Many new parents view caring for a new family member as a difficult task.
Certainly your baby is absolutely gorgeous and probably the smallest and sweetest human ever born, but even the most impressive babies need a little grooming every now and then.
And, as you’ve already realized, newborns don’t come with manuals, so some expert tips have been put together to help keep your baby looking (and feeling) as good as possible.
How to take care of the umbilical cord?
This remarkable organ that kept you nourished throughout your pregnancy has a bit of yuck factor outside of the uterus when you’re waiting for it to dry out and fall off, which usually takes one to two weeks.
With each diaper change, gently cleanse the tummy area with warm water, allowing the cord to stay dry.
Avoid tucking it into the diaper, which Michelle Ponti, a pediatrician in London, Ontario, says could trap moisture and make the area “pretty dirty and stinky” pretty quickly.
If you notice any odor, redness, swelling, cat, or if your baby seems feverish or irritable, see your healthcare provider.
During a bath, it’s okay if the cord gets a little wet, as long as it is allowed to air dry afterward, says pediatric naturopath Hillary Dinning of Calgary. And please note that you should not hit or hit the sensitive area by accident.
Expect to give your baby a bath for about the first week of life.
Most of the newborn’s skin is covered in a creamy, white substance called vernix caseosa, which is largely made up of oils from a baby’s sweat glands. This layer acts as a barrier, protecting your baby’s skin in the womb.
After birth, Dinning says this natural coating continues to protect bacteria while keeping your baby’s skin moisturized and sensitive. Within five to 10 days, the vernix will go away on its own, and it is a good time to give your baby his first bath.
In the first month of life, Ponti says that all your baby needs to stay fresh and clean is a sponge bath (rather than a dunk in the sink or tub).
Wash your baby’s body with a soft cloth soaked in warm water, using soap only when needed (eg, after a dirty spit or a difficult diaper change) up to three times a week.
You may also need to clean up other small eating disorders and changes in between.
Once you start giving your baby more intense baths after the first month, one to three times a week is enough to keep them clean. Ponti recommends fragrance-free soap specially formulated for babies.
Remember that soaps formulated for babies don’t foam much, so “don’t keep pouring more and more into the water, expecting bubbles,” explains Ponti.
When washing, treat your baby’s genitals like any other part of the body in the bath by gently rinsing the area with warm water, from front to back, so that girls do not spread bacteria.
Ponti says to dry the baby after the bath to prevent his skin from getting cold, then let the skin air dry before applying a barrier cream (only when you notice it is a little red from the diaper rash).
He also cautions about baby powder to help dry your baby’s genitals, or for any other purpose, as fine powder can easily travel to your baby’s lungs.
If your son has been circumcised, bathe him carefully with lukewarm water every day for a full week after surgery. After each bath, apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the end of the penis to protect it from the diaper while it is tender and healing.
Continue to apply this topical barrier after each bath and diaper change until completely healed, usually within 10 days.
It’s true; Your baby’s skin is already perfectly smooth, but it is recommended that you apply a suitable baby lotion on a regular basis to keep your skin hydrated, “allowing it to act as a good barrier against infection.”
Dry patches are also prone to Cracks, which can make the area vulnerable to bacteria or fungi.
Around two to four weeks of age, it is very common for babies to develop an acne rash on the face, with small pimples covering their cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. They can even spread to the body.
They are caused by the mother’s hormones still circulating in the baby’s body, so there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
But don’t panic, this ugly duckling stage is temporary and will resolve in two to six weeks. “It can be tempting to choose it or wash it or cream it,” says Dinning, adding that there isn’t much parents can do to speed up the process.
Just clean your face with lukewarm water at bath time and never pick up pimples that could delay healing. However, see your healthcare provider if the rash gets worse over time, as it could be an allergy, eczema, or a symptom of something more serious.
Not only parents and caregivers should be aware of fontanelles, which are soft spots on a baby’s head where the skull bones have not yet fused together, the skin on the baby’s scalp is also very delicate and can be scratched easily.
Avoid rubbing the scalp too hard while shampooing your baby’s hair, and look at the crib lid, waxy spots that often form on the baby’s head.
Opinions differ as to why babies develop these spots – it could be another reaction to mom’s hormones or a form of yeast infection. But they are very common in babies three months and older.
The stitches come off on their own in a few months, parents can help loosen the stains by moistening their baby’s head with water or olive oil, and then gently encouraging the scales to be lifted with a brush or soft cloth.
Because the scales on the crib top can be itchy in some babies, Dinning advises applying a moisturizing layer of shea butter or coconut oil after a bath.
Don’t worry about washing your baby’s hair too often. If you have a luxurious mane or just a few breakouts, Ponti says a gentle massage with unscented baby-formulated shampoo is all you need no more than a few times a week.
If your hair needs to be detangled, use a baby brush with extra soft bristles to avoid irritating the scalp.
Not only do they look neater, trimmed fingernails and toenails are also safer for babies. Dinning says they can scratch themselves, especially very young babies who haven’t figured out how to control their hands.
Because adult-sized clippers make it difficult to see if you are cutting your nails or skin, clippers are recommended to avoid hurting your baby.
Round the edges with a baby nail file to remove any sharp points, and if scissors make you nervous, Ponti says you don’t need to limit the nails until your child is a little older. Although some parents try to bite their nails, this is not recommended because it can spread bacteria or break the skin.
Your baby’s ears, like yours, will clean themselves naturally, without the need for a cotton swab.
You can use a warm washcloth to clean any obvious drainage around the outer ear area, but leave only the inner ear. Even if you manage to get some wax out of the inner ear with a cotton swab, you run the risk of pressing harder.
We all have a small crust or discharge in our eyes from time to time.
The best way to remove it is to soak a baby wipe or cotton ball in clean water and gently rub the eye area, starting from the inner corner of the eye (closest to the nose) and working towards the outer corner.
Because cold and flu viruses can cause pink eye, also known as pink eye, if you are sick, wash your hands before handling your baby.
Watch for redness or discharge from the eyes, which could be a sign of conjunctivitis, or a more serious infection, which your doctor should watch for in both cases.
With your baby’s sweet breath, it is hard to believe that bacteria are camping in your baby’s mouth even before teeth arrive, but it is important to keep their gums clean and healthy by wiping them daily with a clean, damp cloth.
Once teeth appear, brush every day with a soft brush designed for babies, which Ponti says will keep your new teeth healthy and establish good oral hygiene habits.
But don’t worry about using a child-safe (fluoride-free) toothpaste until your baby is one, as they are likely to swallow it.