Parenthood is that magical chapter in a person's life that is filled with hundreds of questions, but not a whole lot of answers. When the baby arrives, no matter how many books and blogs mom has read over the nine months, she will wonder if they are doing any of this right.
There is so much to consider, and the last thing you want to do its screw up your darling bundle of joy. The good news is all parents make mistakes, a lot of them. No mom or dad gets it perfect the first, (or second) time around. Kids are thankfully very resilient little creatures and unless you blunder is epically massive, your child will probably be just fine.
That being said, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better off you will be. If you find that you are questioning how to best attend to your newborn's hygiene needs, take a breathe and let us help. You aren't the only parent in the world with a million questions. Lucky for us most common baby hygiene questions have simple answers and remedies. Here are 20 newborn hygiene mysteries solved, my friends. When it comes to diapers, baths and bottle cleaning, wonder no more. We have your answers and solutions right here!
20 Does The Newborn Need To Be Bathed Every Night?
Nope. In fact, bathing a young baby each night could end up causing more harm than good. Us grown folk get stinky and oily, but sweet little labs who just came out of the womb don't have that issue. Their skin is very sensitive and too much washing, along with shampoos and soaps, can cause infant skin to become overly dry and irritated. A bath every other day or every few days, using minimal amounts of suds if any at all, is likely the best course of hygiene action for your newborn. Make sure you dry them up properly after their soak, removing all moisture from the folds of their skins.
19 Do I Really Need To Trim The Baby's Nails?
Infant manicures can be utterly daunting. One wrong move and you could end up with a mess on your hands as well as a boatload of maternal guilt. As frightening as infant nail trimming is, it must be done. Newborns love to keep their hands up by their sweet faces and are notorious for leaving claw marks on their beautiful cheeks. Try trimming your baby's nails 20 minutes after they have nodded off into slumberland. They are then likely to be sleeping soundly enough to stay nice and still white you widdle their talons down to an acceptable length.
18 Help! How Do I Combat Diaper Rash?
First and foremost, it is incredibly important to change your infant's diaper frequently throughout the day. Little ones wet their Pampers pretty much every time you turn around, so get ready to be a bonified diaper changing machine. Should you leave your infant in her wet or soiled diaper for long periods of time, then diaper rash can certainly strike. When a baby has a bum rash no one is going to be happy until it is resolved. Creams that contain zinc oxide are known to stop diaper rash in its tracks. Parents can also create homemade creams and treatments, (see HERE.) One last thing that is bound to make your baby's burning bum happy is to let her spend some time diaper free.
17 Is Cradle Cap A Cause For Concern?
Cradle cap is a fairly common condition in young children that causes thick, yellowish scales to build up on a child's scalp. While the cause of cradle cap isn't known, it is thought to be caused by the transferring of mom's hormones to her infant. Regardless of why it occurs, it isn't dangerous, contagious or caused by poor hygiene habits. It's merely unsightly. To remedy cradle cap, first, massage your baby's scalp with your hands to remove the scales. Use a soft brush to loosen any stubborn spots and apply a coconut or olive oil to your baby's precious head.
16 Should I Clean The Baby's Ears With Q-Tips?
Many moons ago, parents were quick to take a cotton swab to tiny ears to clear out any debris or wax. We now know that these seemingly harmless swabs are absolute no-nos, especially for little ears. Cotton swabs push the wax further down into the ear canal, causing potential damage. The best way to clean out your little one's ears is to wipe them with a washcloth. The ear is a self-cleaning machine, so there is rarely any intervention needed at all. If you genuinely feel that the amount of waxy buildup is abnormal for your child, speak to your doctor before digging around in there.
