Newborns are adorable little bundles of germs. They have spent 9 months sloshing around in all kinds of fluids and there is no mudroom between a woman's womb and the outside world for them to wash off in. Once they are born, they don’t have the coordination to wash themselves nor the self-awareness to realize that they stink. None of that detracts from their beauty. It just means that you have to deal with their hygiene issues, starting with a bathing routine.
Fortunately for those of us who are a little skittish about slathering up an infant with soap and lowering him or her into a slippery sink, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that you don’t have to give your kid a bath very often.
Soap can be drying to the infant’s skin, and if you are scrupulous about cleaning the diaper area, the child needs a bath only three times a week. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t try) to clean inside the baby’s ear, and their nails can be trimmed right after the bath.
Beyond this, there are the 15 entries below which may require more care or at least watchful waiting. And hey, in a couple years, the kid will be able to bathe without you.
15 Newborns Have A Stinky Stump
The umbilical cord is basically a dried up husk once it is clamped and cut. It will fall off within 2 months if all goes well. But while it is attached to your little angel, it can get infected and make your kid uncomfortable. According to , the umbilical cord can start leaking a stinky yellowish liquid, and the skin at the base of the stump can get red.
The condition will cause the baby to be uncomfortable, and he or she might cry when you touch the cord or the skin next to it.
If you see any of these signs, or the cord starts actively bleeding, bring the baby to the pediatrician so they can treat it.
The best way to avoid this is to keep the stump dry while it is attached to the kid. Sponge bathe around the stump and keep the diaper folded below the stump. This will keep stump free of infections.
14 They Get Little Baby Pimples
Everybody seems to get acne. It’s on you, your hubby, your teenaged sibling, and now it is on your infant. According to the Mayo clinic, baby acne is common in infants. It tends to pop up (pun intended) after a couple of months and then goes away after a couple of months, like a bumpy will-o-the-wisp. It is from the same blocked sebaceous glands that will cause the pimples to come back in the teenage years.
You can help it by cleaning the baby ‘s face with warm water and mild baby soap. Dry the face gently and don’t pinch the bumps- it’ll irritate the skin. Avoid applying lotion or oil on the face, but beyond this, there isn’t much you can do. The pediatrician probably might prescribe a medicated cream, but over-the-counter medicines might be too harsh for the kid’s skin.
13 Newborn Rashes Are Inevitable
The dreaded diaper rash is practically guaranteed to appear at some point in an infant’s life. According to healthykids.org, it is more common in infants between 8 and 10 months, who have diarrhea, are starting to eat solid food, or are taking antibiotics.
The rash normally appears as redness or bumps in the diaper area, and generally clears up in 3 to 4 days.
The best way to avoid it is to change diapers quickly after their soiled and cleaning the area thoroughly.
The contents of diapers decompose, leaving digestive agents in the poop and chemicals in stale pee that irritates the skin. You can also let the baby air out sometimes. I knew a pediatrician who dried his sons’ rumps with a hairdryer when he changed their diapers. If the poor kid still gets a rash, spreading a little ointment on the rash between diaper changes will help heal it up faster. It should fade within 3 days. If it doesn’t, you can call a pediatrician for help.
12 Baby Cavities Are A Real Thing
Dental care is often far from a new parent’s mind. After all, most infants don’t have teeth. Of course, some babies do have natal teeth that fall out within a short while, and infants start teething around 3 months. Those early teeth ultimately fall out, too, but the shape they are kept in determines the health of the person’s adult teeth. According to WebMD.com, baby bottle tooth decay increases the risk that adult teeth will be crooked when the kid grows up.
Mostly, tooth decay in babies happens when sugary drinks stick to teeth and breed bacteria. It mostly affects the top teeth, but it can happen to other teeth as well. The best way to prevent this is to start brushing the baby’s teeth with a toothbrush as soon as they appear and wipe the gums clean with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after meals. You can skip the toothpaste, though. The baby should start seeing a dentist by his or her first birthday.
