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Newborn Hygiene: 10 Things Parents Panic About And 5 To Focus On Instead

If only babies popped out of the womb with a manual, it would make life simpler. With all the chatter about what is good and what isn’t good, the pressure to be a good parent today is daunting. The internet is a blessing and a curse. There is so much information at a parent’s fingertips that it can sometimes have them worrying about the wrong thing.

After all, it seems like all the information out there has parents on red alert. Sometimes, all parents can do is hope for the best. If parents stressed less and spent more time listening to their children and playing with them, then everyone would be a bit happier, make more memories, and enjoy the time together.

A simple trick to enjoying parenting is not to sweat the small stuff. Human bodies are amazing. They are capable of doing truly remarkable things. The body is able to self-clean. There is no need to introduce a baby to harsh substances in the name of cleanliness. Wiping out good bacteria when they are incredibly young is not advisable.

Instead of worrying about the small things, sit back and soak in the limited time parents have with their babies. They are only little once. Here are 10 Things Parents Panic About:

15 Their Toothless Smile

It is not necessary to brush a baby’s gums yet. In a child’s first-aid pack—that every mom had on her registry—is a little brush specifically designed for babies without teeth. Certainly, brushing their gums after feeding is a good habit to get a baby into. They become accustomed to something in their mouth, cleaning what will later be their teeth.

However, gum-brushing is not a requirement and parents should not feel obligated to do it. Parents should not use toothpaste when cleaning a child’s gums as it is completely unnecessary. If they would like to brush their gums, then they should take a wet washcloth or toothbrush—specifically designed for gum hygiene—and gently wipes the baby’s gums. Parents shouldn’t forget to wipe the baby’s tongue and the inside of their cheeks.

14 Keep Their Teeth Sparkling Clean

Yes, Oral hygiene is important, but parents shouldn’t stress too heavily if their child forgets to brush their teeth one night. The purpose of starting small children off brushing their teeth early is to instill good hygiene habits when they are older. When they are younger and haven’t developed the fine-motor skills to brush their own teeth, parents are more than welcome to brush their child’s teeth.

Remember, small children do not require a large amount of toothpaste—they only need the amount of the size of a rice grain. Oral hygiene becomes very important as they grow older, lose their baby teeth, and have their permanent teeth come in. Obviously, parents want to avoid costly trips to the dentist office, which can be avoided by having the child refrain from eating sticky, sweet candies and sugar-laden drinks.

13 Milia—Not To Be Confused With Baby Acne

Baby Acne and milia can be confused because it occurs in the same spot baby acne occurs. Milia are small white bumps that are on the baby’s cheeks, chin, and/or nose. They almost resemble tiny whiteheads, but they are not the same because milia are very tiny.

It may be tempting for parents to pick at it to help get out whatever is in the baby’s pores—but parents should refrain from doing this, as it could lead to more problems. It is best to leave it alone as it will clear up on its own.

There is no ointment, cream, or soap that will clear up the baby’s skin faster. Plus, milia are completely harmless as well as very common. Most babies will have it so there is no point in worrying about it.

12 They’re Not A Teenager But Have Skin Problems

Baby acne is super common in newborns. If a parent doesn’t know that baby acne was a thing, it could be a bit alarming to see itty bitty acne on their cheeks, nose, and forehead. There is nothing a parent can do to make it go away.

There isn’t a cream or a wash that will make it disappear. It is advised that parents should not pick at their child’s baby acne, as that could break the skin and lead to a minor infection on their face. It isn’t worth it.

Thankfully, baby acne clears up on its own after the first month or so. No need for parents to be alarmed. The best part is that there will be no scarring from the baby acne. This is a temporary phase most babies go through.

11 Baby Fingernails, Otherwise Known As Little Razorblades

Without question, newborn babies’ fingernails are sharp. So sharp—in fact—that they often cut their own face, which is why baby mittens were created. Even though the nails are super sharp, parents should avoid cutting their newborn fingernails until they are at least 10 days old.