15 What About Their Eye Gunk?
Crusty, gunky eyes in newborns is usually nothing to panic over. Babies often suffer from blocked tear ducts. The key to opening these ducts and conquering the eye goo is simple. Gently wipe the mess away with a damp, clean cloth from the corner of the eye on out. The tear duct area can be massaged a few times a day to help it open up naturally. My middle child had this issue, and it didn't resolve for months. Eventually, with lots of wiping and rubbing, the eyeball stopped leaking yellow junk. If months go by and you see no resolution, bring the issue up with your pediatrician. She will likely refer you to an ophthalmologist who can open the duct for good with a tiny probe.
14 How Often Should I Suction A Runny Nose?
One thing that you will want to steal when you leave the hospital is the syringe bulb that is used to sucking gunk out of tiny noses. You can buy these at stores as well as online, but the hospital grade bulbs are second to none. Small babies have sensitive noses that get clogged more often than you would think. It can be tempting to grab your syringe and suck away, but too much of a good thing can be harmful in this case. Using the bulb syringe more than 2-3 times can irritate the inside of their nostrils as well as nosebleeds.
13 Is There A Proper Way To Change A Girl's Diaper?
For many mamas, this hygiene habit is likely a no-brainer. Women have been learning how to properly wipe their tushes since their initial days of potty training. Dads might have a slightly steeper learning curve in this department if they find themselves changing a girlie diaper for the first time in their lives. When cleaning up your little lady, always wipe her parts from front to back and make sure to remove all moisture from her folds. Moisture that becomes trapped in her diaper can cause irritation, discomfort and even infection. Nobody wants to deal with that, believe us guys!
12 Scented Wipes Or Unscented Wipes?
Fun fact: baby wipes are the most awesome invention ever to be created. They can be used for so much more than merely wiping up baby bums. Here are all of the useful ways that baby wipes will quickly become your new BFF. While you will want to buy these bad boys in bulk, you will want to spring for the unscented wipes for tush cleaning purposes. Many baby wipes are heavily scented, and if your tot has super sensitive skin, she won't appreciate that lavender scent down below. You can't go wrong with a simple, unscented wipe to make bootie cleaning easier.
11 How Do I Care For The Umbilical Cord Stump?
Great question! Caring for an infant's umbilical cord stump is far easier than many new parents assume. The loose chunk of skin might look a bit daunting, but if cared for properly it will be out of your hair in no time. Clean the umbilical area once a day to twice a day to prevent it from becoming infected. Warm water and clean gauze is likely all that you will need to keep that belly button region neat and clean. You will know something is wrong if you notice redness, soreness or pus coming from the umbilical cord stump. Any of those symptoms should be reported to your pediatrician immediately.
10 What Color Should The Inside Of The Diaper Be?
One common question that parents of newborns suddenly find themselves asking is, "What on earth is wrong with this baby's poop?" Infant feces look nothing like what we grown folk are used to, and if you aren't prepared for what is about to greet you in your baby's diaper, it can catch you a bit off guard. Newborn bowel movements will look one of two ways depending on whether or not your baby is breastfed or formula fed. Babies who regularly nurse often have mustard colored, seedy-looking loose stools. Newborns who jump right on the bottle might have slightly darker, thicker feces than their breastfed counterparts.
9 Do The Gums Need To Be Cleaned?
You sure do. Oral health care starts long before babies begin popping teeth. One common mistake that new parents make is neglecting their baby's oral hygiene until they have a full mouth of pearly whites. Oral care should start much earlier than this. While toothbrushing might not begin until babies are nearly their one year birthday, parents should wipe their kiddo's tongue and gums down at least twice a day. Skip the toothpaste while you are at it. At this stage in the oral care, game parents need nothing more than a clean cloth and water.
8 Are These Bottles Clean Enough?
Back in the day, sterilizing bottles was all the rage, but nowadays you can skip over the sterilizing and just make sure to clean them after every use. It's not a horrible idea to occasionally throw bottles and pacis in a pot of boiling water, but it doesn't have to happen often. To get your bottles sparkly clean, fill your sink with hot, soapy water and throw all of the parts of the bottles in. Make sure to dismantle them completely. Use a bottle brush to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the bottle and then allow them to air dry.
