Mothers think that after pregnancy their ordeals will be over! Well, in a certain sense yes, one big challenge with anticipation and uncertainty looming for around a real long nine months is over but lo and behold they have another challenge to face - caring for the newborn. Caring for the newborn can be overwhelming for new parents.
They have hundreds of questions running in their minds while doing things for the first time, especially when it is time to clean. Even if the parents took classes for baby care before delivery, the real time experience can be challenging when the mother has a tired body after giving birth.
After the baby is born, it is important that the happiness and love for the little one does not cause her to ignore her own health. Remember that if the mother is healing physically and emotionally, she will be in a better position to care for the newborn. Both mother and child should take enough rest for a few weeks after the delivery.
The support of extended family or grandparents could be very valuable in the first few weeks until parents get used to childcare. Their experience can help new paretns do things the right way the very first time.
Nobody can avoid making mistakes, it’s natural. So, when parents make a mistake, They shouldn't label themselves bad parents. Every parent goes through a learning process but knowing about the dos and don'ts beforehand can help avoid any untoward incidents. Here is a list of a few common mistakes a parent is prone to making when cleaning the newborn.
15 Not Changing The Diapers Often Enough
If the parents have decided to use cloth diapers then they must change the diapers as soon as they are wet. Newborns will usually show discomfort when their diaper is wet, which is a signal for mom or dad to change it. Neglecting the wet diaper and this habit of keeping the baby wet for some period, will get the baby used to it and it will be difficult to train the baby later.
But more importantly it is not hygienic for the baby to be remain wet for a long time. Urine irritates the skin and will result in diaper rash faster than one can imagine.
The absorbent or disposable diapers also need to be changed frequently and should not be left on the baby until they start leaking. That is the most common and biggest mistake made by mothers. But they are not to be blamed as parents get lured by the marketing information that they can be used for 4 - 12 hours on the baby.
But this is definitely not good for the baby. A diaper should be changed at least every 3-4 hours.
14 Bathing The Baby Too Often
The first bath of your delicate little one could give you jitters, but with time you will get used to it. Giving a bath twice a week is fine for the newborn. Bathing everyday can make the skin of the baby dry. Until a few weeks, you can sponge the baby or top and tail every day. You do not need to wash the baby daily as long as you are sponging him every day.
Changing the diapers as and when they are wet and changing the burp cloth makes sure that the baby stays in hygienic conditions. Of course, if your baby got dirty with too much poop then it’s a good idea to give him a proper bath, and make sure to rinse well.
While some babies love taking a bath, a few may just hate it. As a mother, you will learn how to prepare or pacify your baby when they don’t like it. You must go with your instinct. In general, babies like the bath, just not the cold that usually comes with it.
13 Not Properly Caring For The Umbilical Cord
It is natural to feel scared to touch any part of the baby that may be sensitive, especially the umbilical stump. One important thing to remember is that you should keep the skin under the stump or the base of the stump clean and dry. Keep the base exposed to air and make sure it is not covered by diapers at any time.
Needless to say, diapers can be full of bacteria and germs, which could infect the stump. In addition, the simple movement of the diaper across the stump can cause discomfort.
Usually the cord takes 2 to 3 weeks to fall off and until then it is advised not to bathe the baby frequently. After giving a bath or a sponge bath, pat the skin under the stump dry with a soft cloth. If it seems to be falling off, but not completely, control your urge to pull it. You must let it fall off on its own.
The only time you should be worried about the stump is if the base skin becomes swollen, red and tender and it gives off a foul smell. This is extremely rare, but if it happens take your baby to a doctor immediately as this is signs that the stump is infected.
12 Not Properly Cleaning Baby Or Cloth Diapers
Initially, that's the most difficult part of cleaning the baby. Here are a few tips for a sanitary way to clean the baby. Change the diaper in the same place every time, but please do not do it on the kitchen counter as it would definitely spread germs. Before venturing to clean, make sure everything you need is handy.
While taking off the diaper, hold the feet of the baby with one hand and roll the diaper carefully. If possible, get a diaper pail for keeping things easy. Wipe in only one direction front to back and make sure to wipe clean the crevices.
