them through the dishwasher.

5. Change your baby's bed linens at least once a week.

{ MORE: Can You Have the Kids at Home AND a Clean House? My Summer Experiment }

Will this study change your feelings – and possible guilt – about keeping up on housework? 

What do you think?

Why It’s Ok to Keep a Not-So-Clean House During Baby’s First Year of Life

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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