11 Little White Spots Of Yuck
Infants are constantly sticking things in their mouth, and this can lead to Candida yeast getting in where it shouldn’t. According to verywell.com, this leads to the baby having thrush. When the baby suckles or sucks on the bottle or pacifier, small tears can open in the mouth, and these moist tears are inviting to yeasts.
Thrush will cause pain when the baby is feeding or use a pacifier, white patches inside the cheeks, gums, and the tongue, and irregular-shaped patches that stick to the tissue.
It’s a sure sign that you should call the pediatrician so that the yeast infection can be treated. It’s especially important to cure quickly if you are breastfeeding. If it isn’t treated, a breastfeeding mom can contract thrush from the baby and mother and child can wind up passing the infection back and forth between them.
10 Infections Down There
I know that ‘nether regions’ is somewhat vague, but just know that I mean those baby boys who were circumcised can occasionally contract an infection in the area subject to the operation. According to healthykids.com, the doctor will cover the part with a light dressing and petroleum jelly. This dressing will fall off when the boy pees, and sometimes doctors will want to replace the dressing.
Some don’t want to replace it, but the important part is that you keep the area clean, especially of poop. If all goes well, the redness will fade. If not, every once in a while there is swelling or crusted yellow sores full of cloudy fluid. If that happens, definitely call the pediatrician. If all goes well, it should be fine. You can pull back the foreskin to make sure it is all right when you give him a bath.
9 Scalps A-Flaking
Babies frequently look blotchy and scaly, but sometimes they are more blotchy and scaly on their scalps. According to healthychildren.org, this type of rash on the scalp is called seborrheic dermatitis. Lay people call it cradle cap. It can spread to the creases of the neck, behind the ears, and armpits. It doesn’t discomfort the baby- it’s just unsightly.
Doctors think that it might be caused by a change in the mom’s hormones stimulating the infant’s oil glands to overproduce, but no one really knows what causes it.
What we do know, is that you can shampoo the scales off with mild baby shampoo. Your pediatrician might prescribe a hydrocortisone cream to speed up the process. The worst that can happen is that the skin can get infected with yeast, becoming redder and itchy. A little anti-yeast cream will fix that, though.
8 Looks Like Little Red Worms
Happily, ringworm is not any type of worm. According to beingtheparent.com, tinea corporis is a fungal infection that infants can pick up anywhere, as it is very infectious. Often, babies get it from infected pets, objects, and soil. The first sign is itchy circular lesions with a red border on the poor kid’s cheeks, chin, neck, and forehead. The centers are smooth and get worse in humid weather.
Your doctor can prescribe an anti-fungal cream, and if it is a very bad infection, the doctor might add oral medicine. Using only light cotton clothes will make your baby more comfortable. Unfortunately, the fungus is highly communicable. You will have to remove infected toys, clothes, towels, and such to keep the kid from getting it again. You will have to keep infected pets and friends away, too.
7 Their Little Hairs Fall Out
Scalp ringworm is caused by the tinea fungus. According to beingtheparent.com, this condition is spread by physical contact. It can be in the soil, on towels, in carpets, and on pets. When it gets on your baby’s scalp and infects the hair follicle, it is technically called tinea capitis. The hair turns brittle, and it can snap off.
The affected area of the scalp gets very itchy, so your poor little angel might start scratching the head, which can make it even more irritated and leave bald spots.
Your pediatrician will probably prescribe an antifungal shampoo and antifungal cream to apply to the affected scalp. Leaving the head bare will help too, as it will allow the fungus to dry out. It’s always heartbreaking when your darling loses hair, but most of the time it will pass quickly.
6 Newborn Fingernails Can Turn Yellow
Nails are the bane of new parents. Baby nails are pliable and soft, and they grow fast. Babies scratch themselves and parents by accident all the time, and it is practically impossible to clip a squirming infant's nails. Virtually everyone has taken off the tip of the baby's finger while trying to cut nails at least once. The worst part is occasionally, they get infected with tinea unguium.
