Keeping a newborn baby clean can be a challenge for first time parents. Here are 6 ways to know if you are not cleaning your baby right. Identify the common mistakes mums make while cleaning their baby. Avoid them and keep your baby clean and healthy.
Bathing too often
Newborn babies don’t do very much during the day, so they don’t need to have a full bath every day. Bathing a young baby too often can lead to the skin becoming very dry. A full bath twice a week is enough for infants, as long as the important parts are being cleaned daily. ‘Topping and tailing’ daily using a bowl filled with warm water, and some cotton wool, to keep the face and bottom clean is a good idea.
Not cleaning the skin folds
It’s important to keep the folds of your baby’s skin clean and dry, to avoid the possibility of infection. It can be difficult to keep all the creases clean especially as baby gets chunkier! Pay close attention to the area under the neck, milk can often dribble down to this area during a feed.
Using too many products
Newborn babies have very sensitive skin which is easily irritated by bath products with fragrance. It’s best to just use plain water to clean your baby for the first several months. If you choose to use shampoos and soaps in your newborn’s bath, it’s best to opt for those specially designed for babies, which are fragrance-free. Natural options are best, for example lavender is great to use at bedtime to help your little one relax.
Improper cord care
Caring for the umbilical stump until it falls off is something which worries a lot of parents. However, looking after the area is actually quite simple. It’s ideal to avoid bathing a newborn until the stump falls off, as it should be kept as dry as possible. Check the area daily for signs of infection, which include redness, a bad smell or pus coming from the navel. Also ensure when dressing your infant that their diaper isn’t rubbing against the umbilical clip, and keep clothing loose and comfortable. After the stump falls off, usually within two weeks of birth, you can wash the navel and keep it clean just like any other part of the body.
Using water which is too hot
Bath scalds are a very common cause of injury in young babies. It’s a great idea to install a bath thermometer on the faucet, which clearly changes colour to show if the water is running at the correct temperature for an infant’s bath or not. Check the temperature of the water using the elbow – it should not feel hot, just warm. Don’t make the water too cool though, as young babies get cold quickly.
Not preparing for bathtime properly
It’s vital to make sure you have everything you’ll need for bathing your infant before putting them in the tub. Babies can drown in even the tiniest depth of water, so they can’t be left alone for even a second while you go to grab supplies. It’s a good idea to keep a spare towel handy when bathing a baby, in case they have an accident when getting dressed. For the same reason, it’s also worth keeping some spare diapers and a clean set of clothes, just in case.
Some parents like using a bath seat or support to leave both hands free for washing the baby. These are a great idea, but it’s important to remember that a baby still needs supervision at all times when using one of these seats.
[See also: How to care for your baby’s genitals]
Contributor: Emily Dick who has recently graduated with an Honors Degree from the Open University in the field of social science. She currently creates content for Buzzparent.com, where she enjoys writing about a range of topics such as parenting tips and advice and reviewing the latest toys and games for children. Emily is currently raising her two-year-old daughter and two pet cats.