7 Is Baby Powder Really That Bad?
For years baby powder was an absolute nursery must. You would have been hard-pressed to find a new mommy or doting daddy twenty years ago who didn't have a few bottles of Talcum powder on hand. Recently the American Association of Pediatrics has warned against the use of baby powder because of the hazards that it can cause. Infants can breathe in the small powder particles causing extreme damage to their lungs. It's nearly impossible to apply baby powder to a tiny bum without releasing some of it into the surrounding air, so it's best to skip the stuff altogether.
6 To Kiss Or Not To Kiss?
Babies are pretty much the most kissable little things on the planet. It's nearly impossible not to smooch their chubby cheeks every chance that you get. The problem is that mom and dad aren't the only ones who feel this way. Everybody wants to kiss the baby! While people are well-meaning in their affections, a lot of kissing can mean a lot of germ transfer to your small human. Make sure that visitors and well-wishers know where your physical boundaries lie when it comes to your child. It might feel uncomfortable to gently ask your Great Aunt Mildred not to cover your kid's face with love, but it is likely in your infant's best interest to do so.
5 How Often Does The Baby's Diaper Need To Be Changed?
The short answer to this is a LOT. Infants soil their diapers everytime you blink. Newborn babies should be changed anywhere from six to ten times a day, perhaps more if they are little breastfed, pooping machines like my children were. It is not the most fun job a parent encounters, but it is a necessary one. Leaving your kiddo in a messy diaper can create a host of hygiene problems for them. Nasty rashes are likely to form on your baby's bum if you don't wipe them clean and put a fresh diaper on them when they are soiled. These days diapers come with that magical little pee pee line that indicates whether your baby is dry as the desert or not. This will help you to discern whether or not a changing is needed.
4 How Do I Care For The Snip?
Circumcisions are significant surgeries and require quite a bit of hygienic attention until they are fully healed. First, make sure to replace the gauze dressing with every diaper change on that first day of surgery. Clean the site with warm water and a cotton ball, not wipes. Wipes can be irritating to the sore area. Expect a scab to develop and lube your kid's manhood up for that first week so that it doesn't stick to his diaper and then pull away during diaper changes. That can NOT feel good! Stick to sponge baths until your infant's area is all healed up, this will likely take about a week or so.
3 How Do I Properly Clean Toys?
Kids of all ages are complete germ magnets. You'll want to quickly become a master at keeping most objects and surfaces sanitized so that your baby doesn't pick up a nasty bug early on. Diluted bleach is a safe and inexpensive way to clean objects that frequently get gross. Clean toys with soap and water and then disinfect surfaces of objects with a diluted bleach solution. Generally, one tablespoon of bleach added to a gallon of water will do the trick. You don't have to be crazy about cleaning, just make it a point to do general bleaching once a week or so, or whenever other kids or house visitors fall ill.
2 How Do I Get Rid Of Dry Skin?
Babies typically have smooth and utterly delicious skin, but some unlucky tykes have patches of rough, dry, and uncomfortable skin thanks to dry skin. Dry skin in infants is often worse during the colder months and can be exacerbated by excessive bathing, so the first thing that you can o to help your baby combat dry skin is to pull back on the daily baths. When deciding on which lotions to apply to your tot's red and bumpy skin, go for a simple, hypoallergenic bottle. Lotions with fragrances, like bath soaps, can further bother sensitive skin. Also, run a humidifier during the colder months to keep some moisture in the air, but make sure to clean it out regularly.
1 What About Mom And Dad?
We often think of hygiene dangers lurking outside of mom and dad's care. Afterall, who on Earth is more concerned for their child's wellbeing? Parents are busy, they are forever multi-tasking, they are running on practically zero sleep and they often forget the simplest of things...like washing their hands. Parents of newborns have to make it a point of running their own hands under warm, soapy water for roughly 20 seconds multiple times a day. Think of all the diaper changing that mom and dad's hands are responsible for? Handwashing should definitely take place after that fun task as well as before any feedings.