While instincts might say to cut their fingernails, avoid doing it until they are older. If they are not properly cut and it tears the baby’s skin, it could lead to an infection.

It might not seem like a big deal for an adult, but it could be bad for a baby. Since their skin is so soft, it is easier to hurt them. While they are teeny tiny, avoid tearing their nails and instead opt for the nail clippers. While it might be scary, it will be the safest. If the baby wiggles while the parents are trying to cut their fingernails, try it while they are napping.

10 Cutting Ties

Taking care of an infant’s umbilical cord stump doesn’t need to be a scary task. Before the stump falls off, parents should avoid giving their child a bath of any kind. If they spit up on themselves or have a blowout, spot clean. It is important that the stump stay very dry so it dries out quicker.

Previously it was recommended that parents clean the baby’s stump with rubbing alcohol—however— that is no longer being recommended. Parents don’t need to do anything to clean the stump and—in fact—the opposite is suggested.

The only thing parents need to do is to ensure that the stump stays dry and that there is nothing rubbing against it. It is not good when a baby loses its umbilical cord stump before it is ready to fall off. The stump should fall off on its own.

9 Clean Behind The Ears

Earwax—while gross—serves a purpose. The glands in the ear produce this sticky substance to prevent small particles from damaging the ear drum, as well as to remove any dirt that might have entered the inner ear. Since earwax is waterproof, it is able to keep infections from growing in the ear canal. Bathing regularly helps remove any excess earwax that may be building up, so it is best to avoid using cotton swabs to clean out the ear canal. Ears are self-cleaning so there is no need to worry about cleaning them. Cleaning with a cotton swab can do more damage than good. When the swab is inserted, it could push some earwax back in, creating a buildup that could create a blockage—which could lead to an infection. Taking a damp cloth and wiping the outer portion of the ear is the best way to clean a child’s ear.

8 So Many Diapers

No one likes changing diapers. It’s not fun, but someone has to do it. If a baby is left in a wet diaper for too long it could lead to a diaper rash. Good hygiene is important in order to prevent rashes from occurring. Changing the diaper after every time they pee would certainly decrease the chances of them getting a rash.

Newborn babies pee—on average—every 20 minutes. It is highly unlikely that parents have the time or the money to change their child’s diaper every 20 minutes, but diapers do need to be changed fairly regularly. The most common type of diaper rash is one that is caused by yeast. Thankfully, the chance of getting a rash decreases as the child gets older, and they become completely nonexistent when they are potty-trained. Keep their diapers dry and don’t sweat the small stuff.

7 Germs, Germs Everywhere

Look at any ad in a parenting magazine and it will be filled with various disinfecting products that promise that your children will be immune from the common cold. But don’t spend that hard-earned money too quickly. Germs are important, and it isn’t a bad idea to expose children and babies to them. It will help create a stronger immune system as they grow older.

Some researchers think that if a baby grows up in an environment that is too clean, they may develop an immune system that is hypersensitive and make them more prone to allergens. If a child picks up something and puts it in its mouth, chances are that they will be okay. In fact, it might help boost their immune system when they get older. While this doesn’t mean that parents should neglect their home, they don’t need to be so rigid either.

6 That Neck

Baby’s necks have sometimes been referred to as “milk neck,” because all the milk a baby drinks seems to end up there. All that milk means that a baby’s neck is constantly wet. Parents need to make sure that the baby’s neck stays dry—which can sometimes be easier said than done. However, it is important to keep their neck dry—because if it is too wet for too long—the baby runs the risk of getting a yeast infection in between their rolls.

It is also important to wash their neck during bath times in order to remove any bacteria that could be growing in their neck folds. Thankfully as they get older and their neck becomes longer, this becomes less of an issue. A simple trick to keeping it dry is always having a cloth on hand to dry they baby’s neck after feedings.

