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Don’t you just wish Newborn babies came out holding a manual in their tiny little hands to hand over to their anxious waiting mommies a clue on how to care for them? How to clean them, their favourite food, when they’re likely to throw a tantrum – you know just the basics to get you by as a mum!
I most certainly do!
They’re ever so tiny, but their needs and wants put a mountain to shame! And trying to learn and master all those all between tantrums and lack of sleep can be hard.
So, I’ve kindly set out a way to care for new-born baby’s hygiene from head to toe.
Most of the hygiene care will be done during baby’s bath, However, it’s not a necessity to do them during a bath. Simply because, to be honest, babies don’t need to bath every single day like us grownups! So how frequent your baby baths is entirely up to you.
If you are going to give your baby a bath, make sure you have EVERYTHING you need for the bath prepared and ready at hand. You might not need everything, but just in case, always have everything. These things will include:
- Cotton wool
- Sterile water
- Water thermometer
- Shampoo (if needed)
- Lotion/oil (if needed)
- Diaper cream/ointment
- Change of clothes
- Warm water ready – at the correct temperature.
You should Never ever leave you baby unattended for ANY length of time for WHATEVER reason! If you realise that you’ve forgotten something for the bath, for example, shampoo, then for that bath, do without it and wash baby’s hair on the next wash.
Once you’re all prepared, then it’s time to start cleaning your baby.
I would not recommend using any bath soaps for washing the baby especially a new-born baby. Plain warm water is enough to clean baby.
As mentioned above, plain warm water is enough to wash your baby and get them clean. Soaps and shampoos can be done without until your baby is a little bit older. However, I do understand that some babies are born with or develop cradle cap. Even though Cradle Cap does no harm to the baby, some mothers find its unsightly and therefore choose to get rid of it.
The best way to rid of Cradle Cap is by gently rubbing some shampoo specified for removing Cradle Cap onto baby’s head and gently massage it. PLEASE AVOID RUBBING OR COMBING OR BRUSHING your baby’s head. The baby’s scalp is still very delicate and you do not want to avoid rubbing the soft spot (this is the pulsating bit on top of baby’s head)
Repeat shampooing during each wash until the Cradle Cap clears.
Some babies are born with sticky eyes. This is very common and to clean these simply use sterile water either purchased or simply boiled cooled down water and cotton wool.
Wash your hands thoroughly before starting this procedure.
With your clean hands soap a piece of cotton wool in the sterile water. Gently clean or wipe your baby’s eyes starting from the inside (near the nose bridge) working outwards to the end of the eye (towards the ear).
It important to use one cotton wool for each cleaning this is to reduce cross contamination. Repeat until the eyes are clean.
If you find that you’ve wipes your baby’s eyes 3 times and the stickiness is not going away, then leave it. Do not over rub baby’s eyes as this will irritate your baby and she simply will not lie it. Move on to the next part and leave the eyes until the next wash.
It’s common for new-born babies be born with wax in their ears. You can imagine they’ve been submerged in water for the best part of 9 months!
It is ok for this to be present. And by no means should you try to remove any wax or anything that is present in the ears. Especially trying to use a cotton bud. You should never ever, ever try to clean your new-born baby’s ears. Your new-born baby’s ears will self-clean in time. However, it is ok to take some warm damp cotton wool and clean the outside and behind the ear.
Yes, your baby will have a dirty nose from time to time, even when they don’t have a cold. But you should NEVER EVER try to fish it out to try to dig for gold in your poor baby’s nose. This is dangerous and should never be done. If you baby has a messy nose, take a damp warm cotton wool and gently wipe down from the tip of the nose to the upper lip. Any mucus/ snot that is loose will come away with the wipe. Not all of it will come out, but don’t obsess over it.
It’s ok for your new-born baby to have a dirty nose. It’s not causing anyone any harm!
Sometimes new-born babies develop a white coating on the tongue. This can just be because of residue from the milk after feeds.
This coating doesn’t usually bother your baby and it causes no harm to the baby.
However, if it bothers you, the white coating on the tongue can easily be cleaned by wrapping a dumb piece of cotton wool that has been dipped in the sterile water around your cream finger and gently swapping the town of your baby.
If you find that the coating does not come up with the tongue, then this could be oral thrush rather than just the white coating.