If you are using cloth diapers, do not let the diaper cloth stay for too long as it would get stained. Also, if they are kept dirty for too long they might give rashes to the baby. Also do not put them in the dryer with other clothes. Diapers clothes should be washed every day and you should have enough diaper clothes, with a minimum of 36.
11 Using Bath Water That's Too Hot Or Cold
The water used to bathe the baby should be lukewarm. The temperature of the thermostat should be set around 100 F. It should not be too hot or cold. To make sure that the water is not hot, test it with your elbow. It should feel warm, not hot.
Also, the water should be filled to a height of only 2-3 inches. The baby should not be kept in water for too long as it may leave the sensitive skin dry. A quick bath of around five minutes is usually enough for the newborn.
After the bath, the baby should be kept in a warm room and do not let cool air around the baby until the baby is snug. The baby should be wiped with a soft towel or a cloth. Always make sure not to rub while drying. Another important thing to keep in mind in patting dry in the skin folds and crevices.
10 Not Putting Diapers On Properly
The most common reason for a diaper rash in newborns is that the diaper is not put on properly. First of all, it should not be tight. If it is too tight it will not let air to pass through and it will lead to a rash. If you are securing the diaper too tight it will be leaving marks on the baby’s tummy. If you see this, make it a bit looser the next time. The baby should be cleaned with lukewarm water or gentle baby wipes.
On the other side, the diaper can’t be too loose, or the whole purpose of it goes out the window. With disposable diapers, getting a good seal around the legs pretty much happens on its own as there is elastic to hold it snug around the baby’s legs. If it isn’t snug, you probably have a diaper that is too big and you need to buy a smaller size.
With cloth diapers, getting a snug fit is a bit trickier, but simply making sure that you have it tucked well between the baby’s legs should do the trick. With either type of diaper, you should be able to get two fingers (side by side) between the baby and the diaper for a fit that is snug enough around the waist.
9 Not Drying The Hair After A Bath
While wiping the baby you must keep in mind that the baby has a few sensitive areas that should be kept dry. After a bath, the hair of the baby should be dried first. It takes time for the hair to dry so do not let it sit wet on the head. You should pat dry the hair with a soft towel. Washing the hair twice in a week is fine and you can wash the baby starting with the head.
It is natural to get scales on the scalp of the baby that are yellowish in color. It is also called cradle cap. There is nothing to worry about it as most children get it and it does not harm the baby at all. To remove the scales, you can apply baby hair oil and gently rub and massage the scalp.
This will loosen the scales and then it will come off when you wash the hair. Use a mild baby shampoo to wash your little one's hair.
8 Using Too Much Soap And Other Products
The baby's skin is very soft and sensitive and it really does not need a soap, but if you want you can use a small amount of baby soap for bathing. Apart from that there is no need to use too many skin care products. You may use a little baby moisturizer if it is needed, but if you give a massage to your baby before a bath then that is also not required.
The fewer the chemicals used on the baby the better.
Another mistake some parents make is to powder the baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, using powder is not good for the baby as it may lead to respiratory problems, especially for preterm babies or babies with some other illnesses. It may also cause some damage to the lungs.
First of all, the skin of a baby does not need powder and when we use it, baby is bound to inhale the fine powder particles in the air. Even if you use the powder you should first put it on your hand and then apply gently to the baby.
7 Not Wiping The Baby's Gums
It is a common mistake made by most parents. Usually a baby's mouth does not smell as it does not have teeth, but it does not mean there are no germs. Scientists have found that even before the baby starts getting teeth there are hundreds of germs present in the mouth of newborns.
It is important for the parent to get used to oral health of the baby in the early stages. If you are used to wiping the mouth after feeding, the baby will surely get used to it as time passes.
For cleaning the mouth, you should always use a wet gauze to gently wipe the gums of the baby. Dentists advise this to be done twice in a day, but it’s a good practice to do it after feeding every time. Once the baby starts growing teeth, it is time use the baby brush or finger brush. This is will ensure that the baby does not get any cavities.
Oral health is extremely important and should not be neglected.
6 Cleaning Baby's Ear Canals
There is no need to clean the inside part of the baby's ears. Do not use any cotton swabs to insert and clean inside the ear canal. Instead just wipe the outer part of ear to dry it after a bath. Some parents complain of wax build up in their baby's ears. According to medical experts, earwax keeps unwanted dust particles and dirt from going into our ears.