5 Jaundice Is No Laughing Matter

Jaundice in newborns is fairly common, as more than half of full-term babies have it and 80 percent of premature babies will have jaundice. However, a baby born a bit jaundiced is not as common. It is caused by a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Red blood cells are normally broken down by bilirubin.

This jaundice can come in waves, but if the jaundice were to get too bad, it could cause a problem. The high level of bilirubin in the blood stream could cause spastic paralysis, hearing loss, mental retardation, and brain damage. Generally, jaundice will peak on the second or third day and be resolved in the first two weeks. If that doesn’t happen, it is important to speak with a health care provider to treat it.

4 Properly Cleaning Baby Girl’s Genitals

Wiping a girl’s bottom is drastically different than wiping a boy’s bottom. It is very important that parents know the correct way to clean their daughters’ genitals. Some girls are born with a white discharge. Parents may feel inclined to wipe it off and clean all of their daughter’s labia, but that should be avoided. It will go away on its own, and removing it could throw off the chemical balance.

It is also important not to use heavily scented wipes, as they may also disrupt a girl’s pH. It is also best to avoid washing the inside of their daughter’s labia with soap, because it could lead to infections. Only water is needed to clean off the area. Also, girls should be wiped from front to back and not back to front. This is incredibly important when cleaning up after a bowel movement so that fecal matter does not get into the urethra and vagina.

3 Properly Cleaning Baby Boy’s Genitals

Cleaning the boy’s genitals depends on if they were circumcised or not. Following the circumcision, it is best to do what the doctor says in order to remove any chance of the child getting an infection. Once the penis has healed, the penis and scrotum can be cleaned with water and lightly patted with a towel or left to air dry.

For a boy who is left intact—as most boys born in the United States are today now that we know the benefits of circumcision don't outweight the risks—there is only a slight difference in how the penis is cleaned. The penis and scrotum should be cleaned with warm water and patted dry. Only the outside of the penis needs to be cleaned, and it is not necessary to clean inside the foreskin. The inside can be cleaned if it can be easily reached.

As the boy gets older, it should be easier to do. It is normal for a white secretion to form under the foreskin. It is healthy and normal as it is only made up of dead skin cells. Remember—when intact, do not retract.

2 Matters Of MTHFR

Teething is an awful experience for some parents, and who can blame them? Their beautiful baby is experiencing quite a bit of pain and there is only so much a parent can do for them. Lip tie can be a frustrating experience. Lip ties are when the little piece of tissue that connects the gum to the lip—known as the frenulum—goes down too far. Obviously, there are varying degrees of lip tie.

Lip ties can be a problem when a child is teething and when it’s upper two teeth are coming in. It may result in a slight delay of the teeth arriving. Also, once the teeth are arriving, it could complicate the situation. When a child’s teeth are beginning to cut, it may be helpful to speak with a doctor.

The upper two teeth coming in could result in the tissue tearing. This isn’t a given or something that always happens, but it is something to talk about. The doctor may have a better idea of how to treat it. Most children with lip ties also have tongue ties, which can affect how well a baby eats and speaks. Both lip and tongue ties are markers of the MTHFR gene mutation.

1 To Bathe Or Not To Bathe

Delayed bathing after giving birth is now more of a norm than it was many years ago. Before, babies were washed almost immediately after the mother gave birth. Science is now indicating that it is best to wait at least 48 hours before washing. Some of the reasons are: it reduces the risk of infection, allows for blood sugars to stabilize, improves temperature control, improves a baby’s reaction to breastfeeding, and improves the bond between a mother and child, as mothers are given more time for skin-to-skin contact. Those reasons alone should convince mothers, doctors, and nurses to delay giving a baby its first bath for the first two days of the baby’s life. Waiting longer may be beneficial too, as the vernix found on the baby’s skin has antimicrobial properties.

Sources: Thebump.com, Mayoclinic.com, Babycenter.com, Mamalette.com, Emedicinehealth.com, Hopkinsmedicine.org,  Childrensmd.org

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Newborn Hygiene: 10 Things Parents Panic About And 5 To Focus On Instead