- How do I top and tail my baby?
- How do I bath my newborn?
- How do I clean my newborn’s umbilical stump?
The act of getting to know your baby, feeding him, getting them to sleeping and simply adjusting to being a new mum will probably take all your time in the first 24 hours. So its not worth worrying about bathing your baby when you bring him home. Just take it all in your stride… it just takes a little getting used to the wriggling little thing in your arms.
As long as your baby is clean after being born, your baby should only need topping and tailing. Topping and tailing means wiping round your baby’s face and neck (topping) and cleansing his nappy area (tailing).
Your newborn’s umbilical stump should heal and fall off in a week or so, and usually by day 10. So you may prefer to wait until then before you give your baby his first bath. But if your baby’s umbilical stump gets wet while you’re washing him, just carefully dry it with a clean towel or leave in the air to air dry.
It’s normal for a little dried blood to show on the inside of your baby’s nappy where the stump has rubbed as it comes away. Make sure that this does not cause your baby any discomfort or pain. Just keep an eye out that your baby’s stump doesn’t become swollen or have an unpleasant-smell coming from it, as these may be a signs of infection.
However you wash your baby, be prepared for his skin not to look perfect. Your newborn has just emerged from a nine-month bath in baby fluid. It’s perfectly normal for him to be a little spotty or have flaky skin now that he’s exposed to the air.
Once your baby is clean, you may want to smooth on a few drops of oil or emollient lotion if his skin is dry.
How do I top and tail my baby?
Fill a bowl or sink of warm water in a warm room, with a clean nappy and clothes to hand. Then undress your baby and place him on a changing mat covered with a clean towel. This will make it easy for you to dry him quickly afterwards. Support your baby’s head and neck each time you lift him.
Topping means washing your baby’s face, neck and hands. Start by wiping each of your baby’s eyes. Dip a clean piece of cotton wool in warm water and squeeze it out.
Then gently sweep it across your baby’s eye, starting from the corner near his nose. Use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each wipe so that you don’t spread any goo that you’ve removed. If your baby’s eyes are sticky, there’s no need to clean them too often. Twice a day is enough for sticky eyes. If your baby’s eyes are particularly sticky, though, tell your midwife.
Using fresh, damp cotton wool, wipe your baby’s ears, without cleaning inside them. Then wipe behind your baby’s ears using fresh, damp cotton wool. These areas can become milky and sweaty. Use fresh pieces of cotton wool to wipe your baby’s face, neck creases and hands.
Tailing means thoroughly cleaning your baby’s genitals and bottom as part of his wash and after each nappy change.
When you’ve cleaned your baby, gently dry any damp areas, paying particular attention to his creases. Wrap your baby in a warm, fluffy towel, and give him a cuddle. Then dress him in a clean nappy and clothes.
How do I bath my newborn?
If you do decide you want to give your baby his first bath, you may want to have someone with you to help. It can be a little scary if your slippery baby wriggles around while you’re trying to tend to him. Try to keep a firm but gentle hold of your baby when moving him in and out of the water.
When you’ve just had a baby, you need to be careful that you don’t hurt your back. You may find it easiest to bath your baby in the kitchen sink or a small plastic baby bath on a sturdy table.
Bear in mind that some babies don’t like being undressed and placed in water. Other babies are soothed by warm water and a bath can help to calm them. You won’t know until you give your baby his first bath! Just like with topping and tailing, your newborn baby needs to be kept warm during and after bathtime.
How do I clean my newborn’s umbilical stump?
It’s safe to get your baby’s umbilical stump wet as long as you dry it afterwards. Getting the stump wet won’t slow down healing, or make infection more likely. It’s unlikely you’ll need to clean your baby’s stump in the first day or so, but if you do, the best thing to use is cotton wool soaked in warm water.
If you’ve given your baby a bath, gently pat the stump with a soft towel or cloth. Keep your baby warm and let the stump dry before putting on a nappy.
You don’t need to disinfect your baby’s stump. Antiseptics can mean the stump takes longer to fall off. So just keep the stump as clean and dry as you can.