New-born babies are more at risk of developing Oral thrush.
Oral thrush is caused by a yeast Fungus. This is usually harmless and treatable.
If your baby becomes reluctant to feed or is pulling away from the breast frequently, Consult your GP or Paediatrician for medical advice.
The umbilical cord itself is tough and rubbery in texture. However, whatever you do and however you handle your baby, always remember that the umbilical cord is attached to your baby. So, avoid pulling or tugging it at all times until the umbilical cord completely heals.
The base (stump) of the umbilical cord will require care and to avoid infection, will need to be cleaned daily.
To clean the base of the umbilical cord, dip some cotton wool in some sterile water.
With your clean, freshly washed hand, squeeze any excess water from the cotton wool and wipe around the belly button.
Discard the used cotton wool, do not dip it back into the sterile water. Use a different clean piece for each wipe.
Do not put any cream around the base or anywhere around the umbilical cord (unless prescribed by your GP).
Try avoiding dressing your baby in tight fitting clothes such as bodysuits and these can stick to the baby’s umbilical cord causing them to tag and pull when you try to remove them.
Each baby is different, always remember that. The time it takes for the umbilical cord to completely drop off is different. So don’t try to pull it off just because your baby hasn’t lost their umbilical cord yet and your friends baby has. Don’t do it. Even when you think it’s hanging on its last legs! Just leave to fall off naturally.
BOTTOM (Diaper Changes and Nappy Rash)
Be sure to change your new-born baby’s diaper at least every 2 – 3 hours (less if you can)
I know you use up a lot of diapers but honestly, I would rather use up a couple more diapers than let my new-born baby stay a pool of wee – But don’t wake up your baby JUST to change the diaper.
When doing diaper changes, apply some nappy cream to protect your baby’s bottom from getting nappy rash – Sudacreme.
If your baby develops nappy rash, I recommend using Metaniun Nappy Rash Ointment. I cannot recommend this enough. It quickly gets rid of nappy rash. I’ve used it on both my kids and works miracles! So it’s always handy to have a tube in the house.
WASHING GENITAL AREAS
When washing a baby girls Genitals, use a separate washcloth from the one you use for the rest of the body.
For a new-born baby, less than 4 weeks old, it’s still ok to use cotton wool. If using cotton wool, use one piece of cotton wool for each clear.
Clean starting from the front and working your way back. Please do not work from the back to the front as there’s a risk of introducing infections.
TIP – do not use baby powder during diaper changes on a baby girl. This is discouraged due to a high risk of the talcum powder going up your baby’s genital and into their body.
Washing your baby boys down below is a lot easier than watching the girls. Just like a baby girl use one class for down below separate from one that you use to watch the rest of the body. Do not use any soaps to wash your baby’s genitals. If your baby is not circumcised, do not try to pull the foreskin back to try and clean it. Not only is this painful, but you are potentially making a pathway for bacteria. Keep it closed and only wash the outside.
TOENAILS AND FINGER NAILS
It’s not recommended to cut new-born baby’s finger and toe nail. Their nails are still soft and fused to their fingertips. Making super easy for you to trap and cut baby’s skin together with the nails. Instead, place baby mittens on their hands to stop them scratching themselves.
If the nails get dirt under them, simply use a baby nail brush to gently brush out the dirt.
Leave the nail cutting until the baby is at least 8 weeks.
It’s important to remember to cut your babies nails when they’re happy, preferably when their asleep when there’s minimal movement. Make sure you are not distracted by anything while you cut your baby’s nails – this is a job that requires your full attention.
I would recommend using the baby nail kit to care for baby’s nails.
Yes, massaging is not technically part of hygiene care. However, they are part of body care and baby massages at ever so helpful with relaxing your baby. I gave my babies massages every single time after their bath. Usually, before dressing them using the Waitrose want you butter or Waitrose coconut butter to massage somebody’s to help them relax. Most especially just before bedtime.
Massaging your baby does not just help them relax or wine down, but it also encourages muscle growth and activates the nerves in and around the limbs.
These are just some of the things that you are going to have to keep up to keep your baby’s hygiene shipshape.
Of course, we all know that hygiene does not end there if I’ve missed any areas, be sure to let me know. I would also love to hear about the kind of routine you have when washing your baby!
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