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Your Guide to Tackling Baby Messes: From Sticky Faces to Stained Clothes

Welcoming a new baby into your life is a joyous occasion, but it also comes with its fair share of messes. From spit-ups and food-splattered mealtimes to unexpected diaper blowouts, you’re faced with cleaning up your little one’s messes on a daily (or hourly!) basis. It can sometimes feel like you’re in a never-ending battle against baby-generated chaos. In this guide, we’ll share some invaluable tips and strategies for managing and even embracing the messes that come with parenting.

Managing Mealtime Mayhem

Mealtime messes are a rite of passage for parents. Whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or have already moved into toddlerhood, feeding time can be messy. Make cleaning up as hassle-free as possible with a few key items.

Keep cloth bibs on hand to catch any dribbles or spit ups during feeding. When your baby starts solids, invest in a quality highchair with a removable tray for easy cleaning. Stock up on washable, waterproof bibs to minimize laundry messes. And place a waterproof mat beneath the highchair to catch any dropped food. (Or you could always consider getting a dog.)

Keep a supply of baby-safe, wipeable placemats for quick cleanup of food spills once your little one starts eating at the table. And use nose and face wipes that are specially designed for baby’s delicate skin to gently clean their faces after meals. For dishes, consider using a baby-friendly dish soap that’s free from fragrances and harsh chemicals and is still tough enough for all your dirty bottles and dishes.

Conquering Diaper Disasters

Diaper blowouts can be daunting, to put it mildly. But there are ways to make the mess a little less unpleasant. Set up a diaper changing station stocked with diapers, wipes, changing pads, and fresh clothes in multiple spots throughout your house. That way, when a blowout happens, you’ll have supplies nearby no matter where you are.

And don’t forget to make sure your diaper bag is fully stocked before leaving the house. A diaper blowout at home is one thing, but dealing with one on-the-go is another beast altogether. It’s best to be prepared! Not only do you need extra diapers, but you may also want to pack extra clothing for baby AND yourself for those really big blowouts or spit-ups.

Then, once baby is all clean and you’ve disposed of the soiled diapers, do a quick wipe-down of the changing area with a baby-safe cleanser or disinfectant. And having your favorite air freshener on hand doesn’t hurt.

Tackling Laundry Challenges

Between food spills and diaper damage, laundry stains are par for the course. A powerful laundry spray is your best friend. Choose one that’s baby-safe and fragrance-free, but still effective in removing stains and odors from baby’s clothes, bibs, bedding, blankets, and cloth diapers. And not just effective for baby items, but for the whole family’s dirty laundry! Pre-treat the stains as soon as possible to help prevent them from setting.

Then there’s the sheer volume of laundry. Creating a laundry schedule that works for your family may help keep things manageable. Whether it’s doing a load every day or designating specific laundry days during the week, having a routine can prevent laundry from piling up. Or instead of waiting until you have a full load of one type of clothing, wash in batches by mixing smaller loads to save time and energy.

Being Prepared

Babies and messes go together. There’s no way to avoid it. Preparing yourself ahead of time can save you a lot of grief. Keep essential supplies like burp cloths and spare clothes at the ready. Place small storage bins or baskets in each room to make cleaning up toys quick and easy. Or as your child becomes a toddler, you could even designate a specific area in the home as a “mess zone” where they get free reign to have fun.

When you’re away from home, pack a portable kit in your diaper bag with items like stain removers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and disposable bags.

Take Some Pressure Off Yourself

Go easy on yourself, especially in the early days when you’re adjusting to being a new parent. Clean enough is good enough. Your home doesn’t have to be spotless. The mess is just proof that a wonderful, active little one lives there.

It’s okay to lower your expectations about how tidy your home will be during these first years. Your child will eventually get older and be able to help clean. In the meantime, you can incorporate cleaning up the baby’s messes into your daily routine with a quick 10-minute sweep. Take 10 minutes while they nap or at the end of the day to load the dishwasher, pick up toys, or put away some laundry. There will be less mess to face, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something!

The biggest thing to remember, though, is that the mess can wait. Your baby will only be a baby for so long. It’s ok to let go of the need to clean and spend this time with your little one.

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