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If you have a baby on the way, then trust me, your life is about to turn upside down (in the best way!) Where once lay a (mostly) clean, neat and tidy home now lies a battlefield - full of baby furniture, nappies, assorted babygrows... Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, but you get where I’m coming from!
My baby girl Penelope is now almost 6 weeks old (I'm not sure where the time has gone!) and although she currently sleeps for the majority of the day, even a tiny newborn baby already makes home maintenance a lot more difficult. I'm sure she can sense whenever I start to tidy or clean somewhere, as that's usually when she wakes up and demands to be fed!
As she gets older, though, she will start to crawl/walk and make a lot of mess. When we moved into our house just over a year ago (a few months before getting pregnant), B and I chose a light carpet throughout the majority of the house and a light, beige sofa. Yep... that was a mistake. I'm already mourning my pristine sofa and carpets, because I know it's only a matter of time before they get damaged. See photo below!
So before that happens to you too, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the ways you could 'stain proof' (is that a word?) your home to prevent as many stains as possible:
Try to avoid carpeted floors
Of course, this is easier said than done. Carpets are soft, cosy and perfect for a baby who will want to crawl everywhere and explore. Unfortunately though, carpets are prone to stains - particularly light grey ones like the one that runs through my entire house! As cute as they are, babies can make a real mess with just about anything and everything, leading to spillages or stains on your precious carpets.
So, if you are planning on redecorating or moving before baby arrives, hard wood or laminate flooring in your main areas would be the safest bet. Anything that could be spilt on these surfaces can be effortlessly wiped away, preventing any stains from settling in. You could always get a rug to cover your cold flooring if you still want the 'cosy vibes', but maybe don't choose white or cream rugs - choose colours that are good at hiding stains!
Get a tablecloth for your dining table
Now obviously, your baby isn't going to be sitting at the table for quite a while, and even when they do, they'll be in their own highchair with a little tray in front of them - free to be as messy as they'd like! However, I can imagine that that little tray won't catch every spillage and item of food - particularly if your baby is a gifted thrower.
Personally, we have a glass table, so the likelihood of it getting stained is slim. But if you have an expensive wooden table, for example, then you're going to want to take the steps to save it from the splashes and stains. Protecting it with a tablecloth is your best bet, but opt for restaurant-quality tablecloths. They are designed to pick up stains really well and wash them out pretty effectively. So, you can either quickly scrub them out or pop the whole thing in the washing machine and your table will be stain-free!
Protect your sofa and furniture
As your baby gets older and starts being more mobile, it won't be long before they are terrorising your living room. If they're anything like I was as a child, they'll be climbing and jumping on all of the furniture and using the sofa cushions to build a den! Whilst this is obviously great for developing an imagination, growing stronger and developing their motor skills, I'm sure it won't be long before something gets stained.
All it takes is one drink spillage or dropped food to cause a long-term stain, and there's nothing more frustrating and off-putting than a stubborn stain! Luckily, when we purchased our sofa (the Honeycomb from Sofology, if you're interested!), we paid a little extra to insure our sofa in the event of accidental damage. This means that if (God forbid!) we ever ripped or stained our sofa, then Sofology will come out and replace the damaged part for us.
If you don't have insurance for your furniture, don't worry! There are a few other steps you can take to protect your furniture. You could layer something over the top of your sofa to protect the actual cushions and material from any damage. Any blanket or throw will do the trick, or you can even get sofa protectors. These have been specifically designed to protect your sofa from spills and anything else - most of them are actually waterproof. So, if your baby spills a drink, the protector soaks it up and keeps the sofa itself nice and dry.
Use a stain guard on your walls
As soon as your baby starts to walk, their tiny hands will be touching and grabbing anything to help steady themselves. Unfortunately, this often means sticky, dirty hands will be all over your walls! If your home is anything like mine and full of pristine white walls, I'm sure this will be as much of an issue for you as it would be for me.
Also, I've been warned that babies and toddlers have a tendency to draw on walls (ahhhh!), which means you could have crayon, pencil or (even worse!) pen stains on your walls. Applying a stain guard will help to avoid stains. This is basically a coating of paint that you can apply to your walls to protect the paint underneath. It can stop a lot of common stains from appearing, but it also makes it easier to wipe dirt from your walls. Instead of having stains that are deep-rooted and won’t come away without having to repaint your entire house, you'll have marks that you can wipe off with a damp cloth. Much better!
I think that, with having a baby, it's inevitable that your home is going to get messier. You'll have new furniture like bouncy chairs and baby gyms cluttering up your space, and (as much as you can try to prevent them) spillages and stains are just going to happen at some point. Although you might not be able to stop the damage from happening, you can make life easier for yourself by using some of these tips to make your home easier to clean. Being a parent means being in a constant state of cleaning up after them - but it's definitely all worth it! What are your top tips for stain-proofing (or baby-proofing!) your home? Have you ever had any baby damage disasters? Let me know in the comments below!