Feeding and sleep is not the only thing that matters when it comes to newborns. Babies are expensive, but their expenses do not just come from the purchases one makes. A baby is delicate and requires better care hygienically to ensure he does not come down with opportunistic infections that can be quite costly to treat and might even cost him his life. How a new mother handles the baby’s hygiene determines how healthy he will be at the beginning of his life and also in later years. What does baby’s hygiene entail and are there any guidelines when it comes to keeping our babies healthy and clean?
Hygiene is not merely water and soap when it comes to babies most practices related to hygiene are gender specific and the way we handle girls hygiene is not the way we treat a boy. Babies get infections due to improper handling of their private parts the same way grown-ups do and it is important that one knows how to clean a baby’s most delicate parts. If by some bad luck, infections creep into the baby, it is important that a mother knows how to treat the situation without aggravating it. For those who do not know how to take care of their newborns. Here are 20 hygiene musts based on the baby’s gender.
20 Boy Or Girl: Use Wet Cotton Balls Instead
For those of us who have babies, we have gone through the diaper change sessions, whereas new moms we bought all the fancy baby wipes we thought we needed to arm ourselves with anticipation of the dreaded diaper changes. What many of us learned when the baby arrived is that those fancy baby wipes are a nightmare on the baby's bum.
The scented and alcohol-based wipes actually aggravate rashes in the baby's diaper area. What works for many is cotton balls dipped in warm water. This simple trick works so well that babies whose mothers avoid baby wipes can even go through the whole diaper wearing session without experiencing rashes.
19 Girl: Wipe From Front To Back
Women know this rule all too well and it has become second nature. What most mothers do not know is that this rule applies to baby girls too and that it is imperative that this is a habit they acquire early. When one wipes from front to back, the bits gets cleaned first and that nothing from the back ever gets into the urethra and then into the bladder.
Any bacteria that gets in can be truly uncomfortable for a grown woman. Just imagine what it’s like for the baby. Front to back cleaning is important for the girl and even when she is old enough to do it for herself it should be encouraged.
18 Boy: Watch Out If The Baby Wasn't Snipped
A boy’s foreskin is the most delicate part of his boy bits. This area comes with lots of nerve endings and this makes the area rather sensitive. Babies do not appreciate having the area pulled and tugged or even aggressively scrubbed.
If the baby is not circumcised, it is important that mothers do not try to pull the foreskin off the head in order to clean it, no matter how much the mother feels the place could be dirty. This sensitive area should be handled with lots of care as it can be quite painful. Let the area eliminate its own discharge with little assistance.
17 Boy And Girl: Shampoo Hair Once A Week
Hair comes with a lot of evils and especially for those who have siblings. It is important that for babies, the hair is shampooed at least once a week. Daily shampooing is not necessary. Hair should also be trimmed and moisturized because even the scalp needs TLC.
Some babies are prone to cradle cap and to ease the build-up, oiling the hair and combing it out will remove the pieces of dandruff-like material that forms on the head. Cradle cap should not bother the mother much as the situation corrects itself in time. According to Baby Center, cradle cap is not a hygiene issue, rather it is caused by the build-up of hormones inherited from the mother.
16 Boy And Girl: Keep Skin Folds Dry
The area that suffers most when it comes to babies is the many folds the baby seems to have. If moisture forms in the folds of the babies body, cracks appear and this can be quite painful for the baby. Ensure that the folds are clean and dry before putting a diaper on the baby.
It is important to air dry the baby, but keeping the folds well cleaned and dry will ensure that there is no build up of bacteria. For the boys, dry the upper thighs and the meeting point between the thighs. Girls tend to get rashes on the area around the hips and thighs and pay particular attention to the chubby areas of the baby, especially the elbows and knees.
15 Boy And Girl: Tend To The Umbilical Cord
The baby's stump is a very important part of his body that requires a lot of care for both boys and girls. According to Baby Center, the stump takes anything between seven days to a few weeks to drop off.
Mothers are advised to keep the area dry and clean at all times by ensuring that they clean it with cotton swabs and allowing it to dry in the open air for a few minutes. Any dirt or bacteria that goes into the stump can prove to be fatal. Remember this is the part where the baby was fed and has access to his bloodstream.
14 Girl: Ooze Doesn’t Need To Be Wiped
This one hits most of us with surprise and some of us get panicky. Baby girls get discharge much like adult females do and it is either white or clear and in some cases, the discharge is speckled with blood. When we see this, at first, most of us fire our care providers thinking they may have done something while we looked the other way.
This discharge is normal and is as a result of exposure to the alien air as well as irritation from diapers. This discharge does not need to be cleaned each time it happens because the V cleans itself from the first day the baby girl is born.
13 Boy: Bits Don’t Drop Right Away
Boys are born with a lot more going on down there than girls and this can be quite intimidating for a new mother who has no idea how to take care of a boy. The boys do not drop at birth and sometimes it appears as though it has some swelling. This may be nothing, but if there truly is swelling, it should be washed with a lot of care.
The baby's bits hould be wiped with a soft towel over the first couple of weeks using warm water, but the washing should be done tenderly as this area is very sensitive.
12 Boy And Girl: Pay Attention To Where The Diaper Sits
The umbilical stump is still wet and fresh, this means that the last thing a mother wants to do is to keep it warm or sweaty. Diapers tend to go above the navel and this is what any new mom needs to avoid. To ensure that the stump is not covered by the diaper, fold it over at the top and let it lie just below the navel. Some newborn diapers are made especially for avoiding the area.
When it comes to baby boys, ensure that the diaper goes just above the penis, but does not go above the navel. This is not as hard with baby girls but for the baby boy, just ensure that the penis faces down to prevent urine shooting up.
