Does the thought of your new­born’s first bath strike fear into your heart? Get your self-con­fi­dence up with th­ese tips

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -


The prepa­ra­tion of the room in which you’ll be bathing your baby is im­por­tant. Close the win­dows, cur­tains and door so that the room stays nice and toasty and there’s no draught. Switch on the heater if it’s cold. Lay out a clean set of clothes for baby and open all the studs and but­tons. Have a clean nappy handy, as well as any cream you’re go­ing to use. A soft towel, face­cloth and soap have to be on hand. Tie up your hair and take off your watch and jewellery. There should be a dry spot, a chang­ing mat per­haps, where you can put baby down af­ter the bath to get him dressed.


You don’t need to clean your new­born’s mouth, but if you see a white coat­ing on the tongue or on the in­side of the mouth, it could be thrush. Take your baby to the pae­di­a­tri­cian.


You can cleanse your baby’s eyes with a moist cot­ton wool ball, one for each eye. Use boiled wa­ter that’s cooled down. Wipe gen­tly from the in­ner to the outer cor­ner to re­move any crusty bits. If your new­born’s eyes are clean, it’s not nec­es­sary to wipe them.


Wash the hair first. Hold baby with one arm and hand so that his head lies back and down. Place your thumb and a fin­ger over each of his ears. With the free hand, gen­tly pour wa­ter over his hair. Wash with baby sham­poo and rinse. Cra­dle cap is very com­mon, and cer­tainly not a sign of dirt. Don’t pick or scratch it. Rather rub with a lit­tle olive oil at night, which will help lift the crust so that you can wash it off with sham­poo the next day. It will take a cou­ple of days. If it be­comes worse, ask your phar­ma­cist to rec­om­mend some­thing.


Your new­born baby’s ears are very del­i­cate and don’t have to be cleaned on the in­side. You can wipe the outer ear and be­hind the ear with a moist face­cloth if spit or milk gets stuck there. En­sure baby’s outer ear doesn’t bend when you put her down on her side. Take care not to get wa­ter into the ears dur­ing bath time. Don’t try and pick ear­wax out – it pro­tects the ear against dirt and dust. Re­mem­ber to wash in the folds of baby’s neck. Your lit­tle one is not yet able to lift her head, and milk and saliva eas­ily run down the neck and get stuck there.


The vagina is self-cleans­ing, so don’t wash deep in your daugh­ter’s vagina. A white dis­charge is nor­mal and should just be left alone. A baby boy’s fore­skin should also be left well alone. It can’t be pulled back just yet. If you do pull it back, you can dam­age it. So just move the skin very gen­tly as far as it will nat­u­rally go when you’re wash­ing it.


Clean your baby’s cord with cot­ton wool and dis­in­fect­ing al­co­hol. Don’t be scared – clean­ing isn’t painful. Give the area around the navel a proper wipe ev­ery time you change a nappy. The stub should fall off by it­self af­ter 10 days. See a doc­tor if there’s free bleed­ing or a foulsmelling dis­charge.


Ba­bies are often born with long nails; be­cause they’re sharp, your new­born can scratch her­self quite badly. Keep the nails short – it’s mostly not even nec­es­sary to clip them. You can roll them off with your fin­gers af­ter a bath, when the nails are usu­ally soft. You can also use a file or nail clip­per when she’s asleep. If your baby still keeps scratch­ing her­self, put her in mit­tens so her nails don’t come in con­tact with her face.


Your new baby’s skin is still very thin and sen­si­tive, and birth­marks are very com­mon. Up to 40 per­cent of new­borns get baby acne, usu­ally when they’re a few weeks old. It mostly oc­curs on the cheeks, chin and some­times on your baby’s fore­head and is often more vis­i­ble when your baby is hot or when the skin gets ir­ri­tated by spit or rough fab­ric. It’s caused by the preg­nancy hor­mones that are still cir­cu­lat­ing in baby’s body. Don’t squeeze or use any cream! It doesn’t bug your baby and will dis­ap­pear by it­self. Many ba­bies will have a “stork bite” on their eye­lids and be­hind their head, just above the neck. This also dis­ap­pears nat­u­rally. Only use skin­care prod­ucts that have been ap­proved for new­borns. Put some cream on af­ter bath­time to pre­vent the skin from get­ting dry.

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