If these dust particles were to enter the ears, it can damage the eardrum. So wax is a natural mechanism the body uses to protect itself.
Usually when earwax builds up, it slowly moves to the outer ear where it gets dried and falls off on its own. So, you should clean only the visible dirt on the outer surface of the ears. If you feel there is too much wax build up and the baby is showing signs of irritation near the ear, such as pawing at it with an arm, then there could be a problem.
You should consult your doctor to see if there is infection or something else going on.
5 Not Cleaning The Skin Folds Properly
After every bath and sponge bath the baby should be patted dry in the skin folds, especially the neck folds. If the neck folds are not cleaned they start to stink and can start to develop a rash. It is quite common in chubby babies because of the many thick folds in their neck. Sometimes milk, drool or spit up will dribble down into the neck folds and stick to the folds of the neck.
It's a good practice to clean or wipe the neck folds after feeding the baby or make sure to clean it at least two to three times a day. If a rash breaks out in that area, then apply a barrier cream or zinc oxide, which will help heal the skin. You may also use petroleum jelly.
Usually a severe rash in the neck folds is called Intertrigo. Such rashes do not appear once babies get older and they start supporting their head.
4 Not Cutting The Nails Often Enough
The nails of a newborn grow relatively fast and you might need to cut them twice or thrice in a week. Babies often end up scratching their own face if their nails are not trimmed. Apart from that they have a habit of putting their fingers in their mouth.
Long nails that have dirt trapped underneath can be licked by your child, which is not at all hygienic. This is not an easy job for a parent because the baby's fingernails are very small and they do not want to hurt them or accidentally cut them with nail clippers or scissors.
There are a few things that you can keep in mind while doing this. Always do clip the nails in a well lit area. Do not bite the baby's nails as there is a risk of infection. There are many baby nail clippers available or you can use a blunt scissors to do the job. However scissors could be risky if the baby is awake as they might suddenly move their hands.
The best time to do it is when they are asleep.
3 Leaving The Baby In The Bath Alone
You will be surprised to know that drowning is one of the most common causes of child deaths. Come what may, you should never leave the baby in the bath alone, even for a second. Even if you think that the water level is low enough or even if there is no water in the basin. Newborns can drown even if the water level is as low as 2 inches or 5 cms.
Sometimes we entrust the baby's responsibility to the older kids. But even your older kids will have no idea about what is safe for the baby. So do not risk leaving a newborn in a bath with their older sibling. The best thing to do is to keep all the things needed such as towels, wipes, cotton balls ready before you start bathing the baby.
Once the baby is sleeping and safely tucked in bed, then you can do other errands.
2 Not Giving Baby Massages
The skin of newborns is sensitive and very soft. Every day baths or top and tail could leave the baby's skin dry and prone to rash. Using baby products is alright, but too many chemicals also are not good for the baby. The best way to avoid dry skin or rash is to massage the baby before giving a bath.
A baby oil or other natural oils that are good for babies can be used. Consult your pediatrician about the choice of oil.
Babies love to get massaged. Watch your baby as they kick happily or just enjoy the gentle massage. Not only does it treat the dry and itchy skin, but it also improves muscle strength and gives a boost to growth. Usually the best time to massage is just before giving a bath. If you follow the cycle of massage-bath-feed-sleep you will see the wonders it does for you and your baby.
1 Bathing Circumcised Boys
If the baby boy was circumcised, then they should not be bathed until the circumcision site has healed completely. You may use or rub a little hydrogen peroxide on the site of circumcision or as advised by your doctor to clean the area. If circumcision has not been done then there is no need to worry.
You do not need to clean the area below the foreskin. There could be a little wax like substance on the penis of a newborn, but that is natural and needs to be washed.
You must clean or wash the genitals of your baby properly. In girls, you may notice a little white discharge, which is normal and may happen for a few days after birth. This happens because of the mother's hormones passed onto the baby.
Usually it takes time, around one week, for the hormones to be released from the body of the baby. Always clean the genitals of a girl from front to back and the folds in the skin too.