Grooming Your Newborn Baby: A Guide For First-Time Parents
Need tips on newborn baby grooming? Find out how to handle your first weeks with your baby!
In this article:
- When Should I Start Giving My Baby a Bath?
- How Do I Handle the Umbilical Cord?
- Why Should I Be Cautious About the Umbilical Cord?
- What Clothes Do I Put on My Baby in the First Weeks?
- What Other Important Things Do I Need to Keep in Mind When Grooming My Baby During the First Weeks?
Questions for Newborn Baby Grooming Answered
When Should I Start Giving My Baby a Bath?
It’s best to hold off bath time during your baby’s first weeks outside your womb. Vernix caseosa usually covers a newborn’s skin. This layer acts as a barrier, protecting your baby’s skin while inside your uterus.
Vernix Caseosa Definition: A creamy, white substance made up of oil from the baby’s sweat glands. Learn more about this protective skin barrier here.
This coating keeps your precious little one’s skin healthy and moisturized while warding off bacteria once they get out of your womb. The vernix starts to go away on its own about five to ten days after birth. This should be a good time to start giving your little one a bath.
Another reason to forego bath time in the first days is that babies already have a difficult time regulating their temperature, and bathing doesn’t help with that.
How Do I Handle the Umbilical Cord?
The umbilical cord is how nutrients are transported from you to your baby during pregnancy. The cord is cut close to your baby’s body during birth, leaving him with a stump on his belly button. This will usually come off on its own in about one to three weeks.
To avoid infection in the area, you must observe caution when grooming your baby while it’s still there. You must keep the cord clean and dry.
Some pediatricians recommend using rubbing alcohol to clean the base, but some are against it because alcohol can irritate your baby’s skin. It’s advisable to allow the area to be exposed to air as much as possible for it to dry and heal faster.
Refrain from giving your baby a bath in a sink or tub while the umbilical cord is still in his/her belly button. Give only sponge baths as much as possible.
But if you do give your baby a full bath, fan the belly button area to allow the cord to dry immediately. Don’t try to rub it dry as that can cause irritation.
Why Should I Be Cautious About the Umbilical Cord?
An important part of newborn care is properly handling the umbilical cord. It is a sensitive area, which needs extra care. Otherwise, it may be at risk of infection.
In some cases, problems with the umbilical cord can point to a condition that needs to be addressed immediately. Contact your pediatrician immediately when you begin to observe these:
- Continuous bleeding
- The base is swollen or appears to be red
- Has yellowish or white pus
- Has a foul-smelling discharge
- Seemingly painful to your baby when you touch it or the skin near it
RELATED: 11 Baby Care Tips New Moms Wish They Knew
What Clothes Do I Put on My Baby on the First Weeks?
The perfect clothing for a newborn baby is a cute onesie. They are specifically designed to provide your baby’s body with ample covering and protection while also making it easy for you to do the diaper changes.
A wrap-style shirt will also work as it takes out the task of having to pull a shirt over your baby’s head when he needs changing. Consider adding layers to keep your baby warm during the cold weather.
Keep your baby bundled in a blanket when you’re indoors. Let your little one wear a jacket whenever you’re going out or in the car. A soft skull cap, mittens, and socks are also among the things you need for a newborn.
What Other Important Things Do I Need to Keep in Mind When Grooming My Baby During the First Weeks?
Always pat your baby dry after bath time before you put on his clothes and diaper. While your baby’s skin is already soft and smooth, you can still apply a baby-friendly lotion to keep the skin hydrated. This can help avoid dry patches and cracking, which makes the skin vulnerable to fungus or bacteria.
Wash the genitals as any other body part and rinse the area with warm water gently. If you need to apply cream due to diaper rash, make sure the area is completely dry before application.
Refrain from using baby powder to dry the area, or any other body part for the matter, since fine dust can easily be inhaled by the baby.
Be gentle with your baby’s head while cleaning his scalp. The head and scalp are very delicate and can scratch easily. Cradle caps are normal and usually disappear on their own in the first months.
You can help loosen them up by applying water or olive oil and using a soft cloth or brush. You can also opt to apply coconut oil or shea butter after a bath.
Cradle Cap Definition: Scaly, patchy, greasy spots on the infants head that are caused by the mother’s hormones or a fungal infection. It is the baby counterpart of dandruff in adults.
Find out more newborn baby basic grooming tips from Babies Today:
Being a first-time parent can be overwhelming, and you might have a lot of questions on how to care for a newborn baby. Baby grooming is usually a task most parents feel uneasy about since newborns are sensitive and should be held with care all the time.
Ready yourself for the tasks ahead once you get home by asking your doctor and the nurses all you need to know before leaving the hospital.
Do you have any questions about newborn baby grooming that we missed? Let us know in the comments section!
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