Cleanliness being next to godliness is not something that goes down well with babies. If you can eat or suck it then it is all fine. This plays havoc with me, I until recently had problems with public loos and sitting anywhere that looks mildly unclean. I had to do some travelling to get over this. Now I worry I am becoming too lax.
This is my biggest issue, I don’t think I’ve had a pleasant baby changing experience away from home. We have a daughter that doesn’t want to sit still, so even if you find a half decent baby changing matt that has been cleaned in the last hour it is unlikely your daughter will stay there long enough to ensure you are not preventing her from absailing down to the floor while a half off nappy does its best to splash its contents over you and the wall/floor. This probably happens several times an hour in here and not only have I still not changed her but I am probably being covered in several different babies poop. It’s multiplied by the fact that you tend to hang out where other poop changers work. The next option is a direct change on the floor but god knows what mopped that floor. Argh, sod it. So changing is now do it quickly, don’t get covered in poo and hopefully your daughter does not catch a random poo disease. I actually prefer to change her in a park or random strip of land. Actually the best example of changing is John Lewis, check this photo out.
Along with every kids establishment comes a ball pit. You can guarantee that each ball is not washed nightly. Babies, toddlers, kids all leap in and a variety of things happen to each ball, coated in food, dribble and a variety of poop. The first thing you can guarantee is your daughter will find the dirtiest ball and suck it. I almost started asking when balls were last washed but decided against this. The thought of the reality of when a ball was last cleaned might push me over the edge. In some establishments you also have to deal with the cleanliness of grown adults in ball pits!
If you need to eat out then you need a high chair and a table. These are to be found in all good outlets of pizza express and Prezzos. You can’t eat in the same trendy places anymore as you really need just your basic meat and two veg. I actually read an article on top places to eat with kids in London so maybe we need to try doing something different. In fairness our local town, Hitchin, is fairly accommodating. However, again there is likely more leftover food and poop and wee. I am assured most places clean these daily but only daily! Always have wet wipes at the ready!
Your daughter is never entertained by her own toys alone and you can never sit inside all day every day. So every town has a variety of places to go with kids for coffee, cake and a play area. Toys that have been sucked and dribbled on a thousand times is now available for your daughter to do the same. I cringe every time I see her suck something for the first time. At best they are cleaned daily. I started out by ensuring she had a dummy in with every soft play or toy adventure but this was dropped. I can’t protect her and actually should I?
I’m actually quite happy with her getting dirty with nature. Soil, grass, sand in the mouth is all part of growing up. Each is covered in a variety of bacteria. Some good, some bad. Guessing that strength comes through adversity so maybe it’s not all that bad. So what’s the evidence.
Some googling tells me the following! Panic. There doesn’t seem to be any “scientific” studies on this but there are various opinions. Most based on anecdotal conversation about weeing in a ball pit and then not saying anything. As with all things, wee, poo and dirt on its own is not the danger, it is the type of germs being carried. If that child has the Nora virus then it is likely that will persist in the ball pit. That is the same as any shared space though. So unless you want your child In a hygenically sterile environment (and you’ve seen from hospitals that is hard) then accept that exposure might ultimately improve your child’s immune system.
There are many more studies to say that exposure to germs at a early age helps in later life with immunity. So I was a sickly child, caught everything, so maybe I should have spent more time in shared environments. Shared facilities also show that there is some form of social activity going on. You are In a public space after all. So this is good for other reasons. Some germs it is also good to get early. Chicken Pox is much less severe earlier in life, especially for women. So all of this points to embracing the ball pit, the dirt, the shared spaces. Get out and be social.
There will always be a slight cringe though.