Why New Moms Shouldn't Ask Visitors to Wash Hands Before Holding Baby

Health Check 36

handwashingWhen my best friend came to the hospital to meet my daughter, the very first thing she did was walk into the bathroom and wash her hands. She's a mom; she knew the drill. Becoming a crazy, obsessive hand washer is all part of keeping your baby safe. Or is it?

Moms! Fellow worshippers at the church of hand sanitizer and soap! Listen up! A new study shows all that anti-bacterial soap may not be such a good thing for our babies, especially if you're nursing.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville studied rats to see how triclocarban, a chemical often found in antibacterial bar soaps, affected them while nursing and in the womb. They determined exposure to the compound may reduce the survival rates of babies.


Handwashing_Hurt_Newborn_BabyMore from The Stir: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Exposing Your Baby to Other People's Germs

And here we thought we were protecting our babies from all those freaky germs out there that could make them sick? So much for that.

This isn't the first time anti-bacterial soaps have come under fire. Some folks suggest avoiding them entirely, and the FDA is reviewing their safety.

Not to mention there are plenty of studies out there about all the good things dirt can do for our kids, even itty bitty nursing babies!

So maybe it's time we all just relax a little bit? Pick up our kids without a surgeon-style scrub-down once in awhile? Just think of all the extra time you'd have for cuddling that cutie if you weren't spending it over the sink.

Do you use antibacterial soaps?


Image via © iStock.com/EMPPhotography

breastfeeding, baby health


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nonmember avatar kristi

I do use antibacterial soap and sanitizer. Out of courtesy of the parents I will ALWAYS wash my hands before handling a newborn. Mom and dad can expose them after I visit lol.

Corrie Wade

I wash my hands before holding a newborn out of courtesy too, but never really asked someone else to when handling my own. The only exception being younger kids, I have one and know how dirty their hands can get!

lalab... lalaboosh

I use Dr. Bronner's, I don't think that chemical is in their soap.

Shant... ShantiBantiMama

Me too lalaboosh, it is all natural.

p31lady p31lady

I never use anti bacterial soap or hand sanitizer.  Just plain old soap and warm water for me.  Also, don't judge me but I usually don't wash my hands before I hold a baby.  I always ask the mom or dad first if I can hold them, I just don't pick babies up, and I'm never conveniently near a sink and soap.  I'm a clean person though, and if I'm sick I keep away from babies.  Most moms I know don't care and want their baby's immune system to learn how to fight stuff off, and if its a mom I don't know, chances are I'm not going to be playing with their baby.

antfa... antfarmer101

I don't use antibacterial soap, but I will wash my hands with regular soap and water before I hold someone else's baby. It just seems kinda gross not to. Older kids, not so much...


kjjakjja kjjakjja

I asked everyone to wash their hands before holding my newborn. Especially in the hospital touching doors and elevator knobs. Didn't mind it when he got older, but I won't let anyone around him that I know is sick. If that makes me overprotective according to some study on rats, so be it.

RavnJay RavnJay

You can still wash your hands, just don't use antibacterial. Regular ol' soap is just fine! Less chemicals anyway. I prefer to use natural soap but not everyone does. 

Heather Capra

I worked in a hospital. Most infected patients in the hospital are infected because of lack of hand-washing. Hospitals are dirty dirty places, the door handles are down right disgusting. Absolutely wash you hands before touching a new born baby in the hospital!

April Joines

I did not know that, good article, though while I was reading it I still was worried about the kinds of germs that may be other people have , omg! I read in a child health and nutrition book about this and how important it is to wash properly especially around little babies, so, instead of using an antibacterial soap , maybe a nice all natural glycerin one would be better! Idk, thank you ! O ;) best wishes..

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