After nine months of carrying the baby, it is finally time for mom to hold her little bundle of joy. If you thought the baby comes out looking cuddly and cute and smelling like a rare flower, think again. Most babies are born purple and you may be asking the doctor in shock amid the anesthesia, ‘why is he so purple?' Call it crazy, but the thoughts going through your mind at that time may be ‘ how am I going to explain giving birth to an alien?' Many of us are shocked, to say the least.
Once the baby breaths in the new air after months of swimming around in your womb, his complexion changes and he becomes that cute child. Well, after he is sponged off to remove all the yucky stuff. During your stay in the hospital, the nurses do the baby cleaning for you, unfortunately, your stay is at most 3 days. After the three days, it’s time to go back home and here unless you have help from family members or a home caregiver, you are on your own. You may have read all the books on childcare, watched all the videos and even listened to a lecture from your mom or great aunt. but nothing truly prepares a mother for baby care.
The movies show a newborn who is big enough to be cuddled in your arms and washed while being held in one arm, but that is far from reality. The new baby is tiny. So tiny that often times you feel like holding him will break his delicate bones. The good news is that you do not need to bath a baby every day and for those who have no idea how clean a newborn, here are 15 pictures and tips on how to clean your newborn.
15 Gather All The Bath Supplies
Do not overlook. This is the very important first step in bathing a baby. Babies are highly susceptible to cold. While for you catching a cold only means a few days in bed and bowls of chicken soup plus a few antibiotics maybe, for a newborn, catching a cold can be fatal. Ensure you have an absorbent towel that is smooth, preferably cotton. Babies skin is delicate and any harsh material will give him a nasty rash.
Gather his change of clothing and diaper are within arms reach and make sure they are right side up to minimize the time for dressing. Also, ensure you have his bath soap, baby oil or lotion at hand. Warm the room where you plan to give the baby a bath and ensure that all the windows are closed and there is no breeze coming in. The bath area should also be flat. Since you just had a baby, bending can be a tough call to prepare the bath area, so let it be a bit high so that it is possible for you to clean him without bending.
14 Fill The Tub With At Least 3 Inches Of Water
According to Wikihow, once you have collected all your baby bath items together, fill a baby bathtub to about three inches.
The bath water should never go beyond the baby's waist when he or she is seated in the tube.
Babies can drown even in three inches of water. Babies are also quite slippery when wet, so care should be taken and the first step is ensuring the tub is on level ground and it does not exceed three inches.
The water should also be warm enough and to establish this, put your elbow in the water and hold it there for a minute or so. If the water feels too hot for the elbow then know it is too hot. Water too hot will scald the baby, while too cold, the baby will catch a cold. In this case, the water has to be just right
13 Slip The Baby Into The Tub - Feet First!
To avoid slippage, hold the baby tight and support the neck, then put the baby in the tub feet first. This is to help the child get accustomed to the water as dropping him in without regard, will scare him and it may put him off showering. Pour cupfuls of water on the baby’s body from time to time as you wash him to ensure he does not get cold. To reduce slippage, it may be advisable to buy an anti-slippage mat and put it in the tub to prevent the baby from slipping.
Remember to hold the baby well and do not drop him as a fall can be fatal. If you do not have the confidence to wash the baby do not feel bad. Most people cannot do it as the baby is tiny and looks delicate. In this case, feel free to seek help from those more experienced in this matter.
12 Use Mild Soap Sparingly
When washing a baby, remember this is a baby. Do not get carried away. While adults and older children need to use enough soap when showering, babies do not have the kind of dirt that grownups have.
Moms should look for a mild soap that is tender on the baby's skin. And remember, babies can react to certain kinds of soap and even break out in rashes.
Do not be fooled by the labels that say baby soap and don’t think just because it has been labeled number one soap that it is good. It may have worked with one baby, but not others. Babies are different.
