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June 22, 2018

As mothers, we are responsible to keep our little one’s environment as germ-free as possible. We should be watchful of the air they breathe, the day-to-day objects they touch, and especially what they eat since their immune system is still developing, and with that, a higher chance of getting sick from the germs and viruses they come in contact with.

One of the most common things our baby comes into physical contact with is our breasts. Now that we are mothers, our breasts are not just a body part, but also our child’s basic source of nutrition. Our internal health should be on a tip-top shape to be able to produce the most nutritious breast milk, but we should also consider external factors such as breast hygiene so we could deliver it to them as germ-free as possible. Here are our 7 tips for hygienic breastfeeding:

 

Handwashing

Most of us take handwashing for granted, and it is quite funny how we are taught at an early age on how to properly do it, but somehow fail to maintain this practice as we grow older. Our hands come in contact with the nastiest day-to-day objects filled with bacteria like money, door knobs, and even our cellphone (yes, a lot of bacteria consider our mobile devices as their home). So before we perform tasks that have anything to do with our little ones (ie cleaning them up, feeding them, or even just cuddling with them), make sure you rub your hands with soap vigorously for at least 20 seconds.

 

All natural sweat

Sweating is a natural process that detoxifies our bodies. And as much as we want to be “hygienic”  by limiting the occurrence of this natural phenomenon, we should allow our body to sweat as it is its natural way of flushing out toxins (ie using deodorant too much or not engaging in exercise). In line with the use of deodorants, did you know that chemicals in antiperspirants will do you more harm than good? In fact, there have been studies that show sweat has natural antimicrobial peptides calleddermcidin. So the next time you put on deodorant or skip on your daily exercise, think again!

 

Rub the excess breast milk after feeding

If you’ve been breastfeeding for a while, you’ll notice after that there’s a small damp area on your bra/shirt. By wiping your breast after breastfeeding, you’ll be able to keep your breast pads clean, and also help prevent leakage on your bras and shirts.

 

Do not use any scented soaps or alcohol on your nipples

Cleaning agents like scented soap or alcohol may have ingredients that are too harsh for your nipples and cause dryness, cracking or soreness. Our breast, specifically the nipple area, is extra sensitive after pregnancy so the risk of skin damage caused by this cleaning agents is higher. So you may want to skip out on fancy soaps the next time you go grocery shopping as all natural is the way to go!

 

Avoid tight and restrictive bras

Nursing bras exist because our breasts are physiologically different now that we are lactating, specifically, they are bigger and more sensitive. Choosing the right nursing bra + breast pad combination will help you experience maximum comfort and at the same time absorb excess moisture brought about by lactation.

 

Wash your breast pumps regularly

As I mentioned earlier, everything that comes in contact with our little ones should be kept as germ-free as possible, and this includes our breast pumps. Sure, they don’t directly come in physical contact with our baby, but if we don’t sanitize it regularly, it may accumulate bacteria that can be transferred to our breast milk. Just like washing your hands regularly, breast pumps need to be sterilized as well.

 

Change your nursing bra and nursing pads everyday

Nursing bras and pads get dirtier faster compared to regular ones as they are not only exposed to sweat but also breast milk. Cleaning them regularly will help avoid the accumulation of bacteria caused by dried milk.

 

Now that we are mothers, we should also consider our little ones in planning our day-to-day tasks that are related to personal hygiene as what we touch, breath, and even eat also comes into contact with them. Following these 7 basic tips will not only make you feel clean inside and out but also help lessen your baby’s risk of getting sick from bacteria contamination.