According to beingtheparent.com, the nails will get thickened, deformed and yellow. Toenails tend to get it more than fingernails since they are exposed to the infected soils, carpets and the like. The best preventative measure is to put flip flops on your little darling's feet when he or she is going to the park or pool, make sure you keep her little feet clean and avoid overdressing the kiddo. Antifungal creams from your doctor will cure it should the baby get it.
5 Diaper Rash With Fungi Is Real
When tinea gets in the diaper area, it does not get a name. Beingtheparent.com referred to it as a fungal infection in the diaper area. Unfortunately, it looks like a diaper rash. Redness and irritation appear in symmetrical blotches in the diaper area. The difference is that diaper rashes go away in a couple of days and feel better after application of diaper rash cream.
If the rash persists for more than 3 days, it might be a fungal infection and you should definitely take your baby to the doctor if that happens.
The doctor will emphasize keeping the area dry above all else, and might even suggest a dusting of cornstarch to keep it dry. He or she would also suggest using only mild soap and water to wash the area. Naturally, there are always anti-fungal creams to apply on the affected area, too.
4 The Source Of The Blotches
Babies are born blotchy and reddish looking. As at least one little girl has pointed out, they look like wizened red potatoes. A bunch of them develop scattered pink or red marks with little bumps and pits all over them. Dermnetnz.org reports that while 50% of all full-term infants have this condition, though it is rare for preemies to get it. It's called toxic erythema. I know that sounds really terrifying, but it isn't a scary condition. It looks unpleasant, especially the pits, but they heal on their own in a couple of days.
It was first described officially in the 15th century, but the Ancient Mesopotamians recognized it and thought that it was the baby's way of eliminating the 'impure blood' of the mom. Even then, they realized toxic erythema isn't dangerous unless the kid's immune system has been suppressed. Of course, if the rash seems to linger, you should probably call the doctor.
3 Sweat Pores Can Get Blocked
Warm weather babies have many advantages, but they also have some obstacles. One of the obstacles, according to dermnetnz.org, is miliaria. About 15% of babies just born into warm climates has this condition which creates little bubbles or red little bumps. It might appear within a couple of weeks of birth.
It generally shows up in on the forehead, neck and upper trunk.
It is caused by blocked sweat ducts, where dead skin cells cover the openings. The baby's sweat gathers under the dead cells and makes it look like blisters. This is another condition that sounds a lot worse than it is. It tends to go away within a few days once you have removed stuffy clothing and let the baby cools off. Gentle washing in cool can't hurt, either, especially in hot, sweaty weather.
2 Their Skin Can Flake
Babies are funny looking critters. Their skin is often red and bumpy during their first day. One of the weird aspects is the way their skin flakes white stuff. According parents.com, this flaking stuff is from a white, waxy material called vernix that covers a baby while he is in the womb. Human skin isn't supposed to be submerged in water all the time. It would dry out if it isn't protected. The vernix is supposed to keep the babies hydrated. However, once the baby is born, the vernix isn't necessary.
Air dries it out and the waxy stuff flakes off. It stops in one or two weeks. The only thing you have to remember is what not to do: don't pick off the flakes or you could pick off skin that is growing. You don't have to moisturize the child's skin or anything.
1 Blotches To The Max
Toxic erthema is completely benign. It goes away on its own. On the other hand, according to dermnetnz.org, neonatal cephalic pustulosis might be a slightly more severe condition. The pits, bumps, and pink or red little marks can get infected with Malassezia, and that can make it last longer. It can look a little uglier, too.
The Malassezia is a fungus that is normally living on the skin on many animals, including humans.
It isn't normally a threat to anyone, but it can take a chance on infecting people sometimes if someone isn't up to immunological scratch.
It normally goes away on its own, but if it is particularly ugly, the doctor might want to apply antifungal creams. Of course, the Malassezia will still be on the baby's skin. It just won't be in bumps.
References: Heathychildren.org, Mayo Clinic, Healthykids.org, WebMD.com, VeryWell.com, BeingTheParent.com, Dermnetnz.org, Parents.com