According to Wikihow, you should never use scented soaps or bubble baths to wash the baby as this can dry the baby’s skin. Often times, plain water is fine on the baby. If you feel the need to use a body lotion on the baby, it is advisable to choose a hypoallergenic lotion.
11 The Right Way To Treat Cradle Cap
According to LagosMums, the fontanel is that very soft part of the baby’s head that seems to throb. If the baby has a full head of hair it is not that visible, but if you look closely, you will see it throb through the hair. It is on that part that cradle cap, also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis tends to appear. The Baby Center says cradle cap manifests as dandruff. Knowing how itchy dandruff can be most of us get sleepless nights over this. Cradle cap does not itch nor does it bother the baby. It is also not a sign of poor hygiene.
To address it during the babies bath apply some baby oil, mineral oil or petroleum jelly on the scaly patches and let it sit for a bit while you wash the other parts. Remember the fontanel is very delicate, so gently rub and do not press. When the flakes loosen, brush them off using a soft hair brush. Use a little soap or baby shampoo to clean the hair, taking immense care not to get soap her eyes.
10 Clean The Ears With A Cloth
Babies ears tend to accumulate wax and oil, as well as pieces of the skin that is still peeling. There is a true and wrong way to clean the babies ears. Holding the baby firmly to protect his neck, as well as prevent accidental slippage, it is now time to clean the ears. One disclaimer is that you should never put anything inside the babies ears. This includes earbuds. I know they are called earbuds and we all think they are safe for the baby, but putting earbuds into the babies ear may harm the eardrums.
To clean the ears, use a soft cloth to clean the front part of the ear and do not use soap. Just use some plain water and that is enough.
When washing the ears do not put water in the ear either; remember just like the eyes, water in the ears can be very uncomfortable and it can lead to ear infections.
9 Rinse With Cupfuls Of Water
If you are firm on your beauty regimen then you know that residue soap can dry your skin. The same applies to babies. Once you have finished washing the baby, it is now time to rinse the baby. To do this, you should use a bath cup and pour the water over the baby’s body to remove all the soap.
Do not prolong this ritual. Remember the baby is susceptible to cold, so wrap the baby in a towel, preferably a hooded one to cover the head while you pat him dry. Do not rub like we often do. Remember rubbing will aggravate her skin. Address the hair and ensure it is completely dry as this can be a source of colds. Remember the creases and curves and especially the diaper area, which can get a nasty rush due to the residue.
8 Eyes Should Be Wiped Clean
When you clean the baby's face, you ought to remember that you still have to be holding him tight, newborns cannot be left unattended in the tub as you wet the washcloth. By the time you look back the baby may have drowned. Use one hand to wet the face cloth and then wring out the excess water. It is advisable to skip the soap for this part. Gently wipe the baby’s face and remember to be delicate.
For the eyelids, you may use damp cotton balls to clean them in order to remove all and any crust that may be on the eyelids.
Do not rub haphazardly, gently clean from the inside to outside. Do not use the same cotton ball for both eyes. Use a separate cotton ball for each eye. This prevents the possibility of the spread of infection from one eye to the other.
7 The Right Way To Hold The Baby (So No One Slips!)
When babies are born, they are so tiny and delicate that a simple squeeze can lead to bruising. The worst is that if you hold the baby wrong, it can lead to a twisted arm or broken limb. That is why mothers are advised to hold the baby with one arm around the waist and the other supporting the head and holding the baby close to the body. This cushions the child from accidental bruising.
When you wash the baby, this needs to be maintained. Use one arm to support the child and the other to do the washing. The tub should be on a stable, flat ground to prevent the table from wobbling and forcing you to try and support it. Also, make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground because if you fall or slip, so does the baby.
6 The Nose Needs To Be Cleaned
According to MomJunction, the most natural way to clean the baby's nose is to make him sneeze. This rule goes for the grown-ups too. It is advisable to clean the nose, not only for hygiene but also to help the baby breath better.
Babies breathe only with their noses and it is going to be a long time before they can learn to do the same with their mouths.