11 Boy And Girl: Keep The Gums Clean
The baby has no teeth and most of us do not see why he needs dental care or gum care. As much as most of us think that this is wasted effort, the baby’s gums should always be tended to. Get a washcloth and clean the gums using some warm water.
Remember to clean the tongue to eliminate any bacteria that may have formed in the mouth. Doing this means that even when the teeth come in, they will come in healthy and without cavities. This should be done daily and without fail, especially to clean out all the milk residues.
10 Boy: No Soap If Snipped
Most mothers have their baby boys circumcised at birth and this area tends to be rather tender for a few days. Even though the baby does not feel much pain the first few days of their life, they still experience some form of pain, but the good news is that they heal pretty fast.
For the circumcised boy, cleaning the area should be done without soap or wipes. Using soap on the wound can be irritating and painful to the baby and it may lead to infections. Most wipes have alcohol in them and they too can hurt a circumcised boy.
9 Boy And Girl: Keep Fingernails Trimmed
Babys tend to scratch themselves with their super sharp fingernails that tend to grow seemingly overnight even after a good trim. Their fingernails also tend to collect a lot of dirt and unfortunately, the babies always put their fingers into their mouths. For both boys and girls, ensure that their fingernails are trimmed and kept clean to prevent stomach infections or diarrhea.
Cuts from fingernails can sometimes be deep and this too can be a problem. This is one task that any new mom should ensure is carried out. Preferably, this should be done while the baby sleeps using a good trimmer that is sharp enough not to derail. According to Living and Loving, babies test everything with their mouths it is, therefore, important to keep everything clean.
8 Boy And Girl: Don't Wait On Diaper Changes
The baby has been fussy all day and the new mother has tried soothing, to feeding to bargaining, but nothing. After hours of this with no sign, the baby is sleepy, the mother is ready to sell the child for an hour of rest. Suddenly, the little angel falls asleep and she places her in bed and suddenly realizes that the baby has gone number two.
The dilemma here is, do I wake her up, change her diaper or let her sleep and hope to God that she doesn’t get a rash. Rule number one, change her diaper and remember, sleep deprivation is better than a baby getting a diaper rash.
7 Girl: Always Keep An Eye Out
The folds on a little baby girl is an area that is quite delicate and requires thorough cleaning. The girl bits are self-cleaning and it makes this job that much more efficient. This place should be cleaned using cotton wool that is dipped in warm water from front to the back to prevent bacteria from being moved from the front to the back.
With great care and tenderness, thoroughly but gently clean between. No oil or cream is necessary after the cleaning, but one should ensure that they let the baby air dry for a few minutes.
6 Boy And Girl: Never Scrub The Area
The down there area is smooth and prone to rashes. This area should not be scrubbed and even when one is washing the area, for both boys and girls, it is enough to just wash the area with warm water without soap. When drying the area, gently pat it dry and leave it for a few minutes to air dry.
This will dry out any rashes that may have formed and it will also be a good way of killing bacteria. While cleaning the baby, it is imperative that the mother does not mishandle him or her because the skin is quite delicate and prone to chafing.
5 Boy And Girl: Diaper-Free Time Is Important
A diaper free baby is a messy baby and most of us would rather not have to deal with all the fluids that come out of the baby at any one time. Baby boys especially have a thing about shooting urine without warning. Something that most mothers find quite irritating. For this reason, diaper free moments are no mothers favorite moments.
However, not airing the baby is a mother's worst mistake. Always ensure that the baby boy or girl has some diaper free moments. This will ensure that any bacteria that thrive on the warmth of a diaper is exposed to the air and eliminated. According to Parent 24, this diaper free time may even pay off when the baby learns to go without a diaper a lot earlier.
4 Boy And Girl: Make Sure The Tub Is Clean
When one is cleaning the baby, most of us do not pay any attention to the cleaning area, after all, the baby is going into the water and will come out clean and that's the object right? Wrong. Do not clean the baby in a dirty area.
Ensure the bathtub or sink or whatever it is you are using to clean the baby is completely clean and sterile to prevent any bacteria or germs from settling on the baby's body or the stump. Clean the area so that when the baby is having his diaper free session the baby does not touch any dirt or roll on it.
3 Boy And Girl: Avoid Perfumed Oil And Soaps
Perfumed oil and soaps are not advised, even for grownups, and they should never come near a baby's genital area. Perfumes give rise to rashes in the baby's diaper area and even if one remembers to change the baby's diaper often, the sensitive area stills seem to suffer if one uses these often irritating components.
Even during pregnancy, the mother is advised against using perfumes and the same rule applies to newborn babies. Oil that comes without perfume is sufficient for the baby and it is actually kinder to his very sensitive skin and more so to his genital area.
2 Boy And Girl: Always Wash Your Hands First
According to the CDC, hand washing is something most people forget, but the need to wash one's hands cannot be overemphasized. It is imperative that parents wash their hands before handling the baby, whether or not they feel their hands are dirty. Hands don’t have to look dirty to be covered in germs. Not washing the hands may transfer germs to the baby, be it cold viruses or even those that can cause diarrhea.
Hand washing should also be practiced after changing the baby’s diaper and after the mother visits the toilet. If this rule is followed to the letter, most opportunistic diseases will be avoided.
1 Boy: Scrubbing Might Be Necessary
A baby boy's area should scrubbed thoroughly but not aggressively. This is because this delicate area tends to collect a lot of bacteria and this bacteria collects in the folds, which can be hard to clean unless particular attention is paid to them.
Be extra careful and wriggle it to clean the hard to reach areas by gently lifting so that you do not interfere with the extra sensitive parts while ensuring that no soap gets into the area. Clean the baby well, pat him dry and let it aerate for a while before oiling.
Resources: Babycenter, Livingandloving, CDC, Parent24, Baby Center