The thought of becoming a parent can be both exciting and scary for first-time parents. You can't wait to hold your precious little one in your arms, but at the same time, you're worried that you might not be able to properly care for them.
It's understandable to have these concerns, especially when you consider how tiny and delicate newborns babies are. Nevertheless, since you can’t avoid grooming your newborn baby, you’ve got to learn how to go about it so as to keep your baby looking fresh, pretty, and healthy.
Moreover, readying yourself for the newborn baby grooming process can help to allay your fears. So, here are some essential grooming tips to help you become better equipped at taking good care of your newborn baby:
How To Bathe The Newborn Baby
If your little one’s umbilical cord is yet to fall off, a sponge bath rather than a typical bath will suffice. However, the sponge bath should wait until the end of the newborn baby’s first week on earth when the vernix caseosa- a white, greasy substance that keeps their skin moisturized and protects them from bacterial infections clears from their skin.
When giving your newborn a sponge bath, keep them wrapped in a towel to keep them warm, and only expose the body parts you need to clean. Use warm water to clean the baby from head to toe while paying particular attention to the creases around the neck, arms, and legs. Also, clean the umbilical cord with much care-wipe it using a warm washcloth without getting it wet.
After the umbilical cord has fallen off, it’s now time for the newborn baby to start bathing in a baby tub. Always before you begin bathing your newborn baby ensure that everything you’ll need during this enjoyable time (for the baby) is within hand’s reach. It’s a no-no to leave the baby unattended for even a few seconds to go get whatever you’ve forgotten.
This is because anything can happen within this short period of time; the baby could drown in the water or even turn over the plastic tub as they wriggle. Therefore, get the sponge/washcloth, the soap, the towel, thermometer, and the baby lotion and place them close to where you'll be seated as you bath the little one. Use warm water that is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit to clean the baby.
If you’re not sure of the right water temperature to use on the baby, use the water thermometer to give you the right temp so as to avoid scalding the baby’s skin. You may use mild baby soap to wash the baby, but only if the baby has soiled themselves or has a spit-up.
Remember to limit the baths to 2-3 times a week hat since newborns don’t easily get dirty.
Washing The Genitals
While you wash your baby’s genitals, be mindful of how you do it. For baby girls, wash using warm water starting from the front to the back to avoid spreading bacteria from their behind into their vulva. Also, don’t apply baby powder in the genitals for whatever reason, as it can easily travel into the baby’s lungs.
If you have a son and he's uncircumcised, pull back the skin on his penis and clean the area covering the head of the skin. If he's circumcised, make sure you bathe him in warm water daily for an entire week after surgery. Make sure to choose the right diaper for your newborn baby. Moreover, always coat the head of his penis with petroleum jelly before putting on a diaper to prevent any further injuries.
Taking Care Of The Skin
Every after bathing the teeny tiny, you should apply lotion to their skin. This can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent it from getting dry cracks that can hurt your dear one and expose the skin to bacteria. Also, note that at times babies of 2-4 weeks can get baby acne on their faces as a result of you (the mother’s) hormones still circulating in their body.
However, you don’t need to worry because these pimples can disappear on their own within 2-6 weeks. So, don’t be tempted to pick them or try to apply creams on them because it will not fasten their disappearance, but rather irritate the little one’s skin.
How To Trim The Nails
Newborn baby nails grow at an astounding rate, and you, therefore, need to often clip them to keep them short. By keeping them short, you can prevent the newborn from scratching themselves red as well as scratching you.
Moreover, short nails look neat. You can use baby clippers to cut the nails. However, if you’re worried that you’ll end up injuring the baby with the clippers, use a file to shorten them.
To make it easier for you to trim the nails without the baby moving about, you can do it when the baby is catching some beauty sleep or when the baby is breastfeeding.
Furthermore, you’re encouraged to trim the newborn baby’s nails after a bath when the nails are soft and easy to cut.
Caring For The Scalp
Since the scalp is very delicate, you need to be careful when washing it-don’t scrub it with vigor to avoid irritating it. As for the cradle cap on the newborn’s head, though it can disappear after a while, the flaky look is unsightly.
You, therefore, need to apply oil or water to loosen it. Then, use a soft-bristled baby brush or a damp cloth to lift the scales. Oiling it can also prevent it from getting itchy.
Leave The Ears Alone
When it comes to grooming your newborn baby’s ears, use a warm cloth to clean only the external area. Avoid digging inside the ear to remove the wax because it is important for protecting the ear from substances that might want to enter it like insects.
Besides, using a cotton swab can push the wax deep inside the ear canal, and consequently, blocks it. However, if excess wax runs out of the ear, you can simply wipe it away with a damp cloth.
Keep The Eyes Looking Bright
Newborn babies, just like you, can often get goo or crust in their eyes. To remove it, you need to soak a cotton ball or clean baby cloth in clean water and then gently dab the eye from the inner corner - near the nose to the outer corner.
Also, look out for eye redness or discharge, which might be signs of eye infections, and upon seeing them, take the baby to see a doctor. To further protect the baby’s eyes (and nose, too), always remove a baby from a room before you start dusting.
Your newborn baby is bound to get a stuffy nose from time to time, especially during the cold weather, and also due to dust. To help them breathe well, you’ll need to use a nasal aspirator or nasal saline drops to drain the mucus and clear the nose.
Remember to keep the baby warm to avoid colds and keep your home free of dust to prevent congestions.
Clean The Gums
Even though babies do have a sweet breath, you still need to clean their gums to prevent bacteria from setting up in their mouths and keeping the gums clean and healthy. To achieve this, do wipe the gums with a warm cloth every after feeding.
After the teeth have arrived, you should start using a baby brush to clean them daily. Avoid using toothpaste even if it's fluoride-free (kid-friendly) until your little one turns one because babies tend to swallow most of it.
Now that you know what newborn baby grooming entails, you’ll be able to rise up to the challenge of caring for your little one with much confidence. Though grooming can be time-consuming, it’s all worth it when you see your newborn baby all looking beautiful and growing up healthy.