Since babies cannot blow their noses, any boogers tend to close the nose. The correct way to do this is by using baby friendly saline drops suitable for 0-1-year olds. Put a drop in each nose with the baby’s head tilted, then raise him up. Using a nasal aspirator, suck out the boogers and then clean him with a wet cloth. Take care not to let water go inside the nose. The nasal aspirator should always be cleaned well as it can be a source of some nasty bacteria.
5 Trim The Nails Isn't As Scary As You Think
Some babies are born with long hair and nails, while others come completely bald. Whether bald or hairy, with or without nails, once the baby lands, everything seems to grow at amazing speed. You might trim baby's nails today and tomorrow she will have very long ones again. The problem with babies nails is that they tend to scratch themselves. The baby’s skin is very delicate and a small scratch turns into a painful cut.
Babies have no control over their movements and they tend to squirm and flare their arms around. The problem with this is that the hands go everywhere and it is not surprising to see a baby with many scratches. Buy a small nail trimmer, there are some made especially for babies. Do not trim too close to the skin. The nail, though long, is soft and any hurried act will lead to a cut in the baby’s delicate skin, especially if the nail goes past the fleshy part of the finger.
4 Sponge Baths During The First 3 Weeks
According to Wikihow, it is recommended to give a sponge bath to your newborn for at least three weeks of his life. That simply means not putting him in a tub of water. Wikihow says it is recommended to keep the baby dry until the umbilical stump falls off and it is during this time that the baby should be sponge bathed.
Some babies drop the umbilical stump within seven days, but for others, the stump stays attached for up to three weeks.
Do not worry though, your baby will not accumulate dirt or smell. Newborns should not be washed more than a few times a week as over washing will dry their delicate skin. To sponge bathe, dip the sponge or washcloth in warm water and gently rub it over his skin, especially in the creases around the neck and diaper area. Do not rub too much, trying to make his skin completely clear. The skin will get clear in no time.
3 Delicate Areas Must Be Treated Differently
Washing the baby can be confusing and in most cases quite scary with all the rules of, do not do this or that, use soap, do not use soap. Here is another rule, for the most delicate areas on a baby’s body, which are the eyes, ears, nose and diaper area us a very mild soap. While one is advised to clean the eyes without soap, the diaper area requires the use of soap to remove the dirt that can accumulate there.
According to BabyCenter, use a mild soap to clean these delicate areas especially for baby boys. Aggressive use of soap may cause infections. Soaps tend to kill the good bacteria that dwell there and it may lead to the small baby getting a fungal infection. After washing, clean out the area with running water to remove the soap, but take care not to overdo it. Like all the other areas, little is more.
2 Don't Forget The Oil
This is the last part of the bathing ritual. This is also where you address all those other issues that come with babies like constipation and gas, which leads to colic. When you are oiling the child, it is advisable to give him a massage to relieve him of gas, as well as relax him. Remember a relaxed baby sleeps better and this is good for the mother too. Warm the oil on your palm and rub the baby in a circular motion around the stomach. When oiling the legs, one is advised to do some delicate bicycle rides to relieve him of gas.
Turn the baby around and do the same for the back and the shoulders. Massage well, then move to the legs and the heels. Massage those too. Dress the baby and keep him warm. If your baby has been having trouble sleeping, this is bound to make him sleep quite well.
1 Undress The Baby Completely
Once everything is ready and in place, it’s time to bring the baby to the bath area. According to wikihow, this is the point where you undress the baby completely, including his diaper. Never undress the child before going through the first steps to avoid the baby getting cold. Undress him slowly while holding the baby well with his head supported.
Remember his neck is still delicate and requires to be supported. Some babies do not like the feel of the water and they cry when being bathed. If yours is like this, it is advisable to wash the child with his diaper on. The diaper gives the baby a sense of security. If he still cries, fret not. Most babies just don’t like to take a bath. They will grow into it and soon he will be crying